|'Royal Ruby' |
|'Royal Ruby' making babies |
Succulent groundcover with summer flowers that rise from odd stalks. Rock garden mainstay. We've had one variety, with tightly cropped reddish small cabbages, for many years - it multiplies, but isn't aggressive. This year, we're trying two new varieties, both larger.
||hens and chicks; houseleek
||2" (to 6" in bloom)
|In winter, its foliage takes on a deep burgundy shade |
|'Kalinda' in early April|
We left this plant behind in our Pennsylvania garden (and wish it well); we don't grow it in Houston.
About my plant portraits
PlantLinks to other web pages about Sempervivum
Visitors to this page have left the following comments
|Nancy Pearson||May 20, 2005||Why would every greenhouse in Utah not sell Hens and Chicks? I own every kind but I worry . Are they totally safe?|
I'm not aware of any problems with them, Nancy
|LauRA||Jun 05, 2005||I have a large hens and chickens growing outside. This year, something sprouted out of it that does not look like the rest. I thought at first that it was a wild strawberry plant. But I don't think it is. Currently, it is aboun 2 ft tall, has now 1 yellow daisy-like bloom. the leave are a little hairy both sides and serrated all the way around the slight oval shapped leaves. any info you can give me on what it is is highly appreciated.|
No idea, Laura. Sounds like some seed germinated right in the middle - could be rudbeckia, coreopsis, or any of many other daisy-family flowers. The name-that-plant forum at GardenWeb is usually very good at identifying unknown plants.
|Angela Hasting||Jun 15, 2005||I live in Oklahoma. Recently my grandmother gave me a starter from her hen&chickens. I took it home and planted it. It started growing straight up from the middle like a stalk. At the top of it lookes like a bunch of flowers or buds of some kind. My grandmother and mother said they had never seen one do this before. Is this normal. Also its starting to lean over what can I do to keep it from dyeing.|
Angela, if your stalk looks anything like the one in the photo here, that's normal blooming behavior. They are hardy plants, tough to kill - if they start getting uprooted, just set them back in the soil and they'll be fine.
|Leigh Ann||Jul 15, 2005||I live in South Texas and have a lot of white tale deer in my yard. Would I be spending my money on their meals with these sempervivum? It is so hard to find plants that they won't eat. |
According to this list of deer-resistant plants, spiny varieties are your best bet.
|stephanie||Aug 05, 2005||Why do the chicken and hens plants have the big ugly srout grow up form the middle? Is it spoze to do that? What does it mean?|
That's just how they bloom. I guess the plant doesn't really care if we find it ugly or pretty :-)
|Bobbijomorway||Aug 14, 2005||I HAVE HENS AND CHICKENS PLANT HOW MANY TIMES DO YOU WATER THEM. AND I WANTED TO KNOW WHY THEY CURL UNDER IS IT BECAUSE I TO MUCH WATER PLEASE LET ME KNOW|
Don't water them. They really don't need it. I don't know if your specific problem is due to overwatering, but regular water is more likely to hurt than help.
|Louise||Aug 24, 2005||I also have those ugly stalks but I wonder if there is some way to propagate the plant with those stalks and their contents? Should I just let the stalks die a natural death? Does the death of the stalk have anything to do with the arrival of the chicks?|
|Liz Thompson||Sep 10, 2005||I read that the hens and chickens that have the stalks/flowers are the male species of the plant. I've also read that it is normal for them to die off after flowering.|
|Pamela||Oct 10, 2005||I have some lovely hens and chickens in a strawberry pot outside of my front door. How shall I winter these plants?|
They are very hardy. Unless your climate is interior Northern Canada, they should overwinter just fine left outside in the pot. If you're afraid the pot might crack, you could place them in a temporary pot, or any other location that's reasonable well-drained, outside.
|Renee||Dec 13, 2005||You have beautiful semps. Wish they were mine ... Gosh, am I egostics, I have over 350 diffrenet ones ... Still looking for more. Did you know there are more than 4.000 cultivars?|
That's funny - I don't even know where I got mine, probably a discount nursery. But yeah, I like 'm too :-)
|Erin||Apr 18, 2006||The squirrels are eating my sempervivum! Do you have any advice that might help stop them?|
I'm afraid the only thing I can say is - please keep them out of my neighborhood...
|davo||Jun 01, 2006||I love my hen and chicks. Do any of yours suddenly turn to mush and just deteiorate? I do water them,I probably shouldn't. Thanks the nice webpage. davo |
|Alberta Evans -berta48@bellsouth,net||Jul 07, 2008||I would like to see a rooter for the chicken & Hens,I have had people to tell me there is one . I have been growing chicken & hens for a while now, but yet I have not to see a rooter for them. I would like to see one so if I have one to grow in my chicken & hens.
|cathy||Jul 10, 2008||can you cut the flowers off and reroot them? how often do these flowers grow i have had mine for 15 years and this is the first time i see flowers on it.|
I don't think the flowerstalks will root - but the main plants should make offsets that you can pull away and plant elsewhere. Ours don't flower every year, but do so more often than not.
|Amy||Jul 29, 2008||Yes I was wondering maybe what the tallest stalk was recorded.Because I have got a monster.I had them in little terra cotta pots and it is so tall now it flopped over and I had to stake it up.Everybody comes to my house and says "Oh my god is that a hen".I say why yes it is.Everyones questions are well have you been feeding that baby Miracle growth.I havent its totally natural.It's the biggest one I have ever seen.I didnt no if it was normal so I got online and looked it up,and I found your address.So thanks you answered a lot of questions that I had.|
|shirely||May 19, 2009||the plants that make a stalk and a flower on top of them will not bloom again one chicken and hen will only bloom once in its life time dut the thing of it is you don't know when it will bloom. i have a whole garden full of them i love my chicken and hen garden my great grandmother was the one that started my chickens and hens. |
|nmhollyhox||May 31, 2009||i have stalks like this every year on different plants but they never actually open with flowers. is this normal or are they male or do they just not have flowers? sometimes mine get so big they flop over. |
|blomma2||Jun 18, 2009||Sempervivums lifespan is 3 years. It sets many chicks during those years to carry on. A tall flower stalk up to 12" tall, depending on variety, signals the death of the hen shortly after. The stalk may root but it will just produce more flowers. The only way to propagate Semps is by its offsets.
I have 90+ different named varieties and have grown them since the 80's so I'm very familiar with these plants. I cut the flower stem off because it can get heavy and lean, uprooting the chicks. Once I see the mother hen dying, I cut her out so the chicks will have more room to develop.
Sempervivums are best purchased as young 1-year old hens. This gives 2 years of production. Semps don't usually produce chicks until the following season after their "birth".
To retain color longer, shading from the hot afternoon sun is beneficial. Their most intense color is usually during May and June. Some are the prettiest later on due to seasonal color changes.
Anyone interested in purchasing Sempervivum can visit my Ebay store or auction. My seller name is blomma2. |
|Ann||Jul 22, 2009||We call the sprouts the "rooster". I like hens and chicks mainly for the cute name.|
|Sabrina||Jul 30, 2009||I have had hens and chicks for years. They came from my Mother who has had them as far back as I can remember, but I have never seen them sprout with a stalk and bloom until this past month. The frogs have been getting in them for shade. I chase them out because they are uprooting the hens and chicks.|
|karen park||Aug 06, 2009||I have read your questions and answers and find the information great. I too have the long spiral shoot with many areas coming off in different directions. I was wondering if these little buds are what you plant to make more even though the plant propogates itself? I am going to try it.|
Let us know how it works out!
|Delores||Aug 30, 2009||I just got some hens and chichens from my sister who has had them from beginning nearly sixty years ago. Do you think a motball or two would keep the squirrels away?|
|Tiffini||Dec 14, 2009||I've always wanted hens and chicks my grandmother use to have those.
Where do I purchase these from seed, since there's so many varieties and it would be expensive to purchase each by plug. How long does it take for these to start blooming from seed. Help a new beginner.|
I've not started them from seed myself (tried a few times, no luck).
|Gaylene||Apr 17, 2010||We live in Jasper MO, I think it is Zone 6, depending on which chart one looks at; we planted our sempervivum last year and only 3 out of 5 plants survived due to a small looking beetle. It reminds me of the "rollie pollie" beetles we played w/as children. You know, when you touch them they curl up.... anyway, I was wondering if anyone could suggest how we could "terminate" these little pests. |
Roly polies will only thrive in moist conditions - could it be that the sempervivums weren't suffering from damage by the beetles, but from damp and shady conditions?
|Bonnie L||Apr 29, 2010||Afew years back my foster son gave me a free standing wall for mothers day. He didn't know there were cap stone that go on top and had no money left to buy them. We filled the hole with sandbox sand. That didn't look right so i planted stone crop and dragon blood sedums. had a few places left that I put in hens and chicks. last June was very dry and as I was feeding the sedums I gave them a cup in each spot. I cover with a single layer of leaves for the winter and this spring I'm giving then away by the hand full as they are growing over the edges. The squirrels can be live trapped and transported to the other side of the county.|
|Terence||May 23, 2010||I live in SE Asia where we only have hot and humid weather in the range of 25-32 degree Celsius. Can hens and chicks grow here?|
|Melissa||Jun 12, 2010||I'm trying to grow some hens chicks and roosters. I read a comment that said not to water them? is this correct? Is their any adviceyou could give me on how to make them thrive, because they dont really seem to be growning. I had heard that they multiply and take over flower beds, but mine dont seem to be doing anything...might there be something i'm doing wrong? I water them every day, and i have them placed in sunlight...if theres anyway you might be able to help all, i welcome any ideas or help you may be able to provide. Thank you so much.|
Hens and chicks certainly don't need much water - if you're not suffering severe drought, they shouldn't need any water besides what mother nature provides. They don't necessarily grow very fast, so as long as they seem healthy, just be patient - they will grow at their own pace.
|Grit||Jul 11, 2010||I love Hens and Chicks!! I've been growing them for about 20 years. I jist read all of the above emails/questions because I didn't know what to do with the roosters. It seems like if you cut off the top flowers and stick them in the dirt like you do the H and C they would grow...but since one of you said no...then I won't waste my time. The last few H and C that I've planted have been in our 4 rock walls. They fill in the spaces so well....and when you have a variety of them, it looks really cool.|
|ashley||Aug 03, 2010||I recently recieved some garden art with hens & chickens on it. It's basically a frame shaped like a turtle filled with mulch like stuff and it has the hens & chickens placed in different spots on it. The fact sheet I recieved with it said to soak the turtle once a wk for 15min and water it almost daily depending on how hot your climate gets. Well currently we're having 100 weather here [Im from S.E Illinois] and it's not exactly a drought here but just doesn't rain much. I hope Im not over watering it but Ive already had one plant die, it looks like it rotted. Everyone I know that has just the plants has them in direct sunlight all day, and told me that they never water them. So should I cut back on watering them so this plant can thrive?? Any tips or advice you could offer with be highly appricated.. thank you :)|
I'd only water if their soil is absolutely parched. You may need to water occasionally, because containers will dry out more quickly than plantings in the ground.
|Diane||Sep 07, 2010||All i want to know is there male an females in hen an chickens, and if so how do you tell one from the other?
Thank you very much|
Nope, I'm pretty sure the plants have boy as well as girl parts.
|Marcia||Jan 06, 2011||I was given 1 hen and chick plant in a small terracotta container. I've kept in indoors. Instead of staying short, it has grown vertically (not the stalk, just the plant) and is now about 3 inches tall. The 'leaves' have bent close to the stem, except for the very top ones. The bottom layers of leaves shriveled, turned yellow and dry. I only water it about once per month. it is in a west-facing window in my office at work. What am I doing wrong?|
|Lilly||Mar 28, 2011||I have grown Semps since the 80'sand have 90+varieties. Semps live only about 3 year and that is when the bloom and die to leave space for the babies to grow. The stalk will not root, nor will it prolong the life of the hen if removed. This is natures way to assure their is enough growing room for all her chicks.
Having said all that, there is one variety in this genus that does not die even after blooming name is Jovibarba heuffelii. It does not set stolons. You have to divide it for additional plants. |
Thanks for sharing your experience, Lilly!
|Lorna||May 21, 2011||Are the chicken and hens safe for dogs. I am redoing my backyard and my parents just gave me some.|
|Nan||Jun 26, 2011||I was in San Francisco yesterday and saw a couple of residences that had what appeared to hens on tall stalks. Both neighbors had their yards decorated with them. Some appeared to be lot older than others with several hens. They stood about 1 1/2 feet tall, the hen was a deep burgundy and about 6" across. I've never seen anything like these. Do you know what they are? Thanks!|
I wonder if what you saw was aeonium. They aren't hardy around here, but thrive in the mild climate of Northern California.
|Nan||Jun 27, 2011||Yes, thank you, I think it is the Aeonium. There sure are a lot of varieties to all these plants! Thanks for your help!|
|lila||Jul 08, 2011||I would like to know like a few others why my plant has a big tall stalk growing taller and taller out of the middle of it and I have a lot of chicken and hens but this is the firat time I have ever seen this happen.|
|Henry||Aug 01, 2011||I like to fill the voids in oak tree stumps, and such with H&C, and other succulents. Ice Plants, work really well.|
|Nan||Aug 28, 2011||Thank you so much for this page. I, along with many of the above, have had a tall stalk with many little branches of flowers at the top, also falling over, and didn't know what to do with it. Now I know it is the hen dying a natural death and will remove it when the flowers dry up.|
|Michele Chappell||Nov 14, 2011|| I live in mid western Michigan, i have some in boots and pots. I put mine under the porch with a box filled with leaves over top of them, hopeing that will protect the boots and the pots(of course anytype of clay pot will freez and break) hope they servive the lake effect snow this winter.|
|Betty||Nov 26, 2011||I also got a turtle covered with hens and chickens. I live in central New York so I brought it in for the winter. I am wondering how often to water it. It doesn't seem to be thriving. |
I think it may do better outside through winter. Most sempervivums are hardy at least to zone 5 - can you set it in a sheltered corner? If you leave it inside, water sparingly, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings.
|Lori Marlin||Feb 14, 2012||Hi I read an above commentabout the Semps and the Jovibarba heuffelii, It is taken from the encyclopedia this insert as I dont mean harm to discredit Lily , however I cant let Nan continue to toss her plants aside either, I to have grown many years, as well I collect and sell my plant, this topic is in the air until now.....
from the encyclopedia Quote" while in Jovibarba, the flowers are campanulate (bell-shaped) and are pale green-yellow with six petals. After flowering, the plant dies, usually leaving many offsets it has produced during its life.
And the words Sempra means Lives for ever, so Im sorry I did this Im not discrediting you Rob I luv this page very infomitive but I dont think that anyone should throw away their plants if they grow different then other, I live coastal, and my plants when watered to much as the redwoods do, being this is an out doors plant for the most, when to watered they tend to grow up words and not enough air or sun the leafs inwards as well. It's a shame to see ones toss a great plant that truley does live many more years then three, I am looking at my semp, from my step father which was his mothers, still alive and kickin and Im 52 this yr... Thanks Rob. Im truley sorry. Lori. By the way I belive you said theis when u said "Her Experiance" ty.|
|Jessie||Mar 09, 2012||hello, I was given three small h&c plants which I planted in little containers in my window. The plants upper leaves are green and shiny but the plants are growing upward( vertically)and the bottom leaves are drying making a coat near the stalk. I do not water it much, just once every 2 weeks. What is happening with my plants??? they don't seem to be dying since the upper leaves are shiny green!! anyone? thx|
I've not grown sempervivums indoors. I wonder if they're not getting quite as much light as they'd like, and they're stretching to find some more?
|Peggy||Mar 15, 2012||I have hens and chicks growing on my rocks and they come back every year, this last year I bought a container of them with holes on the side so they could grow an cover container.. however in looking at this after a very MILD winter they seem to be crispy at the base and some mushy, and the babys are all dried out..will they come back yet, as the ones on the rocks are doing GREAT so far this year? |
I wouldn't give up on them yet. The conditions in the pot may have been not to their liking (too soggy last fall? too much fertilizer?), but they may yet recover.
|Camila||Mar 15, 2012||My hens and chicks9that live in my office) have sprouted long stalks and little "arms" off of the stalky growth....What is happening? Help!|
Sounds like it's trying to bloom or otherwise procreate.
|Shawn||Mar 19, 2012||The plant in the bottom right photo (the one with the highly reduced leaves in the center of the rosette) is an Orostachys spinosa. They are closely related to hens and chicks (Sempervivum), but are native to central and eastern Asia(semps are mainly native to Europe and the Caucasus. The Orostachys spinosa pictured is from Mongolia, Siberia and Northern China. They are really cool plants. I wish I had some!|
That's cool! I've tried to grow orostachys from seed several times (not spinosa, though), but never succeeded in keeping the plants alive. I don't remember how this one found its way into the mix. Thanks for sharing the information.
|Doris||Mar 23, 2012||I live in eastern PA, I planted chicks & hens at the end of my yard a couple of years ago now this year some are at the beginning of my yard which I didn't plant. Do they have seeds that cause them to spread?|
They do set seeds, but I would not expect seeds to spread to far-flung areas of your yard - the plants likely came from a different source. Gotta love a mystery...
|L. Nicholson||Apr 30, 2012||Hi Rob,
Love your site and LOVE sempervivums!! I'm wondering about one of the images above...it is the lower right photo of a single rosette tucked between two rocks. What is the name of that cultivar? I must try to find one!!! I have many varieties of semps, sedums and jovibarbas but continually look for more. Not sure there is a way to get enough of these beautiful things! Here is a link to my picasa page that shows a few of the ones I have. The collection has grown since photos were taken....lol. Best, Linda
|Linda N.||Apr 30, 2012||Hi again, Rob,
I just read all the way through the page and found the answer to my question regarding the plant growing between the rocks. Sweet. Now I can go about finding one for my collection. The only Orostachy I have at present is 'aggregata'. 'Spinosa' is very different and will be a nice addition. Best, Linda|
|Brittany R||May 06, 2012||Hey Rob,
I have been growing hens and chicks inside for the past two years and they have a brown crispy base but overall, they are very healthy. I am going to start a succulent rock garden and wanted to transplant some of my hens and chicks. Can you help me out with what my problem might be?|
Probably best to let them rejuvenate themselves by making babies. The little ones will soon look better than their tired moms.
|betty sherman||Jun 04, 2012||my hens and chickens in a pot, in the center it has grown 6 inches, what do I do|
|roger levesque||Jul 05, 2012||my aunt has had chicken and hen plants for years and this year something ate all of them what will eat chicken and hen plants? she as had the chicken and hens for over 60 years and this is the first time something got into them|
|Karen B||Jul 10, 2012||Hi, I am wondering if something ate all of my H&Cs, or if someone stole them. There is nothing left of them - one day they were there and now they are not.
|Jill||Jul 22, 2012||My hen & chicks will grow a stalk but not flower. Why?|
|Kitty Collum||Jul 29, 2012||I have tried to grow hen and chickens of all varieties and have no luck with them. Live in Louisiana and see them at other ppl's houses. Any suggestions? I dearly love them and really would like to get some more started. It's been several years since I have had any. Thank u.|
|Bettie||Aug 06, 2012||I have two wonderful Hen and Chick plant sets in pots with holes around the sides. They grow wonderfully and maintain beautiful plants. This year, I began to see two Roosters coming up from one of the pots. The stem is drying and I want to know how can I keep them growing or do I transplant them to another pot? I haven't seen anything on how to do this in any site I have searched through!|
|Vicki||Aug 11, 2012||I have several hens that have their leaves popping off. We have had drought much of this summer and they are potted in a terra cotta pot with a sand and potting soil mixed together. I don't think I am watering too much, as the soil seems very dry and I only water once a week. They are sitting on my porch which faces south west. Am I not watering enough or too much water. Or is there another reason the leaves are popping off?|
|lisa mellott||Jul 15, 2013||I have lived in my house for 20 some years/the chicken and hens have always been here/this year I have noticed some REALLY REALLY BIG STALKS/just wondering if I should pull them or what? this is the first year in 20 some years I have ever seen them grow up this way one is at least 2 foot tall/ I was wondering if there was a rooster that hooked up with them?? (lol)any insight would be greatly appreciated. thank you in advance!|
|Beth||Aug 03, 2013||Can I cut the bloom off? I just don't like the looks of them, but I don't want to hurt the plant.|
Yes, you may remove the flowering stem without hurting the main plant.
|Tess||May 18, 2014||:) lol. Love your pages. I had to giggle....I love reading the comments as much as I do your writing and photos :) |
|Sharon Mayne||Jul 07, 2014||I have heard so many people here in Indiana say they lost their Hen Chickens last winter. Have you heard anything about this?|
I haven't – but if it's true, then I would suspect that soggy wet conditions may be to blame. They can handle quite a bit more cold than an Indiana winter is likely to throw at them, but may rot if they get too much wet.
|Teresa||Jul 24, 2014||I have looked everywhere I can think of for an answer to this question but haven't found one yet. I have planted a variety of Hens and Chicks 2 years ago (I live in Northern Utah) and all of the other succulents in that area have done VERY well but the Hens closed up fairly tight after the first winter and the chicks are fairly closed as well. I have been waiting for them to open up but they have not done so. They get plenty of light (6-8 hours a day)and they dry out well between watering. This summer almost all of the hens have sent out a flower stalk, even the very small hens propagated from the mother plant last year. I probably have 30 of these and am so sad to lose all of them. The ones rooted in between rocks are doing as poorly as the ones out in the open. Any help would be soooo appreciated!|
|sabrina||Jan 24, 2015||My little plant has something munching on it, I looked inside it as best I could but I can't find the little bugger. What can I use to kill the critter but not my plant?|
|Linda Y.||Apr 08, 2015||I bought a hen and chick plant in Solvang California last year. I brought it in the house to winter because of our Kentucky winters, but it died. It was the biggest hen I'd ever seen... probably 7 to 8 inches diameter. Do you have any idea what type it was ?? I want to replace it. Thank you so much.|
Are you sure it was a sempervivum? It sounds like it may have been an aeonium, which is larger, but tender.
|angelica p||Jul 31, 2015||I bought a semp earlier this year, it now has 3 little "chicks" growing around it, should I pot it in a bigger vessel, I'm new to this an I am growing them on my apartment windowsill. The bottom leaves are also beginning to yellow. I definitely don't want them to die and would like to know what steps to take next....thanks.
Los Angeles ca|
|lyle roush||Aug 18, 2015|| 2 of my groups of hens and chicks the bottom leaves are turning black|
|Carrie||Jan 16, 2016||Hello. I'm from Alberta, Canada. I love doing miniature gardens/fairy gardens. One of the most popular requests have been the Chicks and Hens plants. I love them, too! I have had success on regrowing them. Very happy with them but not sure of what I have, lol. These ones are stringers. They are long but very healthy. I have another one that is the big one (assuming the hen), is growing, of course, up towards the growth light. So, it too, is stretching out. My question is, can I trim back this larger plant. Meaning... Can I cut it off half way down the stock? This one is also very healthy.|
|Joseph Buckley||Sep 08, 2017||I live in Ireland and one of the worst thing that one could think of hppened to me this spring i hand part of a collection of very rare alpine and part of a very large collection of mostly very rare sempervivum which went back to at least 1700. There was about 12000 in it and about 2000 were bread by family there mostly large 8"plus.There ones that i had were killed by mist from spaying weed next door. If i had some to replace them i would alright but the collection was sold off in 2000 and went all over the world if anybody can help please do so.
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