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




Foliage Color:




Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Where to Grow:

This plant is suitable for growing indoors


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:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

Plant is viviparous

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


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

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


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.


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.


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


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.


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.