Hen and Chicks

chuckedwardsNovember 3, 2006

I have a plant called Hen and her chicks. Can I bring this inside for the winter? If I leave it outside, will it come back next year?

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blackswamp_girl(6a NEOhio)

My aunt leaves her hens and chicks (sempervivum is the Latin name) outside in the ground near her garage and they come back each year and spread. My grandma used to keep hers in a strawberry jar outside through the winter and they were fine there, too. I would guess you would have no trouble.

Do you have lots of chicks on yours? If you do, you can break one or two off and bring them inside for the winter to hedge your bets. Just be sure not to overwater them--they can rot if they're too wet.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2006 at 12:09PM
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jjirons69(8a SC)

They'll be fine outside. They are pretty tough plants. Our used to get snow and ice on them several times during the winter and they never suffered at all.


    Bookmark   November 8, 2006 at 1:22PM
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leslie197(z5 MI)

I have a variety of Hens & Chicks in hypertufa pots on my patio. I also have some planted in crevices on some rocks in the yard. The ones in the natural rock are in real soil, but very little of it, and a light covering of fine gravel. The ones in the tufa are in soiless mix with some added grit, topdressed with regular gravel.

They overwinter fine here in zone 5. We have not had any consistent snow cover the last few years and they have gone through many freeze and thaw cycles without any problems.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2006 at 4:11PM
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My hens and chick die in chicago winter zone 5. so every year I bring smaller one inside in a pot and keep on windowsil. They do good and survive.


Here is a link that might be useful: In Search of Peace

    Bookmark   December 9, 2006 at 3:09PM
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I have some in a saucer planter that is maybe two inches deep. Will they freeze and die outside? The other option is to bring them inside where they get onloy artificial light w/ sunlight through the window only when i move them in front of our glass door (in our way most days).

What sound like a better option? They are inside right now but they are turning very white and the think "petals" are turning downward - although they don't look dead or rotting.


    Bookmark   December 22, 2007 at 5:28PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

If you move them outside now, you'll have to do it slowly. They can live inside, but do best outside. Putting them out today, with weather in the teens, would be a sure death sentence. I think if it were me, I'd try to acclimate them over at least a one or two week period. Put them in the garage at night when it gets below freezing at least for the first few days.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2008 at 11:08AM
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If one is referring to Sempervivum tectorum or what is most often referred to as "hens and chicks", these are very hardy plants, generally listed to zone 4, sometimes zone 3. The name "sempervivum" translates to "live forever" which should provide some clue as to their ease of growth and hardiness. They are also native to the Alps, another good indicator of cold hardiness.

Generally the only limit to winter hardiness is wet. Being succulents and able to grow in almost pure rock, they require very sharp drainage. It is likely the zone 5 specimens that don't survive over winter are in too moisture retentive a soil. While they should overwinter with ease in a Tennessee winter, moving them back out from indoors now, where they have acclimated to a far warmer environment, is not an ideal situation. Acclimating them back to colder temperatures gradually as brandon suggests before just dumping them outside is a much better idea.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2008 at 3:03PM
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My aunt had them in her garden when I was growing up and I always wanted to get them for mine but never did. I noticed that my neighbor had some in a pot and they were gorgeous. She said she does nothing to them other than occasional watering and she leaves them out. She dug some up for me. I potted them and they slowly spread all summer. They are on my deck so I can see them all winter. They have been snowed on, frozen, thawed and frozen again. No damage whatsoever. They almost look fake. I can't wait to see them this summer. I think I will dig some up this spring for our boulder retaining wall and see how they do there.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 11:53AM
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Maybe it depends on the variety. We have some that have multiplied to the tune of hundreds, and we NEVER touch them, except to help them find new crevices in the rocks once in a while when the chicks start multiplying too much.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2009 at 5:44AM
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