There are two different scenarios for cold-hardy succulents like Sempervivum planted outside. They are either in the ground or in pots. Your care for them might change depending on where your plants are.
In the Ground
Sempervivums, commonly known as Hens and Chicks, are native to exposed rocky mountain slopes. They can take freezing temperatures. Most will do fine even in temperatures that plummet down to -30 °F (-35 °C); if there is a blanket of snow covering the plants, even better! The snow will actually help to insulate the succulents from colder air temperatures and winds.
What is actually more likely than cold to cause your plants distress is rain. It all comes back to succulents not liking their roots to soak. One solution that people often use is to cover their plants with plastic during the rainy months: corrugated plastic, transparent plastic sheets, anything to keep the rain from soaking plants. But, of course, this is only practical if you only have a small patch of plants.
Most of the time, if your plants are in the ground, you just let them ride out in the winter and expect the best. After all, you did plant them in great draining soil, right?
Plants in Pots
A planter full of Sempervivum is a horse of a different color. Well, maybe not a different color, but a different shade of the same color at least. The soil in planters will heat up and cool more quickly than ground soil. In areas with more harsh winters, the plants may appreciate a little extra care. However, nothing extreme is needed typically. Here are five winter protection ideas for planters with Sempervivums:
- Lower raised planters to the ground to help reduce temperature swings.
- Move pots close to the house (it is warmer, and the eaves will give rain protection).
- Make sure the pots get as much sun exposure as possible.
- Surround pots with straw bales or bags of leaves.
- Cover your Sempervivum planters with a plant blanket (sold to cover early vegetable crops).
Your Sempervivums do not need any extra winter care most of the time. The best protection you can give your plants is what you did when you planted them, good soil drainage, good light exposure, and a good inert mulch.
- Back to genus Sempervivum
- Succupedia: Browse succulents by Scientific Name, Common Name, Genus, Family, USDA Hardiness Zone, Origin, or cacti by Genus