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Sempervivum calcareum (Houseleek)

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Scientific Name

Sempervivum calcareum Jord.

Common Names

Houseleek, Hen and Chickens, Old Man and Woman, Roof House Leek

Synonyms

Sempervivum tectorum var. calcareum

Scientific Classification

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

Description

Sempervivium calcareum is a succulent perennial plant, up to 6 inches (15 cm) tall. The symmetrical, dome-shaped rosettes of this hardy perennial are densely packed with numerous pale green, blue-tinged, tongue-shaped leaves with pointed, often maroon-stained tips. The rosettes multiply via short-stalked offsets to form dense mats. In summer, some older rosettes bear clusters of starry, yellow-eyed, pale pink blooms on thick stalks with clasping scale-like leaves. Rosettes that flower die soon thereafter.

Photo via wikimedia.org

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.

Origin

Native to the Southwest Alps.

Subspecies, Varieties, Forms, Cultivars and Hybrids

Links

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