Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Houseleek, Hen-and-Chickens, Old Man and Woman, Roof House Leek
Sempervivum calcareum

Family: Crassulaceae (krass-yoo-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Sempervivum (sem-per-VEE-vum) (Info)
Species: calcareum (kal-KAR-ee-um) (Info)

Synonym:Sempervivum tectorum var. calcareum

One vendor has this plant for sale.

12 members have or want this plant for trade.


under 6 in. (15 cm)

3-6 in. (7-15 cm)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:
Pale Pink

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer

Grown for foliage

Other details:
This plant is suitable for growing indoors
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
Plant is viviparous

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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There are a total of 10 photos.
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4 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive renwings On Jul 16, 2007, renwings from Sultan, WA (Zone 8a) wrote:

My grandmother grew these in her garden and passed some on to me. Apparently that is a tradition for some. Sempervivum translates to "always living".

I love these little plants and always take some with me when I move. They travel and transplant remarkably well. You can literally pick them up and plunk them down somewhere else. They tolerate the shade and blistering sun I have grown them in and a whole summer of no rain or deep snow.
No rock garden is complete without them, IMHO.

Positive Aerowox On Oct 24, 2004, Aerowox from Saint Paul, MN wrote:

Hens and chicks (Sempervivum Tectorum) grow well along house foundations in MN. They will not tolerate winters as well if not grown close to sheltered areas in MN.

Neutral cledith04 On Oct 23, 2004, cledith04 from New Braunfels, TX wrote:

House Leek for Burn Treatment? My Grandmother tells the story of keeping House Leek plants to treat burns. When I was in diapers I sat down in a dishpan of boiling water and Dr. Marx of Clarksville, TX said that the House Leek plant my grandmother pulzerized and applied to the burns probably saved my life.
Any one else know of this plant being used for burns?
Are all three of these plants (shown here ) good for burns?

CR Pope

Positive Petsitterbarb On Apr 17, 2004, Petsitterbarb from Claremore, OK wrote:

Sempervivum "Semps" MUST have good drainage, but are incredibly tough and hardy plants...true survivors! They are SO fun to grow! Many different colors and forms, and VERY addictive! Sadly "Mama hen" dies after blooming, but leaves many baby "chicks" to carry on for her. Removing the bloom will not stop her from dying, so save your efforts there, and just enjoy the bloom. This is a GREAT "pass along" plant to share with friends, too.
Even giving a tiny "chick" is a wonderful gesture of friendship.

Positive GrnThum On Jul 11, 2003, GrnThum from Lancaster, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

Multiplies rather quickly. Chicks can be used to create other interest in the garden...such as adding to a rock garden or strawberry pot. It takes hens about 3 years to mature to about 6 inches in diameter and then they will bloom.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Tucson, Arizona
Brea, California
Clovis, California
Fresno, California
Menlo Park, California
Reseda, California
Eastpointe, Michigan
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Faison, North Carolina
Myrtle Creek, Oregon
Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Millsap, Texas
New Braunfels, Texas
North Sultan, Washington
White Center, Washington
Rosedale, West Virginia
Casper, Wyoming

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