I have had sempervivum growing in my gardens for many years, and they are one of my very favorite plants. Often called houseleeks or by the more common name of hens and chickens, these hardy perennials have thick, fleshy leaves and grow in rosettes. Many people grow sempervivum in dry, sunny locations because they require so little moisture, but I have also had great success and much larger plants when I grow them in regular fertile garden soil. The name sempervivum comes from the Latin words semper, meaning “always,” and vivus, meaning “living.” Each plant usually grows for several years before flowering, but once it does flower, the plant dies. Sempervivum can be propagated by division, by seed, or by planting the little offsets that each plant produces. Flowers are shades of pink and red and sometimes yellow. There are many different types of hens and chickens (Sempervivum tectorum)… here are a few of mine, including some descendants of hens and chickens that grew in my mother’s garden and also before that in my grandmother’s garden.
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