Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Plant Profile: Hens and Chicks Succulents (Sempervivum)

"Hens and Chicks” Succulents (Sempervivum sp.) are like chips--you cannot have just one! Once you start growing them, you'll find yourself collecting the many different varieties. There are over 3,000 named sempervivum cultivars, in numerous colors, shapes, textures, and sizes.

Sempervivum literally means "live forever" as they can be divided and propagated almost effortlessly. However, don't think that you can just set-it-and-forget-it. Each individual plant has a three-year life cycle and produces off-shoots for two of those years, so you will need to pull out those baby "chicks" and replenish the mother "hen" spot periodically.

These easy-to-grow succulents are great for indoor or outdoor containers. They can also be grouped with other cactus/succulents for a nice layered or contrasting look.

Sempervivum prefer full to part sun and very well draining (sandy/rocky) soils. They need little water and are very drought-tolerant.

Note that there are winter hardy varieties available here in the Mid-Atlantic. They are great in rock gardens and thrive in stone containers or concrete troughs. If you select a tender variety, you must bring it indoors for the winter and they should be kept as container plants to save you from digging and re-planting them out every growing season. 

The video was produced by Washington Gardener Magazine.

Visuals by Amanda Cash
Audio by Kathy Jentz

Additional photos courtesy of

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