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Sempervivum globiferum (Rolling Hen and Chicks)


Scientific Name

Sempervivum globiferum L.

Common Names

Rolling Hen and Chicks


Diopogon globifer, Diopogon hirtus subsp. borealis, Jovibarba globifera, Jovibarba hirta subsp. borealis, Jovibarba sobolifera, Sedum soboliferum, Sempervivum soboliferum

Scientific Classification

Family: Crassulaceae
Subfamily: Sedoideae
Tribe: Sedeae
Subtribe: Sedinae
Genus: Sempervivum


Sempervivum globiferum, also known as Jovibarba globifera, is a succulent perennial with a hemispherical rosettes of leaves up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) long and a flower stem up to 8 inches (20 cm) tall. Rosette leaf blades are fleshy, spatulate, curved, with entire margin, usually with reddish-brown tips, while stem leaf blades are ovate. Flowers are with 6 petals, pale greenish-yellow or yellow, up to 0.4 inch (1 cm) across and appear in summer. It produces small, globe-shaped offsets that are lightly attached and easily pop off and roll away from the mother plant. Offsets survive the main rosette, which is monocarpic.

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USDA hardiness zones 4a to 10b: from −30 °F (−34.4 °C) to 40 °F (+4.4 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Sempervivums 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.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Sempervivum.


Sempervivum globiferum is native to eastern and southern Alps, the Carpathians and the western Balkans south to northern Albania.

Subspecies, Varieties, Forms, Cultivars and Hybrids


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