Sempervivum Succulents “Houseleek”

Sempervivum succulents is the perfect plant for those looking for a unique beauty without any effort. 

Today we talk about its characteristics, cultivation, and care.

They are called Sempervivum or hens and chicks, because being evergreen plants, they keep their leaves in winter and are quite resistant to difficult conditions. 

Another reason why it is called “hens and chicks” is because this type of succulent plant has a central plant, and over time it has several children.

The most recognized species of evergreen are: The Sempervivum arachnoideum or evergreen spiders, The Sempervivum tectorum or siempreviva mayor, The Sempervivum calcaratum, The Sempervivum grandiflorum, The Sempervivum montanum, among others.

Characteristics of sempervivum:

Sempervivum are plants that form a fleshy rosette with hairs and oblong leaves with touches of green, purple or reddish colors.

One of the characteristics of the Sempervivum is the capacity it has to store water in its leaves, which allows them to live in sunny rocky places and alpine areas, without the need for so much irrigation.

The Sempervivum succulent, or houseleek, are plants very easy to grow and generous to make micro gardens or varied compositions, in small containers.

There are many varieties of evergreen and all are distinguished by having a central leaf rosette, which opens with ramifications, from which new little grandparents are emerging.

Sempervivum are plants with a timely flowering, which bloom in summer. 

In some varieties, pink-colored florets can leave the stem although other varieties generate many stems that extend the plant and give the central rosette a larger size.

After flowering, it is best to cut the stem of the flower from its base and thus we will be able to regenerate the plant itself.

The flowers can have different colors, white, yellow, pink, reddish and appear at the end of a long peduncle. 

After flowering, the plant dies, generating many new children, which will give continuity to the plant.

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The best-known types of Sempervivum

Sempervivum tectorum

Other names that Sempervivum tectorum receives are: Common Houseleek or Hens and Chicks

This species of Sempervivum, has its origin in the European mountainous areas, Alps, Pyrenees, Apennines, Balkans. 

In the Iberian Peninsula, it is widespread.

Sempervivum tectorum, is the best known, highly variable cultivated Sempervivum and will easily hybridize with many other species to obtain new varieties.

They vary mainly in rosette size, color, number and length of the leaves and length of the inflorescence. 

It is a succulent or succulent plant, which forms rosettes, about 15 to 30 cm wide and 20 to 30 high.

Its leaves are very green and the tips of these are purple, being the underside of the whitish leaves. 

The flowering is in the form of pink or reddish flowers with straight stems and 30 to 50 cm tall, which bloom in summer.

They have a perennial fibrous root and double rose flower-shaped root leaves. 

The Inflorescence, blooming, robust, an erect stem of 20-40 cm high, round, fleshy, with alternate thinner lanceolate leaves of a reddish color, in the branched upper part.

Sempervivum tectorum is doing very well, like almost all Sempervivum, in rockeries and planters. 

The flowering season is in summer, which lasts until the beginning of autumn. 

The rosette that bloomed then dies after sowing seeds.

They are very rustic in terms of care. 

They need full sun, resist frost and cold and the substrate can be poor in nutrient and organic matter.

Although the Sempervivum tectorum tolerates the shade, it is better to place it in a sunny place, although in warmer climates it needs protection, since it is not very tolerant of excessive heat and the sun can burn its leaves.

It requires a well-drained succulent substrate mixture. 

Outdoors it will spread through narrow places between rocky stones. 

It does not like the rich clay substrate, it prefers sandy soil with gravel, which adapts better to it.

They resist drought seasons well and require little watering, since as mentioned earlier, Sempervivum stores water in its leaves. 

For this reason, we must be careful when watering them, since the roots of the plant could rot.

During the growing season, the plants are watered and allowed to dry slightly before watering again.

Although they can withstand a lot of droughts, regular but moderate watering is better this season. 

And during the winter months, plants water very little.

It has good tolerance to frost, is resistant to at least -12 ° C or maybe something else.

To multiply the Sempervivum tectorum, the easiest thing is to separate the little children that are born from the mother plant.

Among the properties that we can find in this plant, it is recognized as an excellent anti-inflammatory, potent diuretic, excellent antiseptic and astringent. 

The application of this plant can be in different ways; both in the skin and poultice to disinfect and deflate wounds; as well as in the form of a natural drink by extracting its juice, or as an infusion and thus be able to carry out a healing process from the inside.

Sempervivum Arachnoideum

They receive this name, due to the typical characteristic of this species because of the fluff or hairiness, which in the form of a spider web grows around the rosette of leaves of the plant.

These villi can cover almost the entire plant. 

This hairiness forms in the center of the rosette, which is thrown outward as the leaves grow.

In open ground, the plant throws little children who end up colonizing all the land, as long as conditions permit. 

It grows very well in a rockery or stony soil. 

They bloom in summer, although their first flowering is late.

It is very simple in your needs. It does not need periodic watering, withstands the cold well and admits any substrate, however poor it may be. 

They are very rustic in terms of climate and soil richness.

Of course, you need good sun exposure and good drainage.

To multiply the Sempervivum arachnoideum, the easiest is to take advantage of the division of shoots of the mother plant.

Acting carefully and making clean cuts. 

The best time is the vegetative rest in winter.

Sempervivum calcareum

It is a small, perennial and attractive plant for its symmetrical rosettes, elongated leaves. They are mostly green and the apexes of the leaves are purple, both the front and the underside of the leaves.

Sempervivum calcareum usually reaches about 8 cm high and about 8 to 12 cm in diameter.

They are unique flowering plants in their life and occur after long years of waiting. 

Its flowers are star-shaped, with different colors, yellow, reddish and pink, with pink being the most common.

They are very easy plants to grow and keep healthy.

For this, we must have them located in an area where they receive good light, bone, full sun, and good aeration. 

It can withstand cold climates and high temperatures. 

The ideal temperature to develop properly is between 20 and 30º C.

It feeds on less demanding substrates, but they must be permeable, that is, with good drainage and containing sand and small rocks of various sizes, to facilitate even more drainage of excess water.

They require little irrigation and it is important to wait for the substrate to be completely dry before doing the next irrigation. 

You should avoid waterlogging to prevent the plant from rotting.

To reproduce the Sempervivum calcareum, you just have to separate the youngsters from the mother plant and root them in another pot.

Sempervivum montanum

Sempervivum montanum is a perennial, herbaceous, cespitose plant with stolons that reproduce daughter rosettes, which belongs to the family of the Crassulaceae. 

Its leaves are oval or elliptical, hairy, matte green, with 2-4 cm rosettes, with a peculiar resin smell.

Its flowers are star-shaped, approximately 2 – 3 cm, the petals are purple-red with an acute apex. 

They bloom in summer seasons and these plants die when they bloom.

Sempervivum soboliferum

Sempervivum soboliferum or Jupiter’s Beard are perennials that form rosettes of succulent leaves that often spread quickly to form mats. 

Its leaves have a red-brown tip, and the flowers of the plant are greenish-white, and their stems can reach up to 12 cm. stems

Each rosette is asexually propagated by lateral rosettes or offsets. 

Usually, each plant grows for several years before its first flowering. 

The color of the flowers is reddish, yellowish, pink or they can even be white, although very unusual.

These flowers are star-shaped and have more than six petals. 

After flowering, the plant dies, but do not worry, since generally, the plant leaves many compensations (sprouts or little children) that it has produced during its life.

Sempervivum minutum

Sempervivum minutum is a perennial, herbaceous plant, belonging to the family of the Crassulaceae. 

This plant forms rosettes of approximately 2-5 cm in diameter, its leaves are extended, slightly flattened, and green in color. 

Its flowering stems measure approximately 5-15 cm, are erect, fleshy, thick, and reddish-colored stems.

It’s very showy flowers, 15-25 mm in diameter, pink or purple. 

Sempervivum minutum flowers from July to August. 

This plant is very beautiful, and it is a spectacle when it is flowered. 

Sempervivum minutum is usually found in dry and sunny rocks, also in the fields and mountain rocky.

Sempervivum Braunii

Sempervivum Braunii is a Hen and Chicks classic. 

These plants are green with some reddish accents in the spring. 

Its flowers are a pink shade during the summer months. It has a high production of very small rosettes (chicks or little grandparents). 

The chicks grow tight to the hen (the main plant) throughout the summer and fall. 

The average size of the Sempervivum Braunii is approximately 3 inches in diameter.

They grow in full sun or partial shade, and bloom in early summer or late autumn, although in some occasions the plant may take a few years, before its first flowering.

Tips to take care of the Sempervivum succulents

Substratum

Sempervivum thrives in poor soils. 

They don’t even need almost any land to live. 

I’ve seen them grow in cracks and rocky walls.

To cultivate this succulent plant, a very well-drained soil must be used, either in the form of sandy soil, sand or rocks. It is very important to have good drainage because succulents are very susceptible to excess water and moisture. 

For this reason despite the fact that the substrate does not have to have any kind of nutrients, if it must have good drainage, to prevent the roots of the plant from rotting or even the plant dying.

Illumination

Sempervivum can grow in a wide range of climates, provided they have sown in full sun or a bright place. 

They can tolerate light shadow, but not in deep shadow. 

Even though the plant tolerates full sun, it is important to take care of the sempervivum from the excessive sun to prevent the leaves of the plant from dying.

Some varieties of the sempervivum can vary in their colors, depending on the amount of sun they receive, for example in the shade they can have a light green color.

Irrigation

Inside: As we mentioned earlier, Sempervivum accumulate water in its leaves, for this reason, they do not need very constant irrigation, but still need water to thrive. 

To water the plant just let the soil dry completely between irrigation and irrigation.

Water them more frequently during the heat of summer, but don’t water them too much. 

If you see that your plants begin to have problems, make sure that the soil drainage is good and reduces irrigation. 

When the plant is inside it does not need so much irrigation, because the substrate takes longer to dry compared to if it were outside.

For this reason, you should make sure that the pot where you plant your Sempervivum ensures that the pot has a drain hole so that the substrate can remove excess water. 

And you must reduce watering in winter.

Outside: If Sempervivum is in full sun the plant must receive the necessary amount of water since the substrate dries much faster. 

But as if it were inside, you must wait for the substrate to be dry between irrigation and irrigation, and reduce irrigation during winter times.

Fertilizer

They do not need to be fertilized, but if you want to do it, you can feed the substrate with worm humus once or twice a year. 

But do not use compost. In case you choose to use a liquid fertilizer, use ¼ part of the dose recommended by the manufacturer.

Transplant

If you want to transplant your Sempervivum, you must remove the Sempervivum from its pot and plant it in a new, larger pot.

If you do the transplant the best time to do it is in spring or autumn.

Plagues and diseases

Sempervivum is frequently attacked by mealybugs (the cottony one is the most common), mites, aphids, and snails. 

All these pests cause wilting of the leaves and wounds on leaves and stems that allow the proliferation of lethal pathogenic fungi.

Another very common disease of Sempervivum is rot due to excess irrigation. That is why it is better to have a shortage of water, and not an excess of it.

Propagation

Sempervivum succulents can be easily propagated by division. Just follow the following steps and tips;

  • Spread them in spring or early summer. In hot climates, you can propagate them at any time of the year.
  • Choose the cuttings you want to propagate. And let them rest for a couple of days before planting them.
  • Place each cut in its own pot on top of the substrate. The substrate must be special for cacti and succulents. And in a short time, it will start to take root.
  • Make sure each propagation pot has at least one drain hole at the bottom.
  • They can be grown in a slightly shaded section until the plant is established.

 Once established roots can be planted or placed in full sun.

  • Water the cuttings with an atomizer without overwatering. Once the plant has grown, water with a hose and not with an atomizer.

Seed Propagation

The seeds can also be sown in early spring, where they will usually germinate in two to six weeks.

  • Place the seeds in 2-inch pots. Just press them on the floor. Don’t bury it much in the substrate
  • The seeds need filtered light to germinate (not direct sun, it can be in semi shade or in an area that is illuminated but does not receive direct sunlight) and temperatures of at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 ° C).
  • Water the seeds with an atomizer without over watering. Once the plant has grown, water with a hose and not with an atomizer.

Benefits of the Sempervivum Suculents

Although the main use of this plant is ornamental, it also has certain medicinal powers, for example, it contains flavonoids, tannins, resins, alkaloids and mucilages, organic acids, so it is anti-inflammatory, compromising, diuretic, antiseptic, astringent and Emollient, it can be used both internally through leaf juice or its infusion and externally with baths, washes, and poultices.

Among its benefits are:

Treat and prevent kidney stones

This is undoubtedly an excellent remedy to treat kidney stones, thanks to its diuretic and the emollient effect it is possible to increase urine production by facilitating the expulsion of kidney stones.

Acne and skin improvement

Due to the healing and healing potential of Sempervivum on the skin, it allows the removal of acne, blackheads, and impurities in the skin, as well as ulcers, bites, scars and also softens it leaving it completely fresh due to its tissue repair effect. 

Reduce inflammation of the colon and intestine

Its astringent, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic effect can help in different ways to improve bowel health; It deflates the colon and intestine, eliminates pathogens from the body and prevents diarrhea, so it becomes a great natural remedy to take care of bowel health.

Reduce menstruation symptoms

Sempervivum is effective in reducing the pain or symptoms caused by menstruation in women, thus being an excellent way to combat the symptoms of amenorrhea and dysmenorrhea, that is, regulates the menstrual cycle.

Remedy for otitis

Given its high anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial power, it can help eliminate ear infections such as otitis.

Remove warts

To eliminate warts on the skin is an effective natural remedy, a lot of people have managed to eliminate warts from the skin quickly thanks to this plant.

Sempervivum oil

Sempervivum succulents provide many exceptional qualities. One of these qualities is essential oils.

This essential oil can be used to combat stress or to get rid of anger. 

The Sempervivum can be used at night to relax and so you can sleep more calmly since it will act effectively while you are sleeping.

Side effects

Among the side effects that can be generated by the use of the Sempervivum plant, are diarrhea and polyuria. 

Similarly, the oil of this plant is not recommended for internal use, as it can be toxic and in the case of using it externally it is not recommended to use it directly, it is better to mix it with other oils.

People who suffer from allergies or diseases such as diabetes should avoid consuming Sempervivum. 

This plant is also not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women, so if you are a woman and you are in this process, avoid consuming the sempervivum.

Conclusion

In this article, we only name the best known Sempervivum, but there are more of them. 

All these Sempervivum species are beautiful and different, which will add a very elegant and different touch to your plant collection and your home.

These plants are not only beautiful, but they are easy to care for and unlike other succulents, the Sempervivum is very cold-resistant, do not require many carers, and practically this type of plant propagates on its own, as they produce many young grandparents. 

And for this reason they are called Hen and Chicks, Hen has been the mother plant, and the Chicks are the suckers that make up the plant.

Although Sempervivum has medicinal uses, you must consult your doctor before ingesting or putting on any wound, any home remedy made by Sempervivum.