Can Hen & Chicks Stay Out In Cold Weather?

kcchiefsfan(5b Indep MO)November 15, 2009

Does anyone know if a hen 'n chick (plant, not the egg laying type) can stay out in cold (freezing or below) weather? My mother-in-law had a big pot of them at one time and it seems like she left them out all year. But she was a couple hundred miles south of us. We are in zone 5, Kansas City area and it can easily get to 20 degrees or even lower. Thank you...

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dirtmonkey(z8 OR)

Well, that depends- "Hen and Chicks" are usually either a type of Sempervivum, which are mostly hardy, or an Echeveria, which are mostly not. If you do a google search for "Sempervivum" and that looks more like your plant than "Echeveria" then you're most likely safe. Semp's are pretty tough.


    Bookmark   November 15, 2009 at 10:36PM
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I agree with Vincent.

I wish the 'Hen and Chicks' name would disappear. It is confusing and troublesome. Sempervivums and Echeverias are very different plants from very different climates.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2009 at 12:14AM
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bluebonsai101(6a PA)

I think the name is zone dependent if you one in zone 5 or 6 would think of a tender plant for the garden when they hear that common name. My parents had Hens and Chicks in their zone 5 Michigan garden (still do for that matter) for 40+ years now......totally hardy and impossible to kill. I have some in my garden as well here in zone 6. I pull off leaves on occasion to feed to my baby tortoise. You will have no problem with them if your mother-in-law was growing them and you have the same thing :o) Dan

    Bookmark   November 16, 2009 at 7:23AM
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As everyone else has said, if your H&C is actually Sempervivum, your plant not only can stand the cold but wants it.

If, however, it's an Echeveria (mostly from Mexico) it won't be cold-hardy and will turn into a gelatinous mess when there's a hard freeze.

There are lots of Google'd pics of both species, or you can post a pic here for identification.

Most of the time, H&C means Sempervivums, particularly if one lives closer to the tundra as we do - the farther away one lives from it, the more it can mean other species of plants (Echeverias and less so the Pachyphytums and Graptopetalums) which intensely dislike sub-zero-C temperatures.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2009 at 12:29PM
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mooseling(Z5 CO)

I rarely see Echeveria here sold as Hens & Chicks. And the one time I did see it, it was obviously being sold as a houseplant, and not with the perennials. It's usually Sempervivums here that get that name.

And go Broncos.

Sorry. Couldn't resist.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2009 at 2:56PM
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I agree with mooseling, I had H&C in the ground when I lived in Colorado and for over 25 years they were thriving. The thing about any plant, even the hardy varieties, they can go belly up if they are planted in a pot and left out all year. It's not just the cold, but the dry air that will kill them. It seemed strange to be watering in winter, but it actually protected many plants from freezing with a thin film of ice on plant surfaces.

I also agree with mooseling on the Broncos: Go Broncos!!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2009 at 12:58PM
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They grew in the forest of Europe, they will not need water in the winter, my friend actually covered them with newspaper and shade cloth, and then put them under a patio covering for the winter and they did fine, they came from the forests of Europe, no one took care of them. I would occasionally remove the dead leaves from under the heads of the plants, sun will cause them to flower, and then the mother plant will die, leaving the babies to survive on their own, so keep them out of the sun. If you have any pine trees where you live you may cover them with the pine needles, it will help. Norma

    Bookmark   November 23, 2009 at 12:23AM
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