Types of Sempervivum Varieties (Houseleeks)

Sempervivum plants, also known as hen and chicks or more popularly known as houseleeks, are hardy succulent plants.

These succulents are native to mountainous or rocky areas. The most interesting fact about these houseleeks is that they tolerate extreme drought and temperatures.

Due to their hardiness and robust structure, they are one of the most popular choices among gardeners and landscapers.

Sempervivum plants are attractive varieties mainly because of their rosettes, which are spirally patterned leaves. Each of those rosettes is considered a single plant.

Without this, Sempervivum also produces wonderful flowers during the early spring to summer months. Once these plants produce flowers, they die.

You may see a small, seed-filled fruit from these succulents.

However, they are replaced by their offsets or new rosettes. You may separate these offsets for propagation purposes.

Sempervivum plants are typically grown in containers, but they can also be grown in tufa rock, driftwood, or even bricks.

These succulents will be able to handle that environment pretty well because of their sturdy nature.

In this article, we will mention some popular Sempervivum succulents that you can easily grow indoors. You can choose anyone from the menu plants below.


By the way, if you are looking for other types of succulents, go back to our main Succulents page.


Popular Sempervivum Succulents

Sempervivum plants, often called hens and chicks because of the way they grow, are popular succulents for gardeners.

There are many different types of sempervivum plants, some with broad leaves and others with narrow leaves. Some Sempervivum plants have long stems, while others have short stems.

The most popular type is known as the sempervivum tectorum, which has rosettes that are green with rosy edges.

Sempervivums can be propagated using stem cuttings.

Read on to learn more about the different types of sempervivum succulents.

Sempervivum Arachnoideum

Sempervivum Arachnoideum

Sempervivum arachnoideum is one of the most famous cultivars of the Sempervivum genus. This species is also known as “Cobweb houseleek.”

The beautiful green rosette contains white hairs at the tips. This network of hairs gives this plant a spider web look.

This succulent blooms tiny pink flowers during the summer months.

This clump-forming plant needs partial or full sun to grow. If you grow them indoors, then you should place them near the south-east facing window.

While growing them outdoors, you need to choose a partially shady spot.

This hardy plant can tolerate a temperature as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Never overwater them because it will send these succulents to an early grave. Also, make sure that they are planted in well-drained compost or soil.

Sempervivum Bernstein

Sempervivum Bernstein

Sempervivum bernstein is one of the most attractive varieties of the Sempervivum genus.

This specific cultivar produces beautiful copper-orange colored rosettes, and the leaf tips have a red-burgundy color.

This unique color combination will add a wonderful vibe to your succulent garden.

Like the other Sempervivum plants, this one also forms clumps and reaches a maximum height of 3 inches, while the rosettes can be up to 4 inches.

Sempervivum bernstein needs a bright sun. If you can provide them with a minimum of 4-5 hours of direct sun, then they will maintain their color combinations.

These succulents can tolerate temperatures as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Like other Sempervivums, these plants may die because of overwatering.

Prepare well-drained soil for growing them in containers. These hardy succulents can even survive in gritty soil.

Sempervivum Black

Sempervivum Black

Sempervivum black is another houseleek that has a black center with black to red color tips.

This species of Sempervivum has a tight rosette, which will add a unique vibe to your indoor garden.

Each of these plants may reach around 4 to 6 inches tall and spread 6 to 8 inches wide.

These low-growing plants can be found widely distributed in mountainous areas or rock gardens.

Like the other succulents, these species are drought-tolerant and winter-hardy. They need indirect sunlight to thrive.

Remember that an imbalance in light intensity will ruin the beautiful colour. The ideal temperatures for growing these plants range between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

They don’t have a higher water demand, so, make sure that you don’t overwater them.

Sempervivum Desert Bloom

Sempervivum Desert Bloom

Sempervivum desert bloom is another wonderful variety that comes up with bluish green foliage. During the spring, you will notice rose-pink colored leaf tips.

At the mature stage, the plant may have 5–6 inches in diameter. These houseleeks produce beautiful medium-pink colored flowers during the summer months.

These perennial succulents don’t have too many demands. Keep them near the south-east facing window because they need bright sun to maintain the color combination.

Don’t water them regularly because the wet conditions will cause root rot and the succulents will drop their leaves.

Always prepare well-drained soil, and make sure that there is a good drainage system in the container.

Sempervivum Fidelis

Sempervivum Fidelis

Sempervivum fidelis comes up with a unique color combination. Young and newer foliage have orange leaf tips, while the mature foliage has rose-pink leaf tips.

This succulent species may reach up to 3-4 inches in height and spread around 7-8 inches.

Their unique color combination will surely add a great touch to your succulent garden plants.

These cultivars of Sempervivum need full sun for growth. The temperature isn’t a problem because they are winter hardy and heat-tolerant.

Overwatering can be fatal because these plants cannot tolerate wet conditions. Use a well drained potting mix for planting them.

You can fertilize them with liquid or organic fertilizers during the growing season.

Sempervivum Heuffelii

Sempervivum Heuffelii

Sempervivum heuffelii is another mesmerizing species of the Sempervivum genus. It is native to North America and many parts of Europe.

This perennial plant has red-purple and greenish-blue foliage. Like the other species of Sempervivum, this one remains dormant during the winter months.

During the flowering period, it produces a beautiful yellow flower that has around 6 to 7 petals.

Sempervivum heuffelii thrives well under partial shade to full sun. To maintain their attractive color combinations, you should provide them with a lot of sunlight.

However, during the summer months, you can move them to a shady area. Water these plants deeply when the top few inches of soil seem too dry.

The potting mix should have excellent drainage conditions. Mix 50% perlite and other inorganic materials with 50% garden soil for preparing the growing medium.

Sempervivum Jade Rose

Sempervivum Jade Rose

Sempervivum jade rose is another attractive species that comes up with deep purple foliage with a green center.

This plant may reach up to 5 inches in height but spreads around 6-8 inches. You will also notice fine and tiny white hairs, called cilia.

Like the other Sempervivum, these succulents are monocarpic, which means that they will die after flowering.

These hardy succulents need partial to full sun for growth. They are winter hardy and can tolerate temperatures as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

You must avoid overwatering because it will kill these plants. The containers should have drainage holes to remove excess water.

These plants can also grow well in gritty soil without any problems. For propagation, you can either use seeds or separate the offsets.

Sempervivum Macedonicum

Sempervivum Macedonicum

Sempervivum macedonicum is another mat-forming perennial succulent that grows up to 2-4 inches in height.

The rosettes have an attractive bluish green color. The leaves are sessile, lanceolate, and pointed and covered with white and thin hairs.

These species produce light pink to purple flowers during the middle of summer. Each bloom has around 14 red petals.

Sempervivum macedonicum tolerates a wide range of lighting conditions, but the best location for them is under the indirect but bright sun.

Make sure that they receive a minimum of 4-6 hours of sun. They are winter-hardy succulents, but it is better to move them indoors during a heavy frost.

Water them deeply when the growing medium seems dry. Also, the drainage condition should be good.

Sempervivum Montanum

Sempervivum Montanum

Sempervivum montanum is a hardy succulent that is small and spreads around 2 to 3 inches.

This plant comes up with light green fleshy foliage and produces many offsets, which are held very tightly to the mother plant.

During the early summer, this houseleek blooms with reddish-purple flowers that are star-shaped.

These species of Sempervivum need full sun to grow, but they can also grow well under dappled sunlight.

Temperature isn’t a problem because these succulents are extremely heat-tolerant and winter-hardy.

Prepare a well-drained potting mix for planting these succulents. Never overwater these varieties as it will kill the plants.

If you notice stunted growth, fertilize them during the early spring.

Sempervivum Pacific Blue Ice

Sempervivum Pacific Blue Ice

Sempervivum pacific blue ice comes up with icy bluish green foliage. This color has enhanced the overall beauty of this species.

If you live in a winter climate, then you may plant this icy colored succulent in your indoor garden.

Since they are frost hardy, you don’t have to worry about their survival. The rosettes of this succulent are rounded.

Generally, they are seen growing mostly in rocky gardens.

This Sempervivum plant needs a lot of sunlight to grow. If you grow it in an indoor garden, then keep it near the south-facing window.

Extreme temperatures aren’t a problem because this cultivar is frost and heat tolerant. The only problems can be poorly drained potting soil and overwatering.

You can use wood chips or coarse materials to prepare a potting mix. For propagation, you may separate the offsets.

Sempervivum Pippin

Sempervivum Pippin

Another hardy succulent species that can be found in rocky and mountainous regions is the Sempervivum pippin. They look stunningly gorgeous when grown in containers.

If you have other low-growing plants in your garden, we strongly recommend you plant this wonderful variety along with other plants.

The most wonderful thing about this plant is its foliage color, which is deep green with dark tips.

These plants prefer to grow in the full sun, but we suggest you keep them near the south-facing window all year.

Don’t worry about the winter and frost because these species can tolerate low temperatures efficiently.

Prepare a well-drained growing medium. Mix sandy soil, perlite, vermicompost, etc. to improve the drainage system.

Sempervivum Tectorum Sunset

Sempervivum Tectorum Sunset

Sempervivum tectorum sunset is one of the most beautiful cultivars because of its green and dark burgundy color combination.

The center of the foliage has light green, and the leaf tips have burgundy color.

During the spring season, this plant produces a lot of offsets, and the grower can easily separate them.

In the summer months, this Tectorum sunset Sempervivum blooms pink flowers.

An interesting fact about Sempervivum tectorum is that you can use its juice for treating ear pain [1].

These Sempervivums need filtered sunlight to grow. If you grow them in your outdoor garden, you need to choose a spot that receives indirect but bright sunlight.

They can tolerate as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit. If you notice that the temperature during the summer has exceeded 90 degrees Fahrenheit then bring them indoors.

The afternoon shade is also good in this condition. These succulents should be planted in the well drained mix.

Sempervivum Terracotta Baby

Sempervivum Terracotta Baby

Sempervivum tectorum Sunset is one of the most beautiful cultivars because of its green and dark burgundy color combination.

The center of the foliage is light green, and the leaf tips are burgundy.

During the spring season, this plant produces a lot of offsets, and the grower can easily separate them.

In the summer months, this Tectorum sunset Sempervivum blooms with pink flowers.

An interesting fact about Sempervivum tectorum is that you can use its juice to treat ear pain [1].

These Sempervivums need filtered sunlight to grow. If you grow them in your outdoor garden, you need to choose a spot that receives indirect but bright sunlight.

They can tolerate it as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit. If you notice that the temperature during the summer has exceeded 90 degrees Fahrenheit, then bring them indoors.

The afternoon shade is also good in this condition. These succulents should be planted in a well-drained mix.

Sempervivum Reinhardt

Sempervivum Reinhardt

Sempervivum reinhardt has a distinctive appearance with its apple green center and dark burgundy leaf tips.

This color combination gives this succulent a unique look, and you can easily identify this plant. The leaves are narrow and long and stand upright.

If one can maintain the light intensity, these plants will show the best colors while maintaining a tight formation of rosette.

These succulents need plenty of sunlight to thrive. They grow to their full potential during the spring and summer.

Like the other Sempervivums, they are frost hardy and can tolerate temperatures of up to 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Protect them from heavy rain at any cost, because excessive water will kill these plants.

Sempervivum Ruby Heart

Sempervivum Ruby Heart

Sempervivum ruby heart is another mat-forming species that has beautiful silvery blue and bluish green leaves.

At the base of the rosettes, you will see a rosy red color. These color combinations vary from season to season and become intensified during the winter.

In the mid-summer, the plant comes up with pink-purple flowers.

These hens and chicks plants need a lot of light to grow. The location that receives dappled light is perfect for them.

We suggest you place it near the southern window. Temperatures will not be a problem as long as they don’t exceed 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Don’t overwater them as it will cause root rot. For propagation, you may either use seeds or separate the chicks or baby plants.

Sempervivum Plants Care Guide

Growing Sempervivum is very easy because of its fewer demands. You have to make sure that the potting medium isn’t wet.

Houseleek plants can be grown in pots successfully, and they will be a great addition to your rock garden or in rock piles.

Let’s take a look at the requirements for growing Sempervivum succulents.

Light

Light for Sempervivum Plants

Sempervivum succulents need plenty of bright sunlight to grow. However, they can also thrive pretty well under the indirect sun.

Be careful about the light intensity during the summer months, especially when there is extreme heat.

During this period, you should keep them away from direct sunlight as it can burn the leaves.

If you plant them indoors, then you can move them according to the light and heat.

While growing indoors, if you notice that the plants are getting leggy or the colors are becoming dull, then you need to move them outdoors under the full sun.

If you grow them outdoors, then choose a spot that receives indirect but bright sun.

Temperature

Sempervivum succulent plants are heat-tolerant, but they really enjoy it when the temperatures range between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Although many of the sempervivum plants are frost-hardy, you should be careful during the winter months.

Water

While growing houseleek plants, you don’t have to worry about watering because these garden plants require very little water to thrive.

You only have to make sure that the growing medium doesn’t get waterlogged.

The rule of thumb is to make sure the soil is dry before watering.

Soil

Soil for Sempervivum Plants

Sempervivum plants prefer well-draining soil.

We suggest you use well-drained compost mixed with sandy soil.

You may also use a little organic material like coco peat or peat moss. Avoid using heavy clay soil for making the potting mix because clay soil has a higher water retention capacity than sandy soil.

The ideal potting mix for growing these garden plants is a cactus mix. You may prepare a cactus mix by mixing perlite, sand, and general garden soil with vermicompost.

All these materials will help you prepare a well-draining soil. A neutral pH is often suggested for growing Sempervivum.

Fertilizer

Sempervivums don’t need much fertilizer, if at all. They are quite hardy as they can survive well even if there are very few nutrients present in the soil.

You don’t have to think about supplying extra nutrients for a year after planting them.

If you think that they need nutrients, then you may supply organic fertilizers during the early spring, which is considered the growing season.

Remember that too much fertilization will damage their colorful foliage.

Propagation

Propagating Sempervivum Plants

Propagate houseleek plants by their cuttings or their offshoots (chicks).

Many gardeners have found it very enjoyable to propagate these hardy succulents.

It means that you can grow new plants from the mother succulents very easily.

The name, “Hens and Chicks,” tells you about its propagation. If you consider the mother plant as the hen, her babies will be the chicks.

The mother plants produce offsets from their long stolons (or horizontal stems). You may either leave these chicks or separate them.

If you decide to leave the chicks, they will root down naturally in the pot and produce offsets after a certain period of time.

In this process, they will fill the space and form a beautiful mat of attractive rosettes.

Common Problems with Sempervivum Plants

Sempervivum succulents have a few problems that are mainly caused by water issues.

Many gardeners often get confused about the problems and don’t understand what they should do.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common problems with these plants.

Leaves are falling off

Sempervivum succulents drop their leaves when there is too much water in the soil.

When the fallen leaves seem too soft, swollen, and mushy, you have to realize that you are giving too much water.

As soon as you notice this condition, stop watering and try to remove excess water from the potting mix.

Yellow leaves

Houseleek plant leaves may turn yellow either from watering issues or nutrient issues. Both underwatering and overwatering can cause this problem.

If you notice yellow leaves, check the soil moisture. If the soil looks too dry, then water immediately, and if the soil seems too soggy, then remove excess water.

Leaves may become yellow even when there is a lack of nutrients. If watering isn’t an issue, feed your plants with liquid fertilizer to fix the problem quickly.

Dark spots on the leaves

Dark spots appear when the sempervivum succulents are exposed to intense sunlight. In fact, dark spots are the result of sunburn.

It can be a common scenario during the summer months, especially when you keep these succulents in the direct sun for a prolonged period.

Move the plants to the shade to fix this problem.

FAQ

Are Sempervivum and Sedum Same?

No, sempervivum and sedum are two different plants. However, they are both succulents and belong to the Crassulaceae. Sedum (commonly known as stonecrop) is a flowering plant genus with succulent characteristics such as water-storing leaves and stems. Sedum is commonly used as a groundcover in green roofs and xeric gardens, where it will spread to fill the available space without becoming invasive or bothersome. Sempervivum (commonly known as hen-and-chicks), however, is a large group of hardy succulents that grow in a rosette-like formation. They always grow in a spiral pattern from the rosette’s center. They spread by producing “chicks,” which are attached to the mother hen by stolons and will eventually form a large colony. Sempervivum flowers are larger, and each bloom is a wide, flat-faced star that is usually borne in clusters.

Do Sempervivum plants grow fast?

Yes, Sempervivum succulents are fast growing as compared to other succulents. Because sempervivum plants are considered fast-growing plants, they are primarily used as a groundcover or even for roof cover plants. In addition, they don’t grow very large and are a good choice for all types of gardening.

Do Sempervivum succulents produce flowers?

All Sempervivum will bloom after many years. When you notice the central leaves starting to close, the main stem stretching out, or the primary rosette tilting, you should expect your sempervivum plant to begin to flower. Blooms on hens and chicks plants are one of the main reasons why gardeners plant these in their garden. The time of year blooming occurs most commonly in the summer or during long warm days with bright light. One sad part is that after blooming, these plants then die off; but don’t worry they spread through their ‘chicks’.

Can you take cuttings from sempervivum for propagation?

Yes, you can take cuttings from sempervivum plants to propagate them. In fact, stem cuttings are the best way to propagate sempervivum plants. Start by looking for rosettes that have roots formed on them instead of young chicks. The simplest way to be sure is to remove the plant from its container and shake off some of the soil, exposing the roots. This will help in determining which offshoot to cut.

Do Sempervivums spread?

Yes, Sempervivum plants spread. One of the advantages of sempervivum succulents is that a single plant can produce a large number of offsets. In an effort to spread, the plant may grow long stems for its offsets. Based on the type of hen and chick plant and the amount of space available, each rosette is a separate plant that is monocarpic, meaning that once it flowers, it will die. The good news, however, is that they are quickly replaced by new rosettes or offsets, known as chicks. These chicks can be detached and planted separately, where they will grow into new clusters.

Conclusion

To sum up, Sempervivum is indeed a wonderful genus that has many stunning succulents.

Each of these succulents comes with a unique appearance and color combination.

Besides, they need a little attention to grow. You have to maintain the light intensity and water. They can survive well, even under shade.

If these plants are planted in containers, make sure that the potting mix is well-drained.

As long as you can meet these requirements, Sempervivum succulents can be a great addition to your indoor garden.

References

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