House Leeks or Hens and Chicks
Sempervivums are the darlings of plant enthusiasts. Their many varieties of color, texture and shape are a collector’s delight.
Colors range from red, burgundy, black, yellow, green, gray and combinations of these colors.
Leaves can have long hair or short hair, can be glossy or dull.
Bristly bloom stalks rise above the foliage bearing small star shaped flowers of pink. Yellow fruit will follow flowering. Allow fruit to dry and harvest the seeds. Sempervivums hybridize very readily.
Many Sempervivums are grown between tiles on rooftops in the coolmountainous regions of Europe, hence the name houseleeks. Another common name is hen and chicks because of the numerous offsets that form around the parent plant.
Houseleeks are tolerant of a wide range of soils from, regular garden loam to sharp gritty, rocky soil.
Its only requirement is that the soil be well drained.
Also, in north Texas the high sun intensity leads to burn out, therefore Sempervivums must be moved to shadier locations in summer months.
The varied forms, textures and colors make for an array of fun and fascinating planting ideas. Mix them with Crassulas, Sedums and Echiverias in strawberry jars, hypertufa troughs or any attractive garden dish, making sure there is a drainage hole. Other uses include living wreathes and plug-ins for tiny niches in garden walls and borders.
Start a new hobby, collect and plant some Sempervivums as soon as possible.