Today, March 19, is National Poultry Day! While some people may be celebrating this holiday by cooking delicious chicken and turkey recipes, vegetarians can plant a hens and chicks plant!
Hens and chicks (sempervivum) is a perennial succulent native to southern Europe, North America and western Asia with more than 60 different varieties. Sizes and shapes will vary. They can range from 10 cm to These rosette-shaped succulents come in shades of green, red, pink, yellow or grey. In addition, they will also produce attractive blooms.
These plants are available in your local garden center from spring until fall. Hens and chicks have been a longtime favourite with gardeners because they one of the easiest plants to grow; it’s low-maintenance, hardy and extremely drought tolerant! Even those with “brown thumbs” can grow this!
These low-growing perennials will spread to fill bare spots in the garden, which makes them perfect as ground covers. They also look excellent in rock gardens. Hens and chicks also grow beautifully in containers. Add a bit of colour to your decks, patios, balconies and other outdoor spaces! Where ever you choose to plant hens and chicks, they will add texture, colour and interest to your landscape.
Here are some tips to growing hens and chicks:
- Well-drained soil is a must; add soil or gravel to help with drainage
- Hens and chicks can survive in the shade; but to bring out the vibrant colours of the plant, plant in full sun
- Water sparingly; in the spring and summer, water only when dry. In the winter, the plant goes dormant and doesn’t require much water. Over watering is one of the main issues the plant may not survive.
- The name hens and chicks comes from the fact that the plant is easy to propagate. The mother plant, the hen will produce numerous offshoots and cluster around the base, like chicks. The offshoots can be re-potted or left alone to grow a cluster.
- It’s best to re-pot during the warm season; make sure soil is dry before re-potting
- They do well in climate zones: 4-8
Fun Facts about Hens and Chicks Plant:
- Other names include: semps, houseleeks
- It is considered a safe plant for cats and dogs
- the genus name sempervivum means “live forever”
- Hens and chicks will change colours over the course of the season
Happy National Poultry Day!