Overcooked or overwatered or what?
Hi... I am a sad little gardener with an admitted non-green thumb.
My mom and grandmother have always had hens and chicks potted in various containers and locations around the house (strawberry jars, at the edge of the woods around tree roots, in a pair of my grandfather's old boots..).
Anyway, I love them but seem to have the most difficult time with them, despite their hardy nature.
I have 4 pots currently. 2 of them are terra cotta strawberry jars.
The bottom layers of my hens and chicks are turning a crispy brown, almost like how leaves turn dry and brittle after falling in autumn.
What could be going on?
I live in KY and we've had a very hot summer with little rain. Given the drought, I have watered them a few times, but sparingly. They are on the south side of my house and go into the shade in the afternoon. Any help is greatly appreciated.
Hi Ericka, it sounds as though your hens are suffering from the heat - this drying out of the lower leaves is a common strategy for dealing with drought, and in healthy plants, generally it doesn't show, as the top growth is larger than the shriveling leaves. This is also a perfectly normal way that these plants grow, so if they're not rotting, simply drying out, that's fine. Without a picture, from your description, this sounds like a normal characteristic.
My personal experience with Sempervivum is that they can take either heat, or bright light, but not both. They tend to look very stressed if this is their situation.
When you say you water sparingly, my advice is to water thoroughly, and then let them dry out. They're happier with a good drink, and then some drought. Don't tease them with a tiny sprinkle.
Depending on what the wall of your house is made of (brick?), this could be causing intense heat to build up and be reflected onto the pot, which as mountain plants, they don't have the evolution to deal with. They would generally always have a cool root run, not too warm.
Hope this helps get your Hens back on track,