Sempervivum plants are also known as Hens and Chicks.
Sempervivums can be planted in containers or in the ground.
The flowers on sempervivum plants are edible.
Sempervivums need at least 6 hours of sun a day to thrive.
Sempervivum plants are succulents, and they have the ability to store water from rainfall in their leaves and stems.
Sempervivum roots grow in a very shallow manner and spread outwards rather than down.
When the temperature drops below freezing, sempervivum really benefits from being tucked into an insulated container like a straw-lined basket or under glass.
Sempervivum plants don't need a lot of water, but they do need good drainage. If your soil isn't well-drained, mix sand or peat moss into it.
Sempervivums are beautiful and easy to care for plants that will reward you with bounties of their offshoots over time.
Overview of Sempervivum
Sempervivum is a genus of about 50 species of succulent, perennial plants in the Crassulaceae family. Commonly called houseleeks or hens-and-chicks, sempervivums grow naturally in alpine climates and are widely cultivated as ornamental houseplants. They are native to Europe, Asia, and Africa.
A wide range of leaf shapes, colors, and sizes are found within this genus. Some species have leaves that only grow during the spring and summer months while others have leaves year-round. The flowers are usually pinkish-white with five petals and appear in late summer through fall. The roots of sempervivums are thickened taproots that store water for use during dry periods.
Characteristics of Sempervivum
Sempervivum 'Red', or houseleeks, are hardy succulents that grow well in dry conditions. They are native to the mountains of Europe and Asia, but they also thrive indoors. Sempervivum grow best in full sun or partial shade. The plant is drought tolerant, so it can survive without much water.
The houseleeks have rosettes of fleshy, overlapping leaves on a woody stem. The flowers are usually yellow or red, depending on the variety. The plant sends out runners from its roots that can form new plants when they touch soil.
Sempervivum grow best in well-drained soil with lots of organic matter such as compost or peat moss added for extra nutrients and moisture retention. They should be watered when the soil becomes dry to the touch about one inch below the surface of the potting mix or garden bed where they are planted.
Habitat of Sempervivum
The habitat of Sempervivum is very diverse. They are found in meadows, on dry rocky slopes, in mountain pastures, on limestone and sandy soils. They can also be found at heights of up to 3000 m above sea level and below sea level (in the Canary Islands).
The species grow in a wide range of habitats from sea level to alpine climates. Some species are adapted to harsh conditions such as high winds and poor drainage; others prefer more moist sites such as meadows or rocky crevices.
Sempervivum species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Coleophora affinitatella which feeds exclusively on S. tectorum, Cydia ulicetella, which feeds exclusively on S. portenschlagiana, and Hypercompe hambletoni which feeds exclusively on S. arachnoidea.
Identification of Sempervivum
Sempervivum are succulent perennial plants forming clumps with rosettes of leaves, usually greenish but sometimes red, orange or yellow. The flowers are starlike, generally white with yellow centres, and are borne on tall stems above the foliage in late spring and early summer.
The species can vary significantly in habit and colour. Some have only one rosette that grows indefinitely while others form clumps with multiple rosettes. Some species have thick leaves while others have thin leaves, some have wide leaves while others have narrow ones. The flowers come in a range of colours from white through pink to dark red and can be either star shaped or bell shaped depending on the species.
How to Grow Sempervivum
Sempervivum prefers full sun but will tolerate light shade if it is hot and dry. They grow best in poor soil with good drainage but can tolerate poor conditions as long as they are not overwatered during their winter dormancy period. It is important not to over water them during this time or they may rot easily.
Sempervivums are propagated by division or by seed. They can be divided at any time during the growing season but should be cleaned up before being planted into new locations so they don't spread
Sempervivums are perennials that grow from a rosette of leaves in the first year, then produce offsets or "chicks" in subsequent years. They produce flowers with bright yellow to orange petals during early summer months.
They prefer full sun, but can tolerate partial shade as well as dry conditions once established. Sempervivums are easy to care for and make excellent houseplants because they can tolerate low light levels and dry soil conditions.
Sempervivum are hardy succulents that can thrive in containers, rock gardens and hanging baskets.