can't grow Hens and Chicks

finchelover(5b-6)April 11, 2011

what am I doing wrong I have tried several times and failure. My friend grows hers in oblong ceramic pot and it stays out all winter and hers have filled up thepot and look great. Mine died again I had mine in south window and had on planting outside like she did.

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ctreeteac(Zone 8b; rain-spewing Oregon)

If you're having problems, I'd say it maybe comes down to the amount of light and the amount of moisture they're getting. Being inside will often be a tad more difficult because the plants would typically receive more sun while outside, but reading that you had one planter outside as well... too much water, perhaps? And not to say that it's impossible to grow Semp hens and chicks inside, as I had a couple pots of 'em beside a south window for over a year, when I was in a one-bedroom apartment without a balcony or outside area, and they grew for me (a heck of a lot of sun came in that window--it was a hell hole in there in summer, haha). But you do have to watch the conditions a little bit, and do not over-water. It sounds as though you could get some valuable advice from your friend about her growing conditions for her hens and chicks, if she has had success.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 11:05PM
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warrengk

Hi there, my hens and chicks are growing in a 5 gallon ceramic pot along side a barrel cactus. I don't really water them and they have a southern exposure outside. Rain is mostly the only water they get and they have never rotted. Now the ones in the ground seem to rot when its too wet in the winter. But in the container they have been very fine and are clumping together very nicely. I use a mixture of 70 percent perlite and 30 percent kelloggs patio plus soil, for all my potted plants, keeps them happy and dry through the winter. I also always used ceramic pots as they breathe, unlike plastic!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 11:05PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I bake mine till they are dead.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 12:34AM
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finchelover(5b-6)

Thanks everyone but this just blows my mind, it must be havng it in house. My friend just potted in garden dirt and it grows beautifully

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 3:17PM
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beachplant(9b)

I have a dreadful time with them, between the hot, wet, humid spring, the hot humid dry summer and the cold wet humid winter they just seem to want to rot. I have limited success growing them in pots on the roof with the other cacti/succulents.
Tally HO!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 8:58AM
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crazytbone

I don't have too much experience cultivating hens and chicks, but in southern massachusetts, we've always had hens and chicks growing on a rock in the back yard. Every year, they creep a little farther out and cover more of the rock. It's almost like they don't need soil at all. I tried to grow them in pots with soil, and have had very limited success.

Just for what it's worth.
:)
Al

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 12:16PM
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land3499

finchelover,
I think it's a matter of trial and error...just trying a number of varieties and seeing what works in your climate.

I started out with 10 varieties a few years ago, kept outside in winter (zone 7b) and now have three or four. The ones that survived are doing well...can't say the same for the pot! :)

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 10:12PM
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dragonstone

land3499 - Even though the pot is damaged, it's absolutely awesome. How did that happen?

I have some hen and chicks growing in a tall metal pot but it's also hit and miss for me. I used to have hen and chicks growing in a big flat saucer and they still struggled.

They just seem to take their sweet time in growing. They also don't ever spread out and become a 'carpet' of chicks either.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 1:53PM
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noki

I always thought that Hen and Chicks were super easy, I've seen people growing them without any attention like a weed. Live in Ohio zone 5b traditionally. I've tried some harsh areas around the house foundation that get really hot and dry during the summer, and they barely survive at all. Don't think they like the soggy cold times of the year at all either. Could Hen and Chicks be grown in almost all pebbles?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2011 at 9:55AM
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amccour

If you're talking about Sempervivums, there are a lot of cold hardy ones. If you're talking about Echeverias, I haven't had much success with those myself, either.

On the other hand, I have a rather Echeveria-ish looking Sedum (?) that does awesome for me, even indoors. And there are cold hardy Sedums too, apparently, although those are usually a lot smaller and not very Hens and Chicks like as far as I can tell.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2011 at 5:41PM
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cactusmcharris

Noki,

Yes, that's what they specialize in, growing in marginal soils.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2011 at 7:41AM
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land3499

>Even though the pot is damaged, it's absolutely awesome. How did that happen?

Dragonstone, the pot didn't like being repeatedly frozen and thawed, after I watered my Semps :)

I'm not sure how Echeverias and Sedums crept their way into this discussion.

-R

    Bookmark   April 17, 2011 at 7:02PM
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hijole(9 Sunny California)

Finchover, Not sure if your still wondering so heres another 2 cents worth: try shallow pots about 2" to 3" high kind of like a plant holder made of clay terra cotta, I've had pretty good success with that approach when I got my 1st Echeverias and forgot about them and the next thing I knew they were peekintg out everywhere.

How have you been doing lately since you first inquired last year?

Greg

    Bookmark   January 20, 2012 at 7:01PM
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pennyhal(11Sunset23)

Oh phooey. I can't grow hens and chicks either. I get them from the store in 4 inch pots looking happy. Then the lower leaves start dying and it's all over but the crying.

I don't know how we got from April to here, but I've been hiding my embarassing failure to grow those little critters since last April/May as well. They were so cute, making little plantlets and all...until they died.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2012 at 8:42PM
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norma_2006

Hens, and chicks, (Echevieria) come from Mexico and grow on Rocky Hill sides, can not tolerate much water and will drop leaves if they are getting too much, must be repotted each year by cutting off there heads, don't repot until you see roots. Just let them sit in an empty pot until you see the roots then plant. Sempervivums on the other hand hate the sun, and must be covered up with shade cloth until the nights get cooler. I have mine growing in the shade of a tree in the ground. I don't give them any care, they hardly have any soil because they are growing on top of the roots of a Nolina, (Mexican hat tree) having been there for years. I could not grow them any other place in my garden, they love the snow, and when I had them at the Hungtinton Gardens they grew over the edges of the pots, and I took them out and cleaned all the dead leaves off so the bugs didn't have a place to hide. Very time consuming work. They lived in the forest of Europe. They love to have pine needles covering them, that protected them from the snow, and the trees protected them from the sun. Don't give up on either species. Both are lovely. Norma

    Bookmark   January 22, 2012 at 11:51PM
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pennyhal(11Sunset23)

Oh, Norma, you give me hope!

I hope I know an Echeviera from a Sempervivum. I hope I don't get carried away with the garden hose again. I hope the ones that like sun stay put in the sunny part of the yard, and the shade lovers stay in the shade, and I hope I don't get fancy and start mixing them all up again.

It's pouring rain, which is good. I hope everyone outside is as happy about the rain as I am.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2012 at 2:38PM
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subtropix

I've never had such great luck with them either. I must have planted them repeatedly, but they seem to disappear. Currently, I have other succulent plants growing in the area I had planted the Sempervivum (hardy Opuntia--almost weedy at this point, ice plants, a pomergranate, and a Yucca rostrata).

    Bookmark   January 23, 2012 at 5:00PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Hey Finch,

Hens & Chicks can refer to at least 3 different types of plants that I know of Echeveria, Sedum & Sempervivum (Semps for short). I've tried Semps in the house & they just don't survive, I think they need the outdoors & cold nights too.

Sedum & Echeveria get leggy for me, I don't have enough light for them, each need a fair amount of direct sun.

Penny, do an Image Search for each of them & then look at the pix & compare them repeatedly. After a while, you'll be able to tell them apart.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2012 at 6:05PM
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marquest(z5 PA)

Keeping a Sempervivum in the house is as bad as putting a tropical plant out in the snow. Both will die. LOL

I learned that when I first started growing them I received an order of 20 in Jan by May they were dead or they flowered and died.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2012 at 7:50PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

Sempervivums, the hardy ones that grow outdoors, will die after they've bloomed. That's the way it is. But they usually will have sent out runners with the babies (chicks) before they bloom, and those continue the cycle, so you should always have the group growing. I grow several kinds and they are in full sun here. The xeric garden has weed cloth covered with a layer of crushed stone, and they do well there.

In bloom

In rear tucked under a rock

    Bookmark   January 23, 2012 at 10:48PM
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cactusmcharris

Bill,

Might it be more accurate to say that the flowering head dies (like an Aeonium), but the plant, if it has none-flowering heads, lives on?

This plant died - I foolishly bought it as a one-headed plant and it flowered in the same year, and what's worse, there were no pups.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 12:43PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

OK. The plant continues, so long as it has those chicks (pups as you call them). The flowering growth dies off. I haven't ever known these to be difficult to grow though, so maybe I've just been lucky with them.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 1:33PM
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cactusmcharris

I've not found them difficult to grow here, either. Put them in the ground and stand back, for the most part. I've got about 30 or so around the yard, though I've not seen them lately (snow cover).

You've got some nice gardens there, Bill. Have you been tempted to ever do mounds and populate them with plants? I'm thinking of putting together a cairn this year (I have lots of rock available) and stuffing the pockets with soil and them plants.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 9:01PM
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davemichigan(zone 6a (SE Michigan))

I have not found Sempervivums difficult either. I bought a small pot with a hen and a few chics, put them on the ground, and they have lived and multiplied for a few years.

The first year, I was a little worried, so I pulled some chics and overwinter them in little containers by a window sill. They grew inside and even produced chics too (indoor).

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 11:45PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

Cactusmcharris,
The xeric garden is more or less undulating.........some high and low spots, by design. I have the cacti, succulents and others that don't like wet feet on the higher areas. As it is in your climate, the enemy here is winter wet, not so much cold temperatures. It's very open so it's airy, gets full sun all year, and I think the crushed stone mulch helps to hold a little warmth in winter, and keeps things dry and clean. This garden is fairly new, so the plants are still spreading, but I see the Sempervivums creating nice colonies now.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 7:49AM
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