Asked on Jan 01, 2014

Hens and chicks

by Patricia
Has anyone else had this happen to Hens and chicks before? What is it doing ?
  27 answers
  • Jamie Harvill Jamie Harvill on Jan 01, 2014
    They have matured and came to the end of their life cycle. They will form a flower and die.
  • Carole Carole on Jan 01, 2014
    They need very good drainage. Are there holes in the bottom of that little bucket? They should be able to put out pups and keep going, these look a little wilted.
  • Jamie Harvill Jamie Harvill on Jan 01, 2014
    If they are shoots coming off one plant then they are unhealthy because they shouldn't look like this. Carole is right they need good drainage and they are under some kind of stress. They should look like the mother plant which is why they are called Hens and Chicks and you should be able to replant them to grow larger like the mother. If they are individual plants they look like they are maturing because they will grow long and upright after several years.
  • Carole Carole on Jan 02, 2014
    If this plant or plants look like they are dying, then pull off as cleanly as you can at the base of the leaf, any leaves that still look OK. Let them dry out for about a week or more. You will then notice some tiny roots start to grow and then the leaf will produce a tiny rosette. When this happens, lay them loosely onto some succulent and cacti potting mix (this has good drainage - loamy soil is no good for them). Don't water till they look like they are establishing some roots into the soil, then water sparingly about once per week. You may be able to salvage some new plants this way if it looks like you might lose them.
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Jan 02, 2014
    Yes, happened to mine! We had excessive rain this year and I wonder if that had anything to do with it?
  • Janet Mitchell Janet Mitchell on Jan 02, 2014
    they look like they didn't get enough light
  • Tammy@Deja Vue Designs Tammy@Deja Vue Designs on Jan 03, 2014
    Yeah. ..That looks like a lighting issue to me. The rain inadvertently may have caused it... Just because of the lack of sunshine.
  • Tudyrunningwater Tudyrunningwater on Jan 03, 2014
    all good advice, but give them more surface dirt to grow on
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jan 03, 2014
    I am tagging our resident succulent expert, @Drought Smart Plants.
  • Tina Gatson Tina Gatson on Jan 03, 2014
    Like Jamie said, they do this and then die off. I have had some that will go straight up and then flower and then die off. It's pretty cool.
  • Sonali Mishra Sonali Mishra on Jan 03, 2014
    Definitely insufficient light! They dont need more surface area, just 6-8 hrs of strong sunlight. That will bring out the beautiful colours you were expecting when you planted them. Also, less watering will help stress them and help to bring out the lovely succulent colours.
    • Pat Koltz Pat Koltz on Jan 03, 2014
      @Sonali Mishra I agree, not enough light. They are stretching toward a light source get more. During the winter months in WI, our winters can get very cold and daylight hours very short. I have my succulents on a separate table with two lamps equipped with gro lights, focused on the succulents for at least 12 hrs per day. During the summer, my winter hardy succulents including hen & chicks do stretch, then flower, die and fall off leaving lots of chicks to do the same.
  • Susan Cryor Susan Cryor on Jan 03, 2014
    larger container? Root bound?
  • Atira Atira on Jan 03, 2014
    Mine are out in the flowerbed and do the same thing from the original plant and have for the past 3yrs...the result of mine doing it is that I sometimes get small flowers on them and a whole lot of little plants...they drop off or the "branch" hits the ground and they take root...I started out with a 3inch across hen 4yrs ago...I now have a 16sq.ft. area of hens and chicks...So I see nothing wrong...but watch out for them being potbound which will cause them to die and go easy on the watering...good luck...
    • See 2 previous
    • Linda Linda on Nov 22, 2014
      @Ann Mitchell Hi Ann. I live in Ontario Canada and leave my succulents outside all winter and they survive. Hens and chickens can take freezing temperatures but succulents can't.
  • Marilee H Marilee H on Jan 03, 2014
    Mine do this when I bring them in for the winter - they don't get enough light. I think Drought Smart Plants has a tutorial on how to revive plants that get leggy like this.
  • Drought Smart Plants Drought Smart Plants on Jan 03, 2014
    Unfortunately although these are stretching for the light, they'll never get their usual flat compact shape back even if you do give them more. I might try and revive these by dumping them out into a pile of rocks, for the drainage, and then put them on ignore. Eventually, they might start to look more like what you might see in the mountains. They need to be abused - there, I've said it. They hate to be coddled and fussed over and given the wrong kind of soil. They resent anything other than to be left alone to grow as they prefer; bright light (not shade), and be exposed to the elements. They can't grow indoors - no matter how much light you give them; they need a winter cold dormancy to be at their best. Don't be too kind to them, or this is what you get. You might be interested in my post here;
  • Cat M Cat M on Jan 03, 2014
    they are root bound, they need to be in a bigger planter and with plenty of drainage..
  • Brenda Cantrell Brenda Cantrell on Jan 03, 2014
    take them down to leaves and root the tops cutting them in pieces
  • There are 100’s of different varieties of Hens & Chicks.Not knowing what kind this one is it may be hard to give a good answer. Somevarieties will have very different growing habit & form. However, I wouldsay that if this plant is indoors it certainly isn’t getting enough direct sunlight & probably too much water. I don’t mean just light near a window.They need direct sun & almost no water. There is no real need to bring theminside for the winter. We have 100 of these plants growing in our Gardens &Arboretum & they withstand our -30 F below zero temps just fine, even in unprotectedcontainers. These 2 boots have been sitting outside for 10 yrs. 365 days a yr.In the summer they get 10 to 12 hours of direct sunlight. The upright flowerstalks you see are 12” tall or more. We do not cover these plants in any wayduring the winter.
  • Click on photo for more info.
  • Glenna Kennedy Glenna Kennedy on Jan 03, 2014
    Ok I have hens n chicks all over in different gardens. Some are even in the shade and they all do well. They are drought tolerant, sun tolerant and even shade tolerant but most do not like to be over watered. When mine get older they send out these shoots from the center, sometimes with a flower on the end. Then that part of the plant dies off and I dig out and replant the newbies. When they get overcrowded as in those pots they also send out those middle shoots. To me it's a survival thing...old plants dying off and sending out new sprouts to be replanted or overcrowded plants needing repotted.
    • Sulah Sulah on Nov 22, 2014
      @Glenna Kennedy Yes, too much water and not enough strong light......good news is there are many new plant starters......
  • Sherry Sherry on Jan 03, 2014
    It's called a rooster and is usually caused by being to wet and not enough light. Will usually die.
  • Rebecca Duff Rebecca Duff on Jan 05, 2014
    Mine have done this and died as well. Mine are everywhere so I'm not sure about the light being the main issue. However, I have learned with these succulents too much water causes all kinds of problems, even when transplanting babies.I have had success by cutting the top off leaving only 3-4 leaves and stripping the others off about 1/2 inch down the stalk. Let it dry out well then cover in rooting hormone and stick in finger-size hole.New plants may emerge, and it may continue to die...with me it's been a 50/50 thing. Good Luck!!
  • Atira Atira on Jan 06, 2014
    They die back some here in the southern part of Ohio depending on the winters, but they start greening up in the spring along with these one cactus which I have out in the flowerbed (can't remember the type but it has really beautiful flowers and I also have Yuccas which were originally from my great grandmother's garden. But my hens and chicks like living in the front flowerbed and I haven't lost any of them yet...I just let the chicks spread throughout the garden with the original 3 hens in a plastic flowerpot which is sunk into the ground.
  • KathrynElizabeth Etier KathrynElizabeth Etier on Mar 10, 2014
    I'm so glad you asked this question because I've got the same thing happen. We get very little sunlight in the house and my succulents are in the sunniest spot, but that's not saying much. I just hope they last til after blackberry winter hits.
  • Penny Penny on Mar 10, 2014
    i live in upstate ny....i have always planted hens and chicks in my garden....they are a plant that spreads....that's what those long stems are doing...looking for a place to sit and root in the dirt....we get buried in snow every winter that lasts for quite a while and i am always surprised when the snow melts in the spring and my chicks and hens are still there and in great shape....
  • Cyndi Neumann Cyndi Neumann on Mar 11, 2014
    I need to get some of these! I love them! Smiles, Cyndi
  • Susan Susan on Mar 31, 2014
    When mine do this I notice they are in too much shade. Keep us posted.