Sempervivums (House Leeks)

Sempervivums are a dream for those of us who have a little less time to dedicate to our garden. They are commonly known as ‘House Leeks‘ or ‘Hens and Chicks’.  This delightful plant offers unique form and beauty without any of the effort.  House Leeks can be planted in containers, rockeries, walls and even a bit of driftwood.  So what is the catch?.  Sempervivums just like to be in the sun and in well drained soil.  They can be planted in pots with well drained compost and mixed with 25-50% sand or grit.

They are perfect for that sunny dry area.  Just plant and they will flourish.  Sempervivums form mats of fleshy-leaved rosettes in the most attractive colours.  Colours range from varying shades of green, through to reds and purples.  Some are even covered in tiny white gossamer hair that gives the effect of being covered in cobwebs.  In summer they produce pink, red or pale yellow star shaped flowers.  However, Sempervivums are monocarpic so once it flowers the rosette will die.  All you have to do is remove the rosette,fill the gap with gritty soil and leave it.  The offsets will do their job and fill the gap.

Even growing you own Sempervivum is relatively easy.  You simply separateSempervivum 'Atropurpureum' Sempervivums the offsets, or the chicks as they are more commonly known,from the parent plant.  Growing from seed however is a little more tricky.  You run the risk of not having exactly the same plant, as Sempervivums hybridize quite easily.

Once the Sempervivum is established it needs very little care.  Most varieties are frost hardy but for those that aren’t plant in pots and just bring indoors for the Winter.

Sempervivums that have been planted on a wooden stump, an ideal and novel growing place
Sempervivums superb for those difficult sunny sites

HEIGHT: 10-50cm (4-8″)
SOIL TYPE: Sand, Loam
SOIL PH: Acid, Neutral, Alkaline
OTHER CHARACTERISTICS: easy to grow and care for