What a Way to Go

Sempervivum in bloom, Fairfield Glade, Tennessee.  July 2, 2009.

Sempervivum in bloom, Fairfield Glade, Tennessee. July 2, 2009.

I’ve mentioned before that Betsy and I have planted sempervivum (hens and chicks) around the house.  Sempervivum are succulent evergreen perennials that produce low, compact, evergreen, flower-like rosettes of succulent leaves.  The plants send out numerous offsets, and spread in this manner to form a dense colony.  The parent rosettes are the hens, and the smaller rosettes that spring from them are the chicks.

The name Sempervivum has its origin in the Latin Semper — which means forever — and vivo — which means live.  Sempervivum are called ‘live forever‘ because this perennial plant keeps its leaves in winter even when the temperatures drop below freezing.

Although grown for its foilage, usually in rock gardens or containers, hens and chicks do flower.  Flower stems up to 18 inches develop from the hen and produce blossoms with color varying from rose to pink.

The hens will die after flowering, but by that time they will have produced numerous chicks to take their  place.

The picture above is of hens in bloom in one of our flower beds.  The stem will last for a couple of weeks before wilting away.  It’s a shame that the hens have to die, but what a way to go!!!

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17 Responses to “What a Way to Go”

  1. Fishing Guy Says:

    George: Those are wonderful blooms. I never had ones that bloomed and my wife never like them.

  2. NCMountainwoman Says:

    I’ve seen hens and chicks a thousand times but I had no idea they produced such lovely blossoms. Absolutely amazing.

  3. Jen Says:

    Those are pretty little blooms.
    Great explanation in this plant George. Now I need to borrow your green thumb.

  4. Susie Says:

    What a pretty little clump of flowers. Enjoyed the info on it too.

  5. D Says:

    I love hen and chicks. I didn’t know they bloomed! I think this might be one plant I could keep alive. I might try it.

  6. Happyone Says:

    Thanks for all the info on the hens and chicks. Mine have gotten those tall off shoots with buds on them but haven’t flowered and now they look like they are dying.

  7. Suz Says:

    I had not a clue that these little guys produced flowers!!! SO cute!

  8. Ruth Hiebert Says:

    They do have unique flowers,but pretty in their own way.

  9. Carla Says:

    I’ve never seen the hens and chicks bloom either. They ARE very unique and very pretty.

  10. Tammie Says:

    such little beauties!

  11. Mary Says:

    I’ve never seen them in bloom before! Amazing!

  12. MaryBeth Says:

    It always cracks me up when they flower–well not literally—but they can go for quite awhile before flowering and then Ka-boom! they all flower at once and some can be quite odd looking. Yours are very nice. MB

  13. Louise Cannon Says:

    I never knew the hens died. It makes me think of “century plants.” I’ve seen one bloom (they all die after they bloom), and another next to it. I wonder if it produced the one next to it of if it was planted. (It was in a yard.) I also don’t think I’ve seen the same types of hens and chicks you have. 18″tall stalks for blooms is new to me.

  14. karin Says:

    Well, I learned something again! What a wonderful way to finish one’s life – in full bloom and loads of offspring to carry on!

  15. Carletta Says:

    I have never seen them bloom. They are so pretty!

  16. happilyretired Says:

    Beautiful! This is a new plant to me with lovely blossoms. Thanks so much for sharing ;–)
    Hugs and blessings,

  17. nhnursery Says:

    Those blooms are nicer than I have ever seen.

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