How Do I Take Care of a Sempervivum Plant?

Overview

Sempervivum plants are perennial succulents desirable for their hardiness and attractive, rosette-shaped leaf growth. There are over 1,000 cultivars of this plant, according to information published by the University of Vermont, which range in color from blue to pale pink to deep, bright red. Often called the "hen and chicks plant" for the fact that plantlets (new plants) sprout from the center of the mother plant, the sempervivum is a popular choice with home gardeners who want an easy-care ground cover or container succulent.

Step 1

Place or plant your sempervivum in a location where it will receive either full sunlight or light (such as dappled) shade. A bright windowsill is perfect for indoor container plants. The more sun exposure, the brighter the colors will be, according to Colorado State University.

Step 2

Use a planting medium that is well-draining. These usually contain a large amount of sand. The University of Oklahoma recommends a soil mixture that is two parts loam, one part peat moss and two parts coarse sand. Well-draining soil is essential, because too much water in the soil can quickly cause the shallow roots of this plant to rot.

Step 3

Water the plant when the top inch or two of soil dries out. Although they are very drought resistant, sempervivums do best with regular watering, according to the University of Oklahoma.

Step 4

Fertilize your sempervivum once a month during the growing season (spring through summer) with a water-soluble, balanced (10-10-10) fertilizer, but use only half the dose recommended on the label for the size and age of your plant. This is especially important if your sempervivum is in a container, as mineral salts can build up in the soil.

Step 5

Remove the mother rosette when it dies (after the flowers seed, which only happens once every three years or so) and fill the hole with sand or a gritty mixture of sand and soil. Gently place the baby plants in the soil mixture, where they should easily root.

Tips and Warnings

  • The leaves of this plant are mildly poisonous, according to North Carolina State University, and should be kept away from children and animals.

Things You'll Need

  • Watering tool
  • Peat moss
  • Loam
  • Coarse sand
  • Balanced, water-soluble fertilizer (10-10-10)

References

  • Colorado State University: Semps: Foolproof Garden Gems
  • University of Vermont: Sempervivum
  • University of Oklahoma: Sempervivum Arachnoideum: Hens and Chicks
  • North Carolina State University: Poisonous Plants: Sempervivum

Who Can Help

  • National Arboretum: USDA Growing Zones Map
Keywords: care of Sempervivum, growing Sempervivum plants, hens and chicks

About this Author

April Sanders has been a professional writer since 1998. Previously, she worked as an educator and currently writes academic research content for EBSCO publishing and elementary reading curriculum for Compass Publishing. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in social psychology from the University of Washington and a master's degree in information sciences and technology in education from Mansfield University.