Sempervivum - How to Remake Your Hens and Chicks

I have over 160 different named varieties of Sempervivum, and about once a year, I have to go through and remake them. What does this mean, you ask?
This is when I go through each type, and make sure I don't have any grave jumpers (those are when a chick lands in a neighboring pot, and could be mistakenly grown as that variety, if the grower isn't careful to keep them from jumping).
I also get rid of any that are too big and will most likely start to flower next spring before they produce chicks. I might use these for a craft, or in some cases, send them off in the mail as wedding favors to customers.
As Sempervivum usually only live two to three years, then flower, you're best to keep only the younger plants that will most likely produce chicks for another year before flowering.
I decided this year that growing them in shallow kraft paper pans would be better than trying to keep a multitude of different sized round pots in flats. I am so glad I broke down and did this - it will make it so much easier to keep track of them.
So here's my procedure;
  • Director Jacobs is one lovely variety that I remade about three weeks ago.
  • Here's what I do; the bowl has diatomaceous earth in it to get any creepy crawlies that might be on the plants; the scissors get a regular dipping in the isoproply alcohol to make sure I'm not transferring any bacteria or viruses.
  • I write a new label with industrial Sharpie pen; there is nothing more frustrating than trying to figure out what the faded label says - now I also make two labels for each type, just in case one gets lost.
  • The snipped off rosettes get thoroughly coated with the diatomaceous earth - just like shake and bake chicken...
  • The rosettes are just set on the top of the soil in the pan, and left to acclimate to their new (rootless) situation - I don't water immediately, to give them a chance to callous and heal over. This prevents rotting.
  • The Nursery - I'm about halfway through the Sempervivum renovation for this year; there is a bit of a time crunch now, because they're best done before the end of August so they have time to root before winter sets in.
  • Any left over get planted into the beds - the

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  • Marc
    Marc San Luis Obispo, CA
    I do well here in coastal California with propagating hen and chicks and aeoniums, but the simple burro tail has me stumped! I see photos of simply placing the little sections on the soil, where they miraculously root and grow. Not mine. Does anyone
    • Drought Smart Plants
      Marc They have to be dry - just let them fall, or scatter them, and they'll grow - you'll end up cursing them! Don't over water - that is the best way to kill them.
  • Marc
    Marc San Luis Obispo, CA
    Thank you. You may have nailed my problem - I've been adding little bits of water every day like an over-anxious mother. :)
  • SweetPea Paula
    SweetPea Paula Lynchburg, VA
    Wow! That's a lot of work! I would love to visit your nursery.
  • All About Rose Gardening
    All About Rose Gardening Hubbardston, MA
    I'm learning so much! Unlike my roses that I have to keep watered, these like it dry. Guess I'll stop watering them so much! And I didn't know you could just snip the top off, and (plant) it without roots! Thanks 30 results are available, use up and down
  • Carol Speake - The Gardening Cook
    Love succulents! Thanks for the info Jacki.
Drought Smart Plants

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