Houseleek, Hens and Chicks
Cacti and succulents, Perennials
Native to the mountains of Europe. Known for their tightly packed rosettes of fleshy, evergreen leaves, these spread by little offsets that cluster around a parent rosette (thus “hens and chicks”). Clustered, star-shaped summer flowers in white, yellowish, pink, red, or greenish; pretty in detail but not showy. Blooming rosettes die after setting seed, but offsets (easily detached and replanted) carry on. There are many species, all good in rock gardens, containers, even in pockets in boulders or pieces of porous rock. Need excellent drainage. Water only to prevent shriveling. Protect from full sun in hot desert regions.Sempervivum arachnoideum
Gray-green rosettes of many leaves are joined by fine hairs for a cobweb-covered look. Larger rosettes (to 3 in. wide) are surrounded by a host of smaller rosettes. Spreads slowly to make a dense mat to 1 ft. or wider. Bright red flowers on 4–6-in. stems. ‘Cebenese’ has cobwebby green leaves with burgundy tips; ‘Cobweb Buttons’ is covered with perfect geometric web patterns.
Gray-green, 2–5-in.-wide rosettes spread quickly to form clumps to 2 ft. or wider. Leaves have red-brown, bristly tips. Red or reddish blossoms are borne on stems to 2 ft. tall. Colored-leaf varieties in red, purple, chartreuse, and silvery blue are available.
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