Sempervivum ‘Silver King’
Hens and Chicks, Houseleek
Sempervivum ‘Silver King’ is one of many outstanding hybrid Sempervivums deriving from alpine species native to the mountains of southern Europe and western Asia. With its symmetrical, up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter, evergreen rosettes of fleshy silvery-tinged mint green leaves, it is a garden jewel. The rosettes develop by short-stalked offsets into crowded, colorful, richly textured mats. The leaves often intensify in color in cold weather, their strong red-purple centers contrastingly boldly with frost and snow. In summer the older rosettes send out thick erect stems bristling with scaly leaves and topped with clusters of small pink blooms. Rosettes die after flowering.
How to Grow and Care
Sempervivum are not difficult to grow, provided they are not waterlogged and killed from excess watering. They can be easily grown outdoors and in containers, and they earned the name “Houseleeks” from their tendency to root on the roofs of houses. After the mother plant flowers, it will naturally die, but by this time, the plant has likely produced many offsets that will continue to grow. These are excellent for cold windows. Sempervivum earned their popular name “Hen and Chicks” from their growth habit. The mother plant, or hen, sends off numerous offsets, which will cluster around her base like chicks. These offsets can be easily repotted, or the plants can be left to form a clumping mat.
Repot as needed, preferably during the warm season. To repot a succulent, make sure the soil is dry before repotting, then gently remove the pot. Knock away the old soil from the roots, making sure to remove any rotted or dead roots in the process. Treat any cuts with a fungicide. Place the plant in its new pot and backfill with potting soil, spreading the roots out as you repot. Leave the plant dry for a week or so, then begin to water lightly to reduce the risk of root rot… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Sempervivum.
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