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Care Instructions for Hens and Chicks

Red Hens and ChicksBotanical name: Sempervivium

  • Location–Full sun to partial shade.
  • Soil–It is most important that they have well-drained soil because they do not like wet conditions. They prefer light, sandy, even rocky soil.
  • Bloom Time–Midsummer.
  • Mature Height– 2-3".
  • Hardiness Zone: 4-8.

Hens & Chicks are uniquely beautiful and add year-round color and texture to the garden. Drought tolerant and very hardy, this plant thrives with little maintenance. Coloring may change throughout the season, due to changes in temperature, sunlight, and other factors. They are excellent for rock gardens, crevices in rock walls, decorative containers, as ground cover in sunny gardens, and as low maintenance houseplants.


Simply place the bareroot plant (the chick) on the soil, spread its roots, and lightly cover with soil. If your Hens & Chicks come potted, just plant them in sandy soil at the same depth at which they were planted. Placing the plant in contact with the soil is enough for it to start establishing its roots. Hens & Chicks form rosettes and spread by offsets from the base of a larger rosette. The base plants are the hens, and the offsets are the chicks. The chicks will quickly set roots in their new spot.

Soil Preparation

For optimum results you can improve your soil as follows:

  • Spade or rototill the soil to a depth of 12-15".
  • Soil must have good drainage, and a mixture of sand and gravel may be added. If planting in a container, cactus soil may be used. Apply Spring Hill’s Advanced Formula Plant Food. (If soil is already well drained, the addition of Spring Hill’s Advanced Formula Plant Food will provide the ideal conditions recommended by Spring Hill’s nursery professionals for superior growth and blooming.)

Continuing Care

Hens & Chicks require very little care. Water plants thoroughly after planting or transplanting, then allow soil to dry slightly between each future watering. These plants prefer sunny, dry locations. Too much moisture may cause roots to rot.

When plants start outgrowing their space, chicks can easily be transplanted to a new area, and will quickly establish themselves if placed in well-drained soil. Hens, the larger rosettes, generally only live for three years. Before they die, they produce a center stalk that flowers.

After the flower fades, the rosette dies. However, the empty spot it leaves is almost unnoticeable because its surrounding chicks will quickly fill in the space.

If planted in the ground, no additional winter care is needed. If planted in containers, move indoors to a sunny spot and enjoy as houseplants, or move to a cool garage, only watering when soil is mostly dry. Be careful that container plants do not freeze.