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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - June 15, 2012

From: Nashville, TN
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives, Cacti and Succulents
Title: Saving non-native sempervivum from accidental weed killer application from Nashville TN
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

How to save a 'Live Forever' plant that had weed killer put on it by mistake.

ANSWER:

The name "Sempervivum" has its origin in the Latin Semper ("always") and vivus ("living"). Sempervivum are called "always living" because this perennial plant keeps its leaves in winter and is very resistant to difficult conditions of growth.

When we searched on "Live Forever" plant, we found many, many plants going by that common name, all of them were sedums of one sort or another, so we settled on Sempervivum to research. We found very little mention of herbicides in connection with the plants. When we are asked about herbicides, we always first establish if the plant is a monocot (narrow-leaved, like grasses) or dicot (broad leaved, like shrubs, trees, herbaceous blooming plants). Succulents are neither, they are sometimes called "fat plants" because they hold water in their structures.

Probably about all you can do is wait and see. If they are going to die, it will probably takes them about 3 weeks to do so. If some parts of the structure droop or turn brown, you can just clip them off. Succulents are very sturdy and good at self-preservation. Even if the above ground structures turn brown and are trimmed away, the roots will likely regenerate the plant.

Bottom line: we don't know of anything to cure it of herbicide, or any other plant, for that matter. What's done is done.

Don't do it again.

 

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