Photo: Amanda Streby
One of the things Kat and I enjoy about succulents is they thrive on neglect.
What other type of plant can handle poor soil, a lack of water and a lack of care so well?
Orchids would wilt at the mere thought of it.
But succulents are resilient, and Hen and Chicks (Sempervivum) are as tough as it gets in the plant world.
They are one of the houseplants we recommend for beginners because they are nearly indestructible.
Here’s how often you should water your Sempervivum babies.
We’ve decided to break down your watering program by season.
The good news in Hen and Chicks only needs to be watered occasionally, so there is considerable leeway for #&%ups.
Our apoligies if that offended you, but we are The Sassy Plant after all.
Note - one of the most important variables determining how often to water your Hen & Chicks is how well-drained and aerated the soil is.
If your soil is not well-drained and not particularly aerated then you might want to consider repotting it with a better soil medium (e.g. cactus soil mix). If you want to make your own just use 50/50 potting soil and soil mixed together - this provides excellent drainage and aeration (assuming your container or planter has drainage holes).
As the weather starts to warm up in most climates you’ll want to water your Hen and Chicks ‘slightly’ more than winter (but not much more).
This is because spring is the start of their prime growing season and you want to make sure they have everything they need to thrive (which is essentially nothing).
The beauty of Sempervivum is it can thrive in between two bricks, and by accident.
Please don’t take that as an insult to your gardening skills, but it’s true : )
We get excited when we see our Hen & Chicks thriving, but we’re under no illusion that it’s due to our ‘skill’ - It’s probably in spite of it.
In the summer your Hen & Chicks are like Snoop and Martha - they want you to "Drop It Like It's Hot."
Don’t be shy about giving your beloved plant plenty of direct sunlight (they are a succulent from the desert after all).
You’ll need to give them more water than other seasons, but again, not much more.
In most climates you can get away with a plant care regimen that would be considered benign neglect for other species.
As the weather cools and the days start to shorten your Sempervivum will be exiting prime growing season and starting to go dormant.
For that reason your Hen & Chicks watering should be even less than usual.
If you thought that caring for Hen and Chicks was easy in the summer - try winter.
You can forget about your plant, and it will love you MORE.
Seriously - one of the biggest problems with Hen & Chicks (Sempervivum) is overwatering, so get your hands off the watering can!
The amount of water you give your plant will depend on container size.
For example - if you have one plant in a mini mason jar it will be different than if you have a planter with 20 rosettes.
Here’s a good rule of thumb for watering your Hen & Chick succulents.
Give enough water that part of the soil is damp, and then stop.
This could be as little as a table spoon of water every few weeks in some climates.
You’ll have to do your homework for your own USDA climate zone to see how much water, and how often your Sempervivum will need to to thrive.
For our wedding in 2017 my wife was given a beautiful succulent bouquet by her sisters that included Hen & Chicks.
We then took those succulents and potted them in mini mason jars.
After a few more years and many propagations later we have been giving away Hen & Chick rosettes from our wedding bouquet to family members and continuing to propagate by plucking off leaves and placing them on damp soil.
Once your Hen & Chicks get going they are the gift that keeps on giving - literally!
If you want to make your plants really happy try this one weird tip - boil some eggshells in water, and once it has cooled use it for your plants.
Succulents like Hen & Chicks need a bit of calcium from time to time, so they will love you for it.
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