Sempervivum Species, Hens and Chicks, House Leek, Live-Forever

Sempervivum tectorum

Family: Crassulaceae (krass-yoo-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Sempervivum (sem-per-VEE-vum) (Info)
Species: tectorum (tek-TOR-um) (Info)
Synonym:Sempervivum alpinum
Synonym:Sempervivum andreanum
Synonym:Sempervivum arvernense
Synonym:Sempervivum boutignyanum
Synonym:Sempervivum cantalicum
View this plant in a garden


Alpines and Rock Gardens

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Grown for foliage


Foliage Color:








under 6 in. (15 cm)


3-6 in. (7-15 cm)

6-9 in. (15-22 cm)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)


USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

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

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone

Can be grown as an annual



Bloom Color:


White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

From leaf cuttings

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Lincoln, (258 reports)

Greensboro, Alabama

Jones, Alabama

Midland City, Alabama

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Seward, Alaska

Flagstaff, Arizona

Brentwood, California

Clovis, California

Paradise, California

Perris, California

Sonora, California

Susanville, California

Thousand Oaks, California

Tracy, California

Denver, Colorado(3 reports)

Grand Junction, Colorado

Southington, Connecticut

Ellendale, Delaware

Wilmington, Delaware

Bartow, Florida

Brandon, Florida

Keystone Heights, Florida

Palm Coast, Florida

Port Saint Lucie, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

Monroe, Georgia

Sandpoint, Idaho

Canton, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois

Cobden, Illinois

Hanover Park, Illinois

Jacksonville, Illinois

Jeffersonville, Indiana

Macy, Indiana

Terre Haute, Indiana

Middle Amana, Iowa

Wellington, Kansas

Wichita, Kansas

Hi Hat, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky(2 reports)

Mc Dowell, Kentucky

Taylorsville, Kentucky

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Monroe, Louisiana

Millinocket, Maine

Cumberland, Maryland

Glen Burnie, Maryland

Worton, Maryland

Beverly, Massachusetts

Hinsdale, Massachusetts

Gladstone, Michigan

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Kalamazoo, Michigan

Mason, Michigan

Mio, Michigan

Pinconning, Michigan

Saint Clair Shores, Michigan

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Sullivan, Missouri

Wolf Point, Montana

Scribner, Nebraska

Manchester, New Hampshire

Montclair, New Jersey

Neptune, New Jersey

Villas, New Jersey

Corrales, New Mexico

Roswell, New Mexico

Endicott, New York

Pine Bush, New York

Beaufort, North Carolina

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Sanford, North Carolina

Belfield, North Dakota

Bucyrus, Ohio

Canton, Ohio

Cleveland, Ohio

South Bloomingville, Ohio

Zanesville, Ohio

Wetumka, Oklahoma

Baker City, Oregon

Cave Junction, Oregon

Gold Hill, Oregon

Hillsboro, Oregon

Klamath Falls, Oregon

Oregon City, Oregon

Clairton, Pennsylvania

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Milford, Pennsylvania

Washington, Pennsylvania

Watsontown, Pennsylvania

Warwick, Rhode Island

Clarksville, Tennessee

Pocahontas, Tennessee

Austin, Texas

Georgetown, Texas

Katy, Texas

Kempner, Texas

Mesquite, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Sherman, Texas

Wichita Falls, Texas

Winnsboro, Texas

Ogden, Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah

South Jordan, Utah

Big Stone Gap, Virginia

Lexington, Virginia

Newport News, Virginia

Kalama, Washington

Seattle, Washington

South Hill, Washington

Spokane, Washington(2 reports)

Beverly, West Virginia

Madison, Wisconsin

Casper, Wyoming

Sheridan, Wyoming

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jun 1, 2019, newman00 from Monroe, LA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have several varieties of Sempervivum growing in a wide, shallow resin pot on my south-facing front stoop thats partially protected by an awning. They get part sun in spring/summer/fall and full sun in winter. They seem perfectly fine with a few hours of our hot afternoon Louisiana summer sun (~2-7pm) with water every 1-2 weeks or if I see them start to close up from stress. Over winter holiday break I move them farther under the awning when Im out of town for several weeks at a time so they wont get rained on. I water maybe once a month in winter (when temps are above freezing) and keep up with the weather and make sure to protect them when were expecting heavy rain with wind. If I accidentally let them get drenched when were expecting a freeze, I bring them inside overnight. But i... read more


On Jul 13, 2016, Richardia from Greensboro, AL wrote:

I inherited these plants when I lived in Grangeville ID, early 1990's. Love them. Now I raise them in Greensboro AL, 2009 and present. The sun in AL is a lot hotter say 20 degrees hotter. I try to give them a little shade by using a ceramic plate, clay brown colored,stuck in the ground half way, facing west to block the heat from the sun. In winter I cover them up 90% with pine straw to help shield the cold kind of like a bird nest, the top is lightly strewn with straw also. They love well drained soil and I water them once or twice a week in the summer, heat purposes. And water them in the winter when it ain't too cold and too stave off dehydration from the cold above freezing temps.
They produce chicks all the time. Save your biggest two to be the hens and plant them in ... read more


On Jul 12, 2016, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

There are many species of sempervivum, and many cultivars and hybrids. They vary in foliage color, in size, and in leaf shape, but with few exceptions it's almost impossible to identify a cultivar by inspecting a plant. Foliage color also varies with season and cultural conditions.

These are alpine plants that grow best in the north and suffer in hot weather. Excellent drainage is especially important in winter and in hot southern summers. Allan Armitage gives their southernmost limit as Z7 in eastern N. America, though I suspect that may be too conservative.


On Jul 11, 2016, mickey7 from Palm Coast, FL wrote:

I live in Florida. I am not sure how to plant these in full sun and at the same time prevent them from receiving the daily watering from p.m. showers.Can anyone advise me other than planting in containers?


On Dec 6, 2010, Alexwtf_93 from Susanville, CA wrote:

good plant for almost any area.. its a variety thats not often found at garden centers (people would rather see the new more colorful ones) so i got some pups (chicks) from someone's grandma, they've multiplied everywhere, and get tall pink flowers


On Oct 13, 2009, maryxo from Francis Creek, WI wrote:

Can I put hens&chicks in my tree frog tank???

Thank you. Maryxo


On Dec 28, 2007, dragons1 from Magna, UT wrote:

The plants that I have inside are beginning to grow roots. Even though it's only winter, they are still growing. The ones outside are huge!


On Feb 16, 2007, Zorsar from Wakefield, OH wrote:

I got this plant for a birthday gift,
i've never had one before, but my grandma and two of my aunts
had a whole window box of them.
i cant wait till it flowers!

I love this plant!!


On Jan 7, 2007, BubblesFontana from Clinton, AR (Zone 7a) wrote:



On Oct 22, 2006, Lady_fern from Jeffersonville, IN (Zone 6a) wrote:

Hens and Chicks are just the cutest, easiest little plants you ever could find. I have mine growing in pockets of soil in rock piles. They fill in their spaces beautifully. Since they're so small, the rock piles help to elevate them a little so you can admire them more.

There are hundreds of cultivars available. There are big ones, little ones, purple ones, gray ones, spider-webby ones, round ones, some with their chicks on long stolons, etc., etc.


On Aug 20, 2006, jjpm74 from Stratford, CT (Zone 6b) wrote:

This is a small, easy to grow attractive plant suitable for small spaces. It takes over whatever small space you leave for it and blooms once a year. This plant requires little care outside of making sure it has a sunny spot away from weeds and is superb for borders. One plant that will always find a place in my gardens.


On Jun 6, 2006, blackbunny from Provincetown, MA wrote:

I dug some of these up from an ancient graveyard next to our yard; they were decorating the tomb of a sailor who died at sea in the 19th century. Possibly these plants are 100 years old! They decorate my garden now, and while hardy, seem to grow slowly. I think they're pretty and I love the history they represent.


On Feb 24, 2006, EAPierce from Idaho Falls, ID (Zone 5a) wrote:

Hens and Chicks seems to need very little excuse to thrive. It spreads like wildfire, isn't picky about soil, moisture or light conditions, survives the harshest winters if not remaining green, and spreads. Oh, did I mention it spreads? And it's hard to get rid of once it takes off. It's a pretty plant, beautiful colors, great accent, but I'd never use it in anything but a container after the difficulty I had with a seedling I planted last year. After only two weeks I realized it was going to take over, and so had to yank it. I kept finding little bits of hens and chicks popping up for the rest of the season. I like it, but don't recommend it for any planting that isn't either in a container or a place you want it to spread freely in.


On Jan 16, 2006, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

I tried these years ago, and killed them with love. I saw them elsewhere in the poorest of soils and as crowded as could be, and decided that was the way to go. I got another start, put them in hard clay and crowded them up. They thrived and multiplied, and I eventually got blooms. The blooms are not showy, but are interesting, and the hen dies afterward. Truly a plant that thrives on neglect.


On Oct 28, 2005, Sarahskeeper from Brockton, MA (Zone 6a) wrote:

This was the very first plant I tried to grow outdoors. 50+ years later I'm still growing them, all from that first clump.
I have one large clump I planted in the corner of a raised bed 10 or so years ago, they have migrated away from the bed to the asphalt driveway, in full sun. Only a small corner is actually in soil.
Never had one bloom though.
If you killed it, it is probably because you watered it.
Great little plant for youngsters to start with.
Andy P


On Aug 31, 2005, KiMFDiM from Alden, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:

This plant overwinters well in Western New York. I have them in a flower garden and the winter snow does not seem to kill it. I also grow some as houseplants which spend the summer outside and the winter inside.


On May 20, 2005, Gindee77 from Hampton, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

This is a fun plant to grow. It's so prolific and easy, anyone can do it. It's great to share the "chicks" with friends too.


On Oct 8, 2004, dragonflynik from Lancaster, PA wrote:

The tips of the leaves turn a deep reddish-brown color in the summer.


On Jul 23, 2004, pemwcorgi from Kalamazoo, MI wrote:

I have been using purple in color Hens and Chicks.I use them as ground cover around my ferns and other partial shade and full sun areas.Mind you these are the Hens and Chicks that I got from my grandmother before she passed away and she had them from the day I was born,and I am 33.
This plant is "AMAZING",I love it.


On Jul 7, 2004, Sonnet116 from Worton, MD wrote:

This is a very easy plant to grow. My grandmother gave me a pot of them a few years ago and now I have 6. I've given away two pots to friends. One did well, the other is still recovering back under my care (I think she over-watered the poor thing). This year I happened to notice that they were growing this tall shoots. Thought that was strange, so I looked it up. They are going to bloom? Cool!


On Jul 26, 2003, george34 wrote:

I have two hens and chicks planted between two rocks, in soil that is barky and drains well. They get mid morning to early afternoon sun. It has been very nice here (Seattle area) lately in the 80's for several weeks. I water them every day. My friends and I have never seen h&c's this tall. They are 2ft plus right now. It looks like they are going to start blooming soon. All our other hens and chicks are just getting wider and only a few inches high.


On Jul 19, 2003, littleladybug wrote:

I have been growing hen and chicks for years up here in North Central British Columbia and just love them.They are real easy to grow and spread very quickly.
Give them a try you'll love them too!


On Jun 7, 2003, Oregonguy from Salem, OR wrote:

These easy-to-grown plants fill in any space that needs filling.....between rocks, under bushes, in the sun, in the shade, just about anywhere. I moved a huge patch of them from one location to the next, simply setting them on the tilled soil and within two days, new shoots (baby chicks) were creeping from the bigger "hens." I have some very large patches growing and if I were to count each one, they would number over a thousand. Great gound cover with almost no care needed.


On Apr 15, 2003, Jesusfish from La Salle, IL wrote:

This plant I got from my grandmother which was her favorite. When she passed-away, all of her 23 grandchildren took home about 100 hen & chicks to plant in their own gardens, so her favorite would live on.

This is so easy to grow! Just let it go, and pull the "roosters" when the arise. That's what gramma said anyhow...

good luck


On Apr 13, 2003, greenhousegirl wrote:

I agree with all said prior. I'm in southern Maine and have found that these carefree plants take root in rotting wood and seem to multiply under the snow !


On Apr 12, 2003, DarkPhoenix from Sandpoint, ID wrote:

I just wanted to say that growing one type, Jovibarba, is VERY easy from seed! I had a very good percentage germinate, and they went from seed to plant that filled a 4" pot in one summer. No special treatment, just placed seed on soil surface and didn't cover.


On Apr 5, 2003, loisbb wrote:

Our Garden is full of Rocks! Big Rocks that were gathered from the Similkameen River and a nearby Creek. They edge all of the gardens and form a central "Rock Garden" whose focal point is stacked Rock towers. In almost every crevice, growing in nothing but sand, in most cases, are these wonderful evergreen plants. They don't care where they grow or what they grow in or how much water you do or don't give them. This is Very Hot semi-arid desert(Yes, we have it in Canada) with normally Very Cold winters. To grow Big Hens-remove all of the babies. Great fun and perfect for any Hot Arid Climate.


On Jun 6, 2002, sempgirl wrote:

This is one of the most durable and rewarding plants to grow. It produces between 4-12 'chicks' a year so your collection is constantly growing. They bloom once (at the 2-3rd year) and then die...but they have left behind MANY babies in place.
To start another plant, remove one chick, leaving just a little of the stem and simply lay it on prepped soil. It should take root and start making chicks of it's own!
This plant varies in size from small hens about 1" to quite large semps 12" across. When they are getting ready to bloom, they get quite tall and have blooms on the stalk. Removing the blooms will not make them live longer :)