Plant Common Name
Hens and Chicks
This genus of exquisite small succulents contains about 40 species. These resilient, cold-hardy plants exist across the rocky and mountainous regions of Europe and Asia. They naturally inhabit the fissures and crevices of rocky outcrops where their fine roots become firmly anchored and easily obtain available water.
Sempervivum species form fleshy rosettes composed of thick, pointed leaves. The surfaces may be covered with short or long hairs, some are even thread-like. The leaves may adopt extremely bright red, orange or burgundy colors during certain times of year or when they become overly dry. Central rosettes produce few to many offsets, or pups, that can accumulate to form sizeable colonies over time.
The flowers of Sempervivum rise out of the center of the rosette. Mature rosettes bear thick stems topped by clusters of vivid star-shaped flowers that can be white, yellow, red or purple. After the rosette blooms it dies, but the space is quickly taken over by its peripheral offsets. Sempervivum are easily propagated by severing and replanting offsets in planting medium.
The popularity of Sempervivum as trough or rock garden specimens has led to the production of many hybrid cultivars. Three species appear in the ancestry of most hybrids: the common European houseleek (Sempervivum tectorum), "webbed" cobwed houseleek (Sempervivum arachnoideum), and large, vigorous mountain houseleek (Sempervivum montanum).
Sempervivum are quintessential, sun-loving rock garden plants popular for planting in old stone walls, natural rock outcroppings and well-drained containers. Plants are not particular when it comes to soil fertility and have been known to thrive in decomposed granite and other porous materials like those found in alpine scree. Once established, they are care free and easily propagated by beginners.
Cactus or Succulent
Full Sun, Partial Sun
2"-4" / 5.1cm - 10.2cm
3"-12" / 7.6cm - 30.5cm