Hens and chicks are beautiful succulent plants that can be grown both indoors and outdoors. In fact, they are considered great plants for containers. You can place them anywhere inside your home to add to your home décor. Hens and chicks produce a cluster of rosettes, which are basically a circular arrangement of leaves or something similar to leaves. The parent rosette is called hens, while the smaller rosettes produced from them are called chicks. You can let the plants grow together as a crowd or pull off the chicks to replant them somewhere else. These plants are quite easy for you to grow, and without much effort, they grow sublimely. If you are interested in knowing more about them, then delve below to our complete guide on growing hens and chicks.
How To Grow Hens And Chicks
Hens and chicks are also called sempervivum plants, which means “live forever,” because they propagate and grow so readily. As already mentioned, you can grow them both indoors and outdoors without any hassle. A hen and chick plant features mother plants called large rosettes, which produces around her smaller rosettes called chicks. She is able to produce around four rosettes over a year. Through an underground vine, the chick plants are attached to the mother plants.
These are a low-growing perennial plant that will quickly grow to 2 feet in width or more through self-propagation or propagation. They have a medium growth rate and are best for planting in spring. However, if you are planning to grow them from seed, you may want to start them in pots in the fall season so that they become ready to be planted in the spring in your garden.
Given below are some simple steps that need to be followed to plant hens and chicks if you have bought them from a nursery or other place as a plant.
- Choose the best spot- First, you need to pick a spot where you are going to plant your hens and chicks. Are you planning to bury them straight in the ground or use a planter? If you are planning to plant hens and chicks in your garden, then you should pick a spot where there is appropriate sunlight.
- Fill the area with well-drained soil- Once you have chosen the location, the next step is to mix some well-drained soil. These succulents prefer inorganic materials such as sand, clays, and rock. They are drought-tolerant and simple to care for.
- Plant hen and chicks succulents- When you want to plant hens and chicks, dig a deep hole where the plant with its roots can be fitted into. Place it inside the hole and cover the roots well. Pat the soil down tightly around the plant and make sure every root is rightly covered. Also, wait for a week or more to water these plants as this will allow the roots to heal from any damage.
These hens spread through underground roots and produce four chicks per growing season. They are also referred to as offsets and can be pulled out to be re-planted at any other place. Typically the hens grow in summer and will die after flowering. You can remove the dead hen and check the growing conditions as flowering is usually considered a sign of poorer care.
Growing Them In Seeds
It is also possible to grow hens and chicks from seeds. If you are planning to grow in a large area, sprinkle their seeds on soil top or in a gravel mix. They need light to grow and keep them moist, not wet. Basically, the seed will sprout within three weeks’ time, and after which you need to add some mulch and fine gravel.
Growing Them In Pots
Hens and chicks can be effortlessly planted in pots that are wider, long, or shallow containers. Unlike other plants, its root does not grow enormously, but the chicks do need some space for spreading. To begin, you can start with a pot that is a few inches larger than the ones in which hens and chicks come, or you can plant them in teacups, clamshells, or strawberry jars.
First, you need to place regular potting soil or mix specifically used for cactus and succulents soil, which is even better. Make sure that your container has enough holes in the water as these succulents need good drainage. Next, you need to place the plant inside the pot. Now you can either use the seed or the whole plant that you bought from the nursery, or even the chick plant. After placing the hens and chick in their place, you need to keep them in a space where they get regular sunlight for growth. Also, you need to water them only after the soil has dried.
How To Care For Hens And Chicks
While planning hens and chicks, you need to ensure the following growth conditions.
- Soil- It is crucial that you place all your plants in well-drained soil; otherwise, their growth can get hampered mid-way only. If your hens and chicks are wet, they may start to attract insects, get mushy leaves, or die from rot. You definitely don’t want your effort to go in vain. Therefore, it is best if you plant them, as we have already said, in succulent or cactus soil. This soil will prevent them from sitting in excess water and having a mistime end. Plus, this soil contains porous materials such as pumice and perlite that improves drainage and helps in keeping your plant dry.
- Water- Water is another important thing that your plants require to grow in a good manner. When it comes to hens and chicks, it is best to water them every two weeks and more if you start seeing dry or wrinkle leaves. By doing this, your hens and chicks will develop a healthy and proper root system as its roots will grow deeper when it searches the soil for extra water. Remember, before you water your hens and chicks again, make sure their soil has dried out completely.
- Light- These plants require partial to full sunshade to grow evenly and nicely. They have fleshy leaves that can burn during the hot season, so if you have planted them outdoors, watch out for signs such as brown, crispy, or faded leaves. You can further cover them with some cloth on hot or cooler days to prevent damage.
- Temperature and climate- Hens and chicks are considered cold-hardy plants that means they can survive in low-freezing temperatures. Even if the temperature drops below negative 40 degrees, this plant will still be fine. A lot of other plants can’t handle this kind of temperature. However, the best temperature for hens and chicks is between 65 and 75 degrees.
- Fertilizer- A great thing about this plant is that it can survive in the nutritionally impoverished ground, so it’s not necessary to fertilize them. However, you will definitely want your plant to grow quickly and look vibrant; therefore, you should fertilize them once a month or two months during spring and summer. The best fertilizer for this plant is a water-soluble, low-balanced fertilizer as they are milder and won’t burn out the leaves of your plant. Also, use less fertilizer even if you are using a milder one, as hens and chicks don’t require much fertilizer.
How To Propagate Hens And Chicks
Each mother hen produces at least four rosettes during the growing season, and they will grow up to become hens. You can allow the hens and chicks plant to grow until your garden becomes overcrowded. After that, you can transplant them into a new space of your choice. For this, you need to gently pull the chick plant out of the soil.
To complete this task in a good manner without spoiling the plant, you can use a sharp scissor or garden shear or even a knife. Make sure whatever object you use is clean. Trim the stem that connects the chick to the mother hen from both ends. After you get the chick plant, you can take them to the desired location for the plantation and follow the necessary steps for their growth.
If you are someone who enjoys gardening, planting hens and chicks can be a super fun activity. Whether you want to grow something unique and different in your garden or add something to your home décor, these types of plants can provide everything.
The Best Plants
Hens and chicks are considered one of the best plants to add to your outdoor garden or to your indoor plants. They are beautiful flower plants whose foliage is red, green, blue, gold, or a mixture of colors that enhances the attractiveness of your garden as well as your home. Plus, you do not need to put much effort into the growth of this kind of plant as they require limited things. It does not matter if you are a beginner or an expert in gardening, as anyone can grow and take care of hen and chick plants.
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