Hens & Chicks - Echeveria what?

by Kate
(Sacramento CA)

We received this plant from another Freecycle member who only called it Hens & Chicks. She said she has another which is more purple and teal colored (my favorite colors), but we haven't gotten/seen those yet.

This plant is similar but not the same as any Echeveria I've been able to see online.
The leaves are the reverse color, green on the outside and edges, and rosy toward the inside and underneath.

They are almost flat leaves rather than the thick succulents. We've had them since last fall and tho they haven't blossomed yet, they have produced many chicks and spread quite easily.

We keep many potted ones in our greenhouse over winter, but left one in the ground covered only by a plastic milk jug which survived fine but hasn't grown nearly as much as the others. (We did have quite a few nights with frost this winter.)

We'd love to know the full correct name for this plant.
Thanks for your help,
Kate & Pancho

Drought Smart Plants reply:

Hi Kate and Pancho - welcome to the wonderful world of my favorite plants - Sempervivum. Although several other species of plants are similar and go by the name of 'hens and chicks' to my knowledge, Sempervivum is the first to go by that name.

Check on the Sempervivum Picture Gallery pages (there are four pages all linked together at the bottom of the page) for lots of pictures of my approximately 100 named varieties to see if your plants look similar. There are over 4000 named varieties, so I have a ways to go with my collection!

Sempervivum are much different to Echeveria, although they are from the same family, the Crassulaceae and are similar in appearance.

There are a few very important differences such as Sempervivum are very cold hardy, and will survive with ease in most climates provided they don't get too much water in the winter months.

They prefer a dry sandy or gravelly soil with low nutrients, and prefer full sun exposure.

They are also what is known as monocarpic, meaning they will only bloom once and then that rosette will die. Hopefully, she will leave lots of chicks to take her place.

Good luck with your Sempervivum adventure!


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