Before I ever knew what mums, iris, daisies or any other flower was I knew what hens and chicks were. And no I'm not talking about the bird. I'm sorry if your searching brought you here looking for information on feathered friends but maybe you are also interested in how to grow hen and chick succulents.
Hens and Chicks Are Easy to Grow
Hens and chicks are the easiest plants to grow in your yard. They are perennial succulents that require very little care. They will tolerate the heat and dry weather, making them perfect plants for the southern United States. Perennial, hens and bitties as they are sometimes called, will come back ever year. Succulents survive in heat with very little water. I have planted Hens and Chicks in the worst soil and in horrible locations. It seems that the more you neglect them, the more they thrive. I've even seen them planted in unusual containers, like old boots, or in tool boxes.
The plants are called Hens and Chicks, because the original plant will put off shoots starting new smaller plants. The original plant is the hen, and the smaller ones are chicks. They grow to 4" tall, but will spread over a wide area if given room. They have shallow roots, and are not an invasive plant. If you have an area where you've had trouble growing other plants, Hens and Chicks might be perfect for that spot. Some varieties produce small yellow flowers.
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Hens and Chicks Succulent Plants - One Hardy Plant
Hens and Chicks create a very low growing carpet that crowds out weeds. With the plants only growing 4-6" high, I like to plant them in the front of a flower bed or along a sidewalk. They grow nicely in gravel and rocks as well and only require a small amount of soil.
They grow nicely in containers and don't mind if you forget to water them. They seem to put off new sprouts each year even if you have forgotten them.
Where to Plant Hens and Chicks
They will grow almost anywhere.
Sempervivum tectorum, better known as Hens and chicks are well suited to shallow planters, but they will grow and spread quickly in the ground. They are perfect in rock gardens with other succulents and cacti. If they are planted in a planter, make sure they have good drainage so the soil doesn't stay too wet. A strawberry pot will fill in quickly if one plant is potted in each hole. Since they multiply quickly you soon have plants to share with friends.
The only place that you DON'T want to plant Hens and chicks is in the shade or where the soil stays wet for a long time after rain.
How to Plant and Grow Hens and Chicks - Easy Planting....
These plants are NOT fussy!
Hens and chicks are the easiest flowers to plant or transplant. I recently had a pot of hens and chicks, and the pot was rotting, so I needed to transplant them. You can grab the plants and gently pull them. They will come out roots and all. I transplanted them in a feed trough. I started with a layer of potting soil. Then sat the plants on top, spreading the roots out. I covered the roots with another layer of potting soil. Remember, Hens and Chicks aren't fussy! The trough is very shallow, so hens and chicks are perfect for it.
This video shows just how easy it is to plant Hens and Chicks. They will grow almost anywhere, and once established, they are hard to kill. They thrive in hot, dry areas.
Pots for Hens and Chicks - Layered Pots
Layered or stacked pots are great for growing hens and chicks. Their shallow roots make them well suited to the layered pots. You can used a high quality soil, but they are just as happy in hard clay or poor sandy soil.
Strawberry Pots or Planters make nice containers for hens and chicks(pictured above). My mom and grandma both had this kind of planter and this is what I remember when I think of hen and chicks from my childhood. It amazes me how they grow and droop out the side of a little hole in the pot!
Hens and Chicks in Rock Garden - The Focal Point
Hens and Chicks are the focal point of this rock garden. Combine them with cactus and other succulents for a variety of colors and textures. Rock gardens are very easy to grow, even for the inexperienced gardener. If you're new to plants, this is a good place to start. There are lots of annual and perennial succulents to choose from.
They can be grown from seed, but you get much quick results when growing them from plants. Plants are available at your local garden center or big box store like Walmart, Lowe's, or Home Depot.
One of the best things about Hens and Chicks (and succulents in general) is the wide variety of colors and shapes. No two are the same and you can plant different colors of the same kind of plant all in the same place. It creates an eye catching garden in places where the soil is poor and dry.
Check out these products to get you started with growing succulents!
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