Sempervivum. Hens & Chicks


1.  Light/Sun Exposure - Full to part sun.

2.  USDA Hardiness Zones - 4 to 9.

3.  Planting Distance - 6 inches apart in ground.  One plant per 6-inch or larger container.

4.  Mature Height/Spread - 2 to 5 inches tall with a 6 to 8 inch spread.

5.  Bloom Time - Midsummer.

6.  Planting Instructions - Dig a hole twice as wide and twice as deep as the field grown bare root divisions received. Place a mound of soil in the bottom of each hole and place the field grown bare root into the prepared hole keeping the top level with the soil surface.  Gently pull in the soil around the field grown bare root firming the soil around the plant with your fingers.  Check to be sure the plant is not planted too deeply.  If it is, raise the plant carefully and refirm the soil.  Water thoroughly.  


Enjoy the hottest craze in gardening no matter where you live with these cold hardy succulents! Sempervivum is a mat forming succulent comprised of one large rosette called the "hen" which sprouts many smaller rosettes around it called "chicks". They require little maintenance once established and thrive on neglect.  Almost all hens and chicks will form a flower when they reach full maturity.  Each rosette flowers only once and then dies.


Although these plants will perform well in average garden soils of all types, we recommend having your soil tested periodically by the local County Extension Office.  These tests can determine if the soil needs any amendments to enhance your plants' growth and performance.  See below for our recommended practice to improve your soil without any additional testing:

1.  Spade or till the soil to a depth of 12-18 inches.

2.  To provide nutrients and improve drainage, add organic matter to your soil by mixing in a 2 to 4-inch layer of dehydrated manure, garden compost, shredded leaves, and/or peat moss.

3.  After active growth begins, periodically feed with Cottage Farms' water soluble Carefree Bud-N-Flower Booster. Plants in containers need more frequent watering and feeding, especially when in active growth and bloom.


Watering - Water your sempervivums the same way you water other succulent type plants.  During the growing season, allow the top layer of soil to dry out moderately between each watering and then water thoroughly until the soil is well saturated and excess water drains out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the container. Never allow your plants to sit in a saucer of water. Pots may be kept in saucers AFTER the water has drained from the pot.

Mulching - Apply a 2-4 inch layer of shredded bark, compost or other organic mulch around your plants to promote moisture retention, maintain even soil temperatures, and to discourage weed growth.

Weeding - Keep the area around your plants free of weeds. Weeds compete with other plants for food, water and light. Walk around the garden periodically and pull weeds, including the roots, as soon as you see them.

Grooming - Almost all hens and chicks will form a flower when they reach full maturity. After flowering it will then die. The hen will stop making chicks and a spike will grow in the middle of the rosette as the plant prepares for the end of the cycle of life. Remove chicks as the pot becomes overcrowded and also remove any dead leaves.  

Feeding - Feed your plants once every 2-3 weeks during the growing season with a water-soluble fertilizer such as Cottage Farms' Carefree Bud-N-Flower Booster. Discontinue feeding after September 1st so your plants can harden off for winter dormancy. Resume fertilizing when new growth appears in the spring.

Winterizing - A thorough watering in late fall will greatly enhance the plant's cold tolerance.

The time to protect your plants in the garden is after the ground has frozen. At that time, apply a winter mulch of evergreen boughs, straws or leaves to prevent lifting of the plant's roots during alternating periods of freezing and thawing.

For container planting, move plants next to your home's southern foundation for added warmth and protection. They may also be moved into an unheated, protected area such as a garage or cellar. If moved to a protected area, be sure to check the soil moisture every 7-10 days and water as needed.

In spring, remove the mulch from in-ground plantings.  Also, bring containerized plants back out into the garden sunlight where they will immediately begin to repeat their yearly garden performance.

CAUTION: Not all plant material is edible. Though most plants are harmless, some contain toxic substances which can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, or other discomforts. As a general rule, only known food products should be eaten. In case of ingestion, please contact your local poison control center at once and advise them of the plant ingested. Keep out of reach of children.