Caring For Hens And Chicks Plant

Caring For Hens And Chicks Plant

Caring For Hens And Chicks Plant, Many animal species have nurturing mothers, but what about plant life? It turns out that many parent plants have close bonds with their offspring, assisting and motivating them as they mature. 

The plant known as “hen and chicks” is a prime example. This low-lying succulent adopts a mother hen persona, protecting her young until they are ready to face the world on their own.

Hens and chicks plants are enjoyable to grow and provide an interesting illustration of plant family relationships. Their bouncy rosettes quickly covered the ground, creating a wonderful, succulent ground cover. They flourish in soil that is otherwise uninhabitable and in rock gardens. Additionally, hen and chick plants are very hardy. I’ve stepped on mine by accident a few times, and they didn’t seem to mind. 

Succulent plants adapted to cold climates are uncommon. This child (and mother) can endure winters that are well below zero. Hens and chicks plants are very common in northern states, which makes sense. So why not start your own small flock of hens and chicks if you’re looking for resilient groundcover with a kind personality?

Caring For Hens And Chicks Plant
Caring For Hens And Chicks Plant

Good Amazon Products for Growing Chickens and Chicks: 

The Quick Care Manual is frequently referred to.

Homework, the devil’s beard, St. Patrick’s cabbage, hen widdies, hens and chicks, and common house leek are
 its scientific names. 

Tectorum sempervivum (common name shared with other species) (common name shared with other species)

Family Family Crassulaceae
Size and Spread 6 inch height and 3 foot width
Lightwhole sun
The soil is rocky, lacking in nutrients, and draining. 
Water is scarce, but deep waters exist. 
Diseases and pests rust, crown rot, mealybugs, and aphids

The Hen and Chick Plant: Information

The Hens and Chicks Succulent has been cultivated and bred so much that it is difficult to identify with certainty what species it is. The majority of hens and chicks belong to either the Sempervivum or Jovibarba families, both of which have comparable care needs. SedumEcheveria, and Bergenia are other genera with species bearing this name. Since the general care is the same, we will refer exclusively to S. tectorum exclusively.

Tectorum S.

There are numerous other common names besides “hens and chicks.” The most popular is called “common leek.” This plant may also be referred to as “homewort,” “devil’s beard,” or “St. Patrick’s cabbage.” The name that truly steals the show is “welcome-home-husband-though-never-so-drunk,” a wild moniker shared with Sedum acre.

Sempervivum plants are native to southern Europe and northern Africa, where high altitudes aided their adaptation to cold climates. Hen and chick plants only get up to 6 inches tall, but they can spread out to be at least 3 feet wide!

Each compact, globular rosette is composed of pointed, light green leaves with reddish-purple tips. Although they resemble Echeveria succulents in appearance, the leaves are a little softer and more flexible. The edges of the leaves have short, white hairs, which is another distinguishing feature of hens and chicks. The rosettes have a slightly fuzzy appearance due to what is known as a ciliate margin.

The chicks develop on stolons, which are substantial stems with few leaves. The flower shoots resemble the stolons, but they have even thicker stems and are covered in numerous flat leaves. Usually white and pink-red, the foot-tall shoots are topped with clusters of many-petaled, star-shaped flowers. A distinctive, round, yellow center can be seen in each flower.

The hens and chicks plant has a relatively simple life cycle. Hens produce stolons with chick tips that form a tight ring around their mother plant. The stolons grow longer as the chicks get older and develop their own roots. To support the chick’s growth, the hen delivers nutrients through the stolon. The stolon withers away and the chicks are left on their own when they are established and ready to “move out.” They will develop into hens and have their own eggs and young.

A mature rosette will begin to bloom in the summer after two to three years. The shoot emerges from the center of the rosette and is jokingly referred to as a rooster. The mother plant perishes after producing seeds (this is a monocarpic plant). You can hardly notice that the original rosette was lost because her offspring are still doing well.

Hens and chicks stop growing and hibernate during the winter. During this time, the outer leaves may turn brown, but don’t be alarmed. They are merely protecting the inner rosettes and conserving energy. The plant will start up again in the spring when the weather warms up.

Sempervivum is poison-free for both animals and people, but it is resistant to deer and rabbits. In actuality, the leaves are occasionally consumed or applied to burned skin in place of aloe vera. Hens and chicks can be raised either indoors or outdoors with ease. They go well with other succulents and sedum.

A final interesting fact is that these succulents get their pink color from sunlight, with the exception of fully colored varieties like “Terracotta Baby.” Succulents change their color to protect themselves from sunburn in a similar way that human skin produces melanin to protect against the sun. The plant is not harmed by this coloring, which is a sign of stress. Place your hen and chick plants in full sunlight if you’d like them to have a little more color (but be mindful of the temperature!).

Planting Chickens and Hens

Succulent hens and chicks can be grown from seed or from starts. In order for the seeds to grow over the winter, they are sown indoors in the fall. Come spring, these seeds will typically be available for purchase at most nurseries and gardening stores. You should plant them before summer arrives and the temperature rises. But you can only plant them after the last frost.

In hot climates, place your new plants in full sun with afternoon shade. As long as the potting mix drains well, it can be coarse and gravelly. Whether inside or outside, it is simple to raise hens and chicks in a pot. Make sure that the right growing conditions are met (especially enough sunlight!) if raising hens in a container indoors.

Hens should be planted all the way to the rosette’s base, with the soil being firmly compacted. For at least a week after planting, keep the soil dry so that the succulent can repair any broken roots. then start watering normally (which, for succulents, is very sparingly).

Use sandy, well-draining soil in a shallow growing tray when planting your own seeds. The seeds should be scattered, then they should be lightly covered with soil and misted with a spray bottle. Keep the seeds moist until they sprout. Apply a thin layer of fine gravel as mulch after that. As the seedlings grow older, gradually reduce watering while consistently keeping the leaves dry. When the newborn, green babies have a few leaves, you can move them to a pot or outside.


Hens and chicks are incredibly low-maintenance and don’t like to have their affairs disturbed. You must still make sure they are successful, though. The requirements for your hen plant to begin thriving in neglect are listed below.

Heat and the Sun

As we previously stated, your hen must have full sun to thrive. While they can easily survive outside of that range, hens and chicks prefer temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Hens and chick plants can grow outside of the recommended growing zones of 3 to 8, provided the right conditions are met.

The plant will go dormant and stop growing if it is too hot or cold outside. Make sure your hen and chick plants receive some afternoon shade if your climate is on the warm side. They’ll become discouraged and go back to their semi-dormant state.

Humidity and water

Sempervivum plants can store water, which makes them drought-tolerant and necessitates very little watering. Wait a few days until the potting mix is completely dry before using. After that, give it a good soak in water and let it air dry. Dry out all above-ground growth to the greatest extent possible to ward off pests and infections. Reduce the amount of watering by a great deal during the winter when the plants are dormant (once a month or less).

This plant, like all succulents, is much more vulnerable to overwatering than to underwatering. In fact, you probably won’t need to water the mature plant at all unless your garden is located in a true desert!

Excellent soil drainage is essential for growing succulents that are in good health. The roots become wet and begin to rot when the growing medium retains moisture. As a result, you ought to pick a sandy  type of soil. Add some perlite to your loamy soil if you want better soil drainage. Make sure the container you’re growing this green succulent in has good drainage holes.

Because they don’t require a lot of nutrients to thrive, hens and chicks and succulents can grow in poor soil. Although the drainage can be improved by adding organic matter, it’s unlikely that any nutrients will be required. Sempervivum is adaptable in terms of soil acidity, but it prefers a pH of neutral.

Fertilizing: We don’t need fertilizer here, so cross it off your list of gardening supplies! The Hen and Chicks plant doesn’t need additional nutrients. However, when the plant first emerges from dormancy, use a slow-release, balanced garden fertilizer to really give it a boost.


Your hen and chick plants won’t need to be pruned very often, if ever. Only when the mother plant and her children are in a cramped area, such as a pot or rocky garden, is it truly necessary. The plant will begin to grow upward because it is unable to spread out. To keep the chicks close to the ground, you’ll need to thin them out (and then grow the cuttings!). Additionally, you can move established plants into a container.

Although you might be tempted to do so in order to prevent the rosette from dying, this is not the best course of action. The rosette will always disappear after flowering, whether the seeds germinate or not.


The Hens and Chicks succulent is a great place to start if you have never propagated a succulent before! Cuttings will essentially grow on their own, which is ideal for beginners. It is best to propagate succulents while they are actively growing. A person wouldn’t be very alert if you woke them up in the middle of the night to propagate hens while they were in dormancy.

Find some baby rosettes that have started to emerge from the mother plant to start. You should be able to see the stolon and a few roots coming out of the rosette’s base if you look closely. Plants that are healthy and aren’t flowering right now should only be multiplied.

Cut the stolons with clean gardening shears, making sure that all of the roots are on the chick’s end. Replant the cutting in dry soil along with the stolons. After three to seven days, start watering the cutting normally. It’s crucial to briefly allow the soil to become dry so that the roots can expand deeply in search of water.


Hens and chicks and plants have simple lives. In the garden, they hardly ever experience growing issues and don’t attract many insects. In the unlikely event that you do have problems with these plants, here is a quick guide.

Increasing Issues

Overwatering is the biggest danger facing any Crassulaceae plant, according to The plants quickly become mushy and soggy when they receive excessive amounts of moisture. They start to rot, which allows various bacteria to flourish. It frequently begins with root rot and isn’t immediately apparent above ground. By the time a gardener notices the rot, the roots have already been destroyed, and the only way to save the healthy growth that is left is through propagation.

Always err on the side of underwatering your hens and chicks, according to Compared to overwatering, the plant will recover much more quickly from being underwater. If you overwatered the plant, give it more time to dry out than usual. Move your succulent to a dry area if the soil is completely saturated.

The bolting is an additional potential issue. Since reproduction is a plant’s primary objective, if a young hen plant is placed in a stressful situation, it will flower as soon as possible to allow for reproduction before it perishes. Baby your mother plant while it’s establishing to avoid this. Check that it is in appropriate weather and has an adequate amount of water. Before going into hands-off mode, let it hatch a good number of chicks.

Garden insects rarely notice hen and chick plants, but aphids do. There’s a chance she will drop by. They’ll assemble on the leaves and savor the juices of the plant. Aphids must be eliminated as soon as possible because they release a sooty honeydew that attracts ants to the garden. Neem oil, insecticidal soap, or predatory insects like ladybugs or lacewings can all be used to get rid of aphids.

There are other chicken-plant vampires besides aphids.

Mealybugs, in addition to enjoying succulent juice, will attack hen and chick plants. They may be identified by their aphid-like honeydew and cottony nests. Mealybugs can be managed in the same manner as aphids by incorporating mycoinsecticides.

Diseases: We mentioned that succulents suffer from excess water because it encourages bacterial growth. One of these is crown rot, which is caused by the fungus and affects a variety of plants, including trees. Crown rot affects the roots and base of the plant in addition to the crown. The plant will rot mostly at the soil level and lose its color after contracting the infection. The endophyllum rust, which causes orange spermogonium to appear on the leaves, can also harm Sempervivum (reproductive areas of fungi).

These illnesses need to be identified early or, ideally, completely avoided. Remove the diseased portion of the plant from the garden at the first sign of rot or rust. You can either transplant the sempervivum or use a fungicide since the crown rot fungus lives in the soil. By keeping the plant dry and the soil moist, rot and rust are both greatly reduced.

FAQ Caring for Hens and Chicks Plant 

Hen and chick plants: do they spread? The larger rosettes that develop from the parent rosette are known as “chicks,” while the smaller ones are known as “hens.” This root-clinging plant likes sandy, gravelly soil and will eventually spread to form colonies that are at least 2 feet wide. 21 June 2022

Are hens and chicks suitable as indoor plants? Both indoors and outdoors can be used to grow hens and chicks (Sempervivum tectorum or S. arachnoideum). They make excellent container plants, in fact.

What are hen and chick plants used for in the winter? These plants don’t require winter protection. They are resilient and able to withstand the worst weather. The plants don’t need to be covered. Snow covering the plants, however, won’t do them any harm.

Where should hens and chicks be planted? Plant your hens and chicks in full sun or partial shade to get the most out of them. These beautiful succulent varieties can withstand a wide range of light and temperature conditions, but when the sunlight is abundant, they display their most vividly colored foliage.

Hens and chicks have a lifespan. Cycle of Life and Death in Sempervivum A chick born from a hen plant will start having babies of its own after just one season. Sempervivum plants typically only live for three years, giving them two productive years before passing away.

How long do hens and chicks live in succulents? roughly 3–4 years. Although some succulents are short-lived, they produce offsets to replace themselves. Chicks and Hens is a fantastic illustration. The main plant only lives for three to four years, but during that time it produces a large number of offsets.

Plants of hens and chicks grow more than once? This is due to the quick offset spread of these particular sempervirens. Offsets are all of the teeny, baby succulents that are clones of their mother and surround her. Really cool, no? So, if given enough room and the ideal circumstances, they will proliferate like crazy.

Can hens spend the winter outdoors? Chickens are well-adapted to withstand even the harshest winter conditions. The birds’ feathers make for excellent insulation, and they can be fluffed to produce an even cozier coat. To keep those bare parts warm, they may even tuck their bills or feet into soft feathers.

Can a hen and a chick be produced from a leaf? Sempervivum can be propagated from leaves, but the success rate is not very high. Pick leaves in the springtime when they are at their healthiest to increase your chances. You can either cut the leaves off the plant with a pair of scissors or twist and pull them with your hands.

In the winter, do hens need a heat lamp? During the fall, chickens molt and then grow new feathers to get ready for the winter. The purpose of these new feathers is to keep them as warm as possible. If you keep your coop well-insulated and draft-free, you’ll never need a heat lamp. A little ventilation is beneficial, but the coop shouldn’t be exposed to full-blown wind.

How frequently should chickens and chicks be watered? every week Hens and chicks should typically be watered once per week. Watering chickens and chicks shouldn’t be done when the ground is wet, especially after a rain. Wait a few days before checking once more. It won’t die off in a few days.

How come my hens and chicks are getting so tall? Hens and chicks may occasionally grow tall or “leggy” because they are not getting enough light and the plant is reaching for it. Leggy plants that don’t get enough light will have stems that appear fairly flimsy and bare. With upward-facing bud clusters, a flower stalk will appear rounder and lusher.

Do hens and chicks prefer shade or direct sunlight? total sun Hens and chicks will tolerate some shade, but they prefer full sun. And while they do like some room to spread out, they can usually handle denser crowds.