clumps of hens and chicks

wiley0(4a)October 18, 2008

Picked up two containers 8"x8"x8"deep of these plants.

Our weather here in st paul will be warm yet for another week, maybe a slight frost next week. I am wondering if I will be okay to just plant the clumps in the ground in a raised bed rock/bog garden along with other established plants. I'm thinking of getting a bale or two of straw and covering this area with a mixture of the straw and leaves for the winter.

Do you think they will do ok? Or is a bit too late for them to take hold? I will plant the entire clumps in dug holes lined with fresh compost and cover with several inches of straw.

If they will take, I may go back this morning and buy some more. $2.50 ea seems like a good deal and in the spring I will use them amongst some rock edging or in a container. Wintering in the house is not an option-limited space and windows.

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They are quite hardy so my hunch would be that they will do fine. Other options for overwintering are an attached garage, cool basement or just 'planting' the pots in the ground and then planting the plants next year.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2008 at 7:55AM
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julie_mn(z4 MN Henn)

Good find there Wiley!
I though I would mention that some sempervivems are hardy in MN- many more are not. I have seen pictures of many I would love to grow out in my garden only to find that they are not hardy to zone 4/5. But at $2.50 an 8x8 container- I think I would give at least one a try!
I have some hens and chicks that I planted out in the garden last summer that still have not "rooted" themselves in- and rolled around a bit while I was cleaning up the bed last week. I am hoping they will tough out the winter and stay put come spring.
I have found I have the best luck with these when they are in a drier location- especially in winter and spring. I don't think I have ever seen these growing in a bog garden- I do not know how they would over winter with "wet feet".
I am thinking burying the whole pot without disturbing the roots- as long as it would get excellent drainage would be my choice at this time of the year...
Good luck!


    Bookmark   October 18, 2008 at 4:25PM
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They are potted in a hypertufa deco planter. Looks like fake concrete with a drainage hole in the bottom and is about 4qt according to the label.

I stopped back for one more and am going to keep that one in a south facing window for the winter. The other two went in the ground without the container but I kept the clumps together and covered them with leaves. My small bog garden isn't really a bog garden yet, just a corner of the garden that I dug out and laid down a plastic tarp then filled it with gravel, petemoss, compost and dirt. Earlier I channeled water to it and kept it somewhat wet but it has since dried up during our mini drought in mid summer. Next year I will take out the H&C's and some other plants and change it. I also got a nice mini purple lilac bush that should do nicely there. Hopefully, I can use the H&C's for some accents along the rock edges.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2008 at 6:33PM
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leftwood(z4a MN)

FYI, lilacs abhore wet feet.

I wouldn't cover you hen and chicks with leaves yet. Leave them exposed to the cold, and especially, the sun, and let the above ground surfaces of the plants stay dry. They are not particularly sensitive to winter wet, but it isn't winter yet, and they will still use the sun to settle themselves in. Then if you cover them, say around Nov 15, be sure to uncover them (or at least loosen the leaves) early in the spring, say March 20. They might start growing prematurely if they are getting warm under the leaves in the spring. Not a killing thing (usually), but not a good thing either.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2008 at 10:19PM
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zenpotter(z4 MN)

I find that the only way I have been able to keep Hen and Chicks alive from year to year is to plant them in well drained sandy soil. They do not like wet feet anymore than I do.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2008 at 8:04AM
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