The Sempervivum succulent is a genus of about 40 species of flowering plants. Commonly known as Hens & Chicks, Semps, Sempa, or Houseleeks. In Latin, Sempervivum literally means “live forever” because they grow and propagate so easily. It is pronounced sem-per-VEE-vum. They are called Hens and chicks because the original rosette, the mama “Hen” produces tiny rosette offsets that are known as the “Chicks”. Unfortunately, they don’t actually live forever. But, since they produce so many ‘chicks’ or plantlets, they seem to last forever.
Hens and Chicks are also tough, drought-resistant plants. In fact, they come in many colors, shapes, textures and sizes. They are fabulous cold-hardy succulents and are a great year round option for almost every climate. Additionally, they even change colors at different times of the year. And, they are typically more vibrant than other succulents during the winter. Sempervivum leaves are thick and fleshy, sharply tipped, and some varieties have downy hairs along the edges (arachnoideum cultivars). Growing hens and chicks is easy and they are one of the most tolerant plants. The plants are readily available in most nurseries. Additionally, Sempervivums prefer partial to full sun and well drained, even gritty soil.
Sempervivum most commonly knowns as Hens and Chicks are easy to propagate and separate. It is a great free way to grow your succulent collection. Who doesn’t love free plants!? Read our full post on separating hens and chicks here. They are drought-tolerant and suitable for xeriscaping. Individual rosettes die after they bloom and should be removed from the garden at that time.
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