As you know, Betsy and I have many flowers in our yard — daffodils, tulips, iris, roses, lilies and daylilies.  But we also have some plants that don’t flower very much (no, I am not talking about the weeds in our flower beds!).

I grew up on a small farm in northern Indiana.  The topsoil was rich and about 18 inches (or more) deep.  Dad used to say that when we planted seed we had to jump back to keep from being knocked over the growing plant.

That certainly is not the situation here in Tennessee.  Don’t get me wrong — I like the mountains and our home.  But in some places there is solid rock about an inch below the surface.  We’ve worked around that by building some raised flower beds, but there are places in the yard where we have rock right under the surface and there’s not much we can do about it.

Except plant sempervivum (hen and chicks).  Sempervivum seem to thrive in the most impossible soil conditions, and they look good all year around.  We have several different varieties and various places around the yard.  Some are bicolor, like the picture above.  Others are a solid color.  The most common are green, but we also have several maroon or deep purple plants, as you can see in the picture below.

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15 Responses to “Sempervivum”

  1. Indrani Says:

    This is new to me, never seen these varieties here. Looks unique, not exactly beautiful.
    Great colors too.

  2. Mildred Says:

    Beautiful and hardy plants perfect for poor, rocky soil. Your photos are so pretty. The detail of these plants is just amazing. They remind me of roses on top of a birthday cake!!!

  3. Busy Bee Suz Says:

    I think these are so pretty and unusual looking. I have never grown them…but then again, we don’t have rocky areas, only SANDY. 🙂

  4. Jen Says:

    Great pictures to show them off George.
    Sounds like some things I should try to plant if they are hardy-
    lots of clay around here.

  5. Susie Says:

    I like it when they develop little babies.

  6. Mary Says:

    I love your dad’s comment about the rich soil 🙂 Hens and chicks are really pretty plants and I should try some here, although my soil is pretty fertile and they might not be able to peek out of the weeds! LOL

  7. Cheryl Says:

    I started some hens and chicks a couple of years ago from my aunt’ garden. I have added a few more over last summer and they are really starting to make me proud! My grandmother had them and I can remember being so impressed by the flowers growing out of big pots.

  8. Ruth Hiebrt Says:

    To me these look like some kind of roses,so they fir in perfectly on your yard. I used to have a plant of Hens and Chicks,but for some reason it didn’t survive.Maybe it was my ‘tender’ care I gave it.:)

  9. Kathy Ariano Says:

    No accident that semper vivans means ‘always alive’!!

  10. Sey Says:

    Are these plants somewhat related to the cactus? They look like full bloomed roses…’re so lucky to have grown fabulous flowering plants…!

  11. Ginny Hartzler Says:

    These have their own kind of prettiness, and yours are very symetrical. I wonder if they’re so hardy because they’re succulents?

  12. Neal Says:

    I think they are very pretty. As you know there are places in IN that is solid rock also. 🙂

  13. Rose Says:

    I love hen and chicks…did not realize they came in any color but green till I saw your and Betsy’s posts…

  14. Karin Says:

    Used to have some of those in my rock garden too and just enjoyed these succulents so much. You’ve got some excellent shots of them George. I love the red rosette!

  15. MaryBeth Says:

    I have some in my front garden and they just thrive all by themselves. My eldest daughter has them growing everywhere in her dry part of the state. The ones I have came from her. MB

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