Thursday, November 4, 2010

You Say Houseleek, I Say Sempervivum...

Let's call the whole thing Hens and Chicks!

Sempervivum (translated Live Forever) is a remarkable little succulent plant.  There are literally hundreds of cultivars due to it's ease of seeding and the way it cross pollinates with others of it's own specie.

It is often referred to as Hens and Chicks because of the way it usually has one center Hen surrounded by many smaller Chicks.  But don't be mislead ~ this is one tough little mother!  It can survive cold, hot, wind, dry... almost any miserable condition.  The one thing it does not like is to be soggy. 

My father always had them growing somewhere in his yard.  In his last yard he actually had a large rock with hundreds of them growing on it - with no soil

They are the ultimate PassAlong Plant.  The chicks can be pulled from the hen and placed somewhere else where you want them to grow.  Easy-Peasy!  You would really have to try hard to kill them.

There are a wide range of colors, sizes and forms.  Because of their ease of hybridization there are often local favorites that may or may not be named and categorized.  They are like potato chips- you can't have just one.  When you start to see all of their forms and colors you just can't help but increase your collection.  I currently have over 30 different cultivars in my garden!  The other nice thing is that they are quite inexpensive - often selling between $4-6 dollars at the nursery center.

They are fantastic alpine plants and are often used in Hypertufa troughs.

If you don't currently have any Hens and Chicks in your garden you are truly missing out on one of the easiest plants out there!

Get your hands dirty!


  1. These are very giving plants. I did not even know there were 30 different cultivars. Yours look very beautiful in the container and spilling over in the rock garden. ;>)

  2. They have to be one of my all time favorite plants - and that's saying something! I use some of the 100 different ones in my collection for lots of succulent crafts.

  3. I enjoy them in the garden, but they do better in containers with all our wet snow. I plant them in a small rock bed.


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