Has anyone ever seen 'Chicken and Hens' do THIS??

bev25(Rhode Island)July 24, 2005

I have shown this to a lot of people and they all look at me like I'm insane... Are chicken and Hens SUPPOSE to do this?? WHAT is it doing and WHY????


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whip1 Zone 5 NE Ohio

I don't know what it is, but I have two that are doing the same thing. It grew about a foot tall, and got real unsightly so I cut it off. I thought maybe it was seeding.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2005 at 10:54PM
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That is the flower stalk - very common and nothing to get upset about. They are monocarpic, though - once the "hen" flowers, it is done for but there should plenty of chicks to take over.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2005 at 1:53AM
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that's a hen laying eggs- you have been blessed with 'ideal' growing conditions for so long that one of the oldest hens has opted to flower!

unsightly, yes... most of them have fairly weird looking flowers, and the stalks are ungainly...

you can cut it off just above the rosette, but gal's right, that hen's at the end of its life cycle.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2005 at 10:15AM
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bev25(Rhode Island)

Well, imagine that! Even my father was baffled!
Up against the stone and the cement sun there, they just seem to thrive. Definitely an ideal spot. I think I will just cut it off since you dont think it will do anything pretty.
I appreciate your input and solving the mystery for me!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2005 at 12:58PM
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wynative(z5 WY)

Are you sure they have to be old to do this? My one & very lonely Hen is blooming now, although not as tall and impressive as yours Bev. It is about 2" across and I only planted it this year.

Does this mean I will have to buy more each and every year to have them in my garden? or will they reseed themselves from the cute little flowers?

Thank, Marie

    Bookmark   July 28, 2005 at 5:14PM
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bev25(Rhode Island)

I dont think that would be the case. I hear they're pretty hearty. My love the heat from the rock and there are much more than last year. I think I'd be interested in getting another species that is a little more colorful to add to that corner if anyone has a suggestion and a photo would REALLY help!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2005 at 5:22PM
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whip1 Zone 5 NE Ohio

Marie, when mine bloomed it left behind a few small chicks. These will grow and make more. Before long you will have hens, and then more chicks!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2005 at 10:58PM
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dian57(M-H Valley NY-5)

My mother always had hens & chicks in the garden beds as I was growing up. I just noticed them casually as I was much more interested in things other than gardening (boys & friends).

When I got my own house, I bought some hens & chicks of my own and plopped them here and there in my dusty, arid landscape. They flourished.

Over the years, I learned more about gardening and added organic matter and rebuilt the soil. One summer a few of my hens & chicks did just what your picture shows--turned into a space alien lifeform.

I mentioned it to my mother and she said, "That's the flower, didn't you ever notice ours do that?"

Thanks for the picture, and the memory of my childhood home.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2005 at 5:48AM
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They don't have to be "old" to bloom - just mature enough and growing in suitable conditions. I even have them blooming in 4" containers at the nusery and mine bloom at home consistantly.

Sempervivum tanslates loosely to "live forever" and these are some of the hardiest of the commonly grown sedums and succulents, most species adaptable to conditions from zone 4 to 9 and from full sun to dense shade. They are not fussy about soil conditions as long as drainage is good. They propagate themselves most commonly from offsets - the "chicks" - and can spread densely and rapidly in areas where they are happy.

Many plants produce unusual inflorescenses - I'm not sure I'd label them as strongly as alien life forms.....LOL! Yours are only still in bud and I'd recommend allowing the flowers to develop fully before you remove them. They are really very attractive and bloom in shades of pink and yellow.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2005 at 7:33AM
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hypatia3811(z6 MI)

I think its a beautiful flower, and it seems to be very proud of its self. I leave mine grow and enjoy the odd texture and vertical lines.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2005 at 11:02PM
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username_5(banned for no reason)

I agree, I always allow them to flower, I find the flowers incredibly interesting although they are not your everyday flower. The way I look at it is the flower is the plant saying it's final goodbyes. Ok, it isn't saying anything to me, but I like to imagine they like me as much as I like them. mine are growing under my mailbox along the street. They get ignored, but I see them every time I get the mail.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2005 at 10:37PM
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I was wondering how many years it takes for them to spread like that because I planted 5 plants in my bed in the spring and they have not done a thing. Is it that the first year they sleep, second creep third they leap principle? I havnt had luck with them every looking as pretty as yours!!!!


    Bookmark   July 31, 2005 at 6:36PM
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maddigger(z6 NW Arkansas)

Hi Novice, I have had several hens and chicks planted in variuos crags and holes in a huge rock and they multiplied for about five years and last year a couple bloomed and this year several more did. I have two different type hens and chicks in the rock. One is the common one you see so often with the pointed leaves and the other is rounder and has a white center. Both flowered. The white centered type has the best looking buds and flower stem. They remind me of cactus when they bloom. I live in Arkansas, not too far east of Tulsa, near Bull Shoals Lake. Hope you got some of this last rain, we surely needed it. If you e-mail back, my new e-mail address is Sachsesfadeaway@direcway.com Have a great week, Jim

    Bookmark   August 8, 2005 at 12:02AM
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wynative(z5 WY)

Whip1 - Mine has little 8" stems (2) with cactus type blooms - I think they look neat and at the base of her are 2 tiny babies! I hope that they will fill in the raised be they are in, in a couple of years.


    Bookmark   August 11, 2005 at 10:33AM
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