Care of Hens and Chicks Plants

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Hens and chicks--Sempervivum.
Hens and chicks--Sempervivum.

Hens and chicks, or Sempervivum, is a sturdy succulent that stays green year-round. Hens and chicks are a popular plant for planters and can be ground cover in yards. This plant is categorized as a cactus and tolerates heat and humidity well. The plant gets its name from the rosettes that sprout around it, as resembling a mother hen surrounded by baby chicks.

Basic Care

Sempervivum is marked by its thick, green leaves and bristled, white hair. It blooms from mid- to late summer with red or purple flowers. Rosettes replace each other after the flowers die and the leaves resemble those of an artichoke.

This plant does well in anything from clay to sandy soil and does not require a lot of water. Be careful to water from underneath and to avoid overwatering. Overwatering can cause soil erosion and encourage "rust," a kind of fungus, to grow on the leaves. It is best to water during the day so the soil can become dry overnight.

Hens and chicks do well in most light conditions, from semishade to full sun. When transplanting, avoid full sun until the plant is stable. Full sun means six hours or more of exposure.

Hens and chicks outside.
Hens and chicks outside.

Problems

Rust is a fungus that forms on the underside of the leaves. Check for overly moist soil and use a rust-specific fungicide to resolve the issue. Erosion can cause problems by exposing the roots. Make sure you aerate the soil around the plant to keep it dry. Watch the plants when you are keeping it inside for the winter, and water less during those months.

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