Exquisite, jewel-like qualities aside, the main attraction of alpines for me, is that they are fabulously low-maintenance. Low maintenance though, is not NO maintenance, because most of us grow our alpines in smallish containers, where there is less room for slovenliness than in the wider garden environment, so here is my three-step alpine rescue mission for neglected pots.
First, weeding; deathly boring I know, but it’s amazing what a bit of husbandry can do for a collection of low-growing lovelies. Obviously chop off any dead or dying bits of plant, and get rid of any uninvited guests. For sempervivums you may need to remove some healthy bits along with the brown stuff, as the babies are attached to the parent plant. Just cut the ‘stalk’ attaching the baby to its parent and bury it in the compost, giving it its own space.
Your next step is to top-dress - another intensely satisfying thing as it gives the ‘painting’ of your planting a new, clean canvas against which it can shine, with the added benefit that a mulch of horticultural grit or pea gravel will prevent the base of each plant from becoming too wet, and consequently rotting.
And if things could still do with a little zhuzhing up, then consider the artful application of a few bits of slate, pushed into un-planted gaps, at an angle, to crank up the whole alpine scree vibe, whilst adding a vertical element to your container.