A Sentiment

God knew what He was doing when He sent a gentle breeze and brought a lovely butterfly to set my heart at ease. The happiness of your friendship and the gentleness of your words have touched my life in special ways and now I feel assured. Thank you for your loyalty and for reading everyday. I only hope you find things to make a happy day.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Hens and Chicks and Strawberry Jars

Sempervivum Tectorum, commonly known as Hen and Chicks or houseleeks, means "the always-green plant on the roof." This plant was first recorded by Theophraste, a Greek botanist during the 4th century BC, and has long been popular for rock gardens. Hen and Chicks sprouts beautiful flowers and is noted for certain medicinal properties, much like Aloe.

Step1 Purchase potted plants from your local nursery or home and garden shop.

Step2 Find a location with plenty of sun, minimal shade. Hen and Chicks survive drought and heat, favoring USDA hardiness zones 4 to 8.

Step3 Plant in sandy soil or ground with good drainage. If needed mix a third of soil, sand, pumice or peat moss and work into the ground.

Step4 Dig a shallow hole deep enough to fit your potted plant level with the ground.

Step5 Press the soil around each plant and water lightly only if the dirt is dry.

Step6 Divide the chicks anytime during the growing season to replant elsewhere. Place the chick in a shallow hole and press the dirt around it and water only if necessary.

Step7 Buy Hen and Chicks seeds and follow the directions for the particular variety. Usually, planting in the fall inside the house.works best, then transplant outside in the spring when the chicks grow.

Soil containing pebbles and stones help drain water.
The Hen bears a stalk with flowers that bloom between June and July.
For extended periods of heat hovering near 90 degrees F and above, provide shade if you notice petals closing or changing color.
Hen and Chicks grow best on rock garden slopes and banks or mounds.
Remove aphids, a common pest, with a suitable garden spray or insecticide soap.
Never overwater your Hen and Chicks plants.

They multiply by offset that emerge from the leaves on stolons. Colorful varieties retain their colors longer when grown in a spot that provides afternoon shade. Sempervivums only live for 3 years. Blooming is a sign of death. It is best to buy 1-year old young hens, rather than one with many chicks. This gives 2 years of production.

These little plants are so fascinating to me. I have always loved them. I got a strawberry jar (terrs cotta) for a birthday gift and couldn't wait to fill it with hens and chicks and other succulents and cactus type plants. They require almost no care and live on and on. I do take my jar into the garage during the winter...I don't want it to crack. I have these little treasures in a hand made planter in the shape of an elephant ear or rhubarb leaf. My neighbor makes these for bird feeders or small birdbaths. Mind holds these plants. I want another strawberry jar, but this time I will fill it with herbs.



Lynn said...

I love those Hens & Checks... I need to redo my pot this summer. The Dead Nettle under that pot looks great too I have lots all over the place...4 more day til SPRING!!! But who's counting!!!

Judy said...

I am so glad you posted this. My son gave me a strawberry jar for my birthday last fall and I need to put a hen and chicks in it this year. I don't have a lot of sun but did have a tree cut down during the ice storm that will give me some sun this year. I can't wait to try growing these little things.

RainGardener said...

That was very helpful. I didn't know until last year that they make chicks and die. I've been trying to get as many as I can in the last few years of different sizes and colors. This started because I was making a living basket. Now I want to do some living wreaths - probably easier than doing contortions trying to get things into the baskets. ;-)

Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

Mine finally just faded away...eroded until one day...I gave up on it. Things look so lovely in your garden..our beds are ready...and tomorrow the plants will go in. Spring is such a wonderful time.

Balisha said...

Hi everyone,
these are last year pictures. My strawberry pot was in the garage all winter and about 3 weeks ago the chicks started turning green and sedum was starting to grow.It was so cold....they are pretty hardy.I've seen living wreaths on TV, but never tried making one. They are beautiful. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

Barbee' said...

Totally delightful. I have a few, I wonder how they are doing out there. I should check on them soon.

Balisha said...

hi Barbee...I'll bet they are just fine. The only reason that I bring mine in is because of the terra cotta.

MrBrownThumb said...

What a nice collection of Hens & Chicks.