The Story behind Semponium

While the sun’s luminous rays dancing upon the rippling waves, we glided into the quaint harbour of Saint Michael’s Mount at the peak of high tide. As we looked across the ocean from the castle, we were amazed to see a basking shark swim by lazily.

No, Javado Magazine hasn’t turned into a travel guide, it’s just that the story of Semponium is set on this beautiful little island, and it cast my mind back to our lovely English holiday in Cornwall.


Daniel Michael, the gardener on this small rocky outcrop dominated by the castle, has a great passion; succulents. These plants usually thrive in the extreme southwest of Cornwall, until half of his huge collection perished during an unusually harsh winter back in 2009. This minor catastrophe, however, did lead to an amazing breakthrough.


Daniel started breeding the plants himself, with the aim of making a collection more resistant to cold.

He mainly focused on Aeonium, relatively strong plants with enormous ornamental value. Could these be crossed with sempervivum? Sempervivums are known for their amazing hardiness.


Daniel tried for two years, without success. However, he continued night after night with his large collection, until his success with the first Semponium in the third year.


Semponium is an intergeneric cross between Aeonium and Sempervivum. Semponium Surreal ‘Sienna’ is the first officially recognised cross between these two genera.


Daniel was amazed with the results of his efforts; a beautiful plant that was unusual in so many ways. He even managed to make a number of different crosses. He gradually realised he had something special on his hands here.


Daniel Michael was well-known among fellow enthusiasts, but not by market professionals. He decided to take the next step with Plantipp, and suddenly things took off. His varieties are now propagated professionally, and Semponium ‘Sienna’ won third place in the Plant of the Year RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021. This year, Semponium ‘Destiny’ even scooped the top spot!



likes lots of sun and airy soil.

is very drought resistant and requires little care.

is a valuable, drought-resistant garden plant in southern Europe.

is a great patio plant in Northern Europe



Semponium ‘Sienna’

The colour changes spectacularly from bright red through green-purple to deep burgundy. The structure of the plant can only be described magnificent.


Semponium ‘Diamond’

The bright, lime-green leaves have striking red edges. The plant remains compact, growing to about 40 cm and developing multiple side shoots.


Semponium ‘Destiny’

Large rosettes with dark veined leaves and a bright green heart.


Published on: 2 October 2023