Hens and Chicks Plant Care

The Hens and Chicks plant, known scientifically as Sempervivum tectorum, is a resilient succulent that’s renowned for its easy care and unique rosette shapes. Its whimsical name comes from the way the mother plant, or “hen,” spawns smaller rosettes, or “chicks,” creating a delightful cluster of foliage. Perfect for beginners, this plant thrives with minimal attention and is suited for various conditions, making it a charming addition to any garden or home.

Scientific Classification

The Hens and Chicks plant belongs to a group that scientists organize by certain traits. Here’s how they classify it:

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Phylum: Tracheophyta
  • Class: Magnoliopsida
  • Order: Saxifragales
  • Family: Crassulaceae
  • Genus: Sempervivum
  • Species: Sempervivum tectorum


Hens and Chicks plants love sunlight. They need at least six hours of direct sun each day. These plants are tough and can handle bright light without a problem. When you grow them indoors, place them near a window that gets a lot of sun. If the light is less than ideal, the plant may become thin and stretch out toward the light. Outside, they can thrive in full sun or partial shade. However, too much hot sun may scorch the leaves. Use a sheer curtain or move them to a spot with afternoon shade if that happens. Remember, light helps your plant stay colorful and compact.


You might think plants always need a lot of water, but not the Hens and Chicks Plant. This plant prefers to stay on the dry side. It’s great at storing water in its leaves, so it can go a long time without a drink. However, it’s important not to let it get bone dry. Water the Hens and Chicks Plant when the soil feels dry to the touch, but before the leaves start to shrivel. Always water it at the base to avoid wetting the leaves, as this can lead to rot. If you’re growing the plant indoors, be extra careful not to overwater, especially in winter. During its growing season, in spring and summer, the plant can take a bit more water. But still, let the soil dry out between watering sessions. This simple water care will help your Hens and Chicks thrive.


The Hens and Chicks Plant, Sempervivum tectorum, thrives in the right type of soil. It prefers soil that drains water quickly. This kind of soil is often called well-draining. When soil drains well, it means water won’t sit around the plant’s roots. Wet roots can lead to rot, which is bad for the plant. You should use a mix that has sandy or gritty material. This helps water flow through easily. Common options for gritty material include coarse sand, perlite, or fine gravel. Potting mixes designed for succulents or cacti are ideal. These mixes already have the right balance for your Hens and Chicks. Therefore, picking a succulent mix is a good starting point for your plant.


Hens and Chicks plants like it cool to mildly warm. They thrive in temperatures between 65°F to 75°F during the day. At night, they can handle it a bit cooler, but it shouldn’t drop below freezing often. These plants are tough and can survive in temperatures as low as -30°F in winter. However, they need good drainage to prevent their roots from rotting in the cold. If it gets very hot in summer, above 90°F, it’s best to give them some shade. They can handle a bit of heat, but not getting baked all day long. Remember, these plants originate from the mountains, so they’re used to cooler weather. If you keep your Hens and Chicks happy with the temperature they like, they’ll grow well and stay healthy.


Humidity refers to the amount of water vapor in the air. Think of it like invisible moisture floating around. Hens and Chicks Plants do not need a lot of humidity. They are quite hardy and can handle dry air well. Since they are succulents, their leaves store water allowing them to deal with less humid conditions. You won’t have to worry about the air around them being too dry like with some other plants. In fact, too much humidity can cause problems for your Hens and Chicks, like rotting. So, keep them in a place where the air isn’t too damp. This makes them great plants for areas inside your home that aren’t very humid. To sum it up, low humidity is just fine for these low-maintenance plants.


Fertilizer is like a vitamin boost for plants. You use it to give them extra nutrients that they might not get from the soil alone. For the Hens and Chicks plant, you don’t need much fertilizer. In fact, this hardy little plant does well in poor soil without a lot of extra help. If you do decide to use fertilizer, go for a half-strength liquid solution. The best time to fertilize is during the growing season, which is spring and summer for Hens and Chicks. But remember, it’s better to under-fertilize than to overdo it. Too much can harm the plant. So, just a little bit once or twice in the growing season will do the trick.

Size & Growth Rate

The Hens and Chicks plant typically stays small. It grows slowly but steadily. The ‘hen,’ or main plant, may grow up to 4 inches tall. It spreads out about a foot wide. The ‘chicks’ are the baby plants that sprout around it. They are smaller and cluster around the hen. This plant won’t grow into a large bush or take over your garden. It fits perfectly in small spaces. Over time, the hens will produce more chicks. The chicks will eventually grow into new hens with their chicks. This cycle keeps the plant expanding at a modest pace. You won’t need to worry about the plant getting too big too quickly. It’s the right plant for the job if you have a small pot or rock garden.

Common Issues

When you care for a Hens and Chicks plant, you might face a few problems. Pests, such as aphids, can attack your plant. These tiny insects suck the sap from the leaves. Overwatering is another issue. It can cause the roots to rot. When the roots rot, the plant can’t get water and nutrients from the soil. Sometimes, the leaves might get spots or turn yellow. This could mean your plant is too wet or dry. Too much sunlight can lead to the leaves getting burned. If the plant is not getting enough light, it might grow too tall and thin. Look out for these problems so your Hens and Chicks plant stays healthy.


When it comes to plants, “toxicity” means how poisonous a plant is if you eat it or touch it. The Hens and Chicks plant, Sempervivum tectorum, is known to be non-toxic. This is good news for pet owners and parents. Pets, like cats and dogs, or small children can sometimes chew on plants. With Hens and Chicks, you don’t have to worry about them getting sick from the plant. It’s safe and pet-friendly. Always remember, even non-toxic plants can cause problems if too much is eaten. You should teach pets and kids not to nibble on any plants. This helps avoid any upset stomachs or other issues.

Pro Tips

Growing hens and chicks plants (Sempervivum tectorum) can be fun and easy. Here are some pro tips to help you:

  • Choose the right spot: These plants love the sun, so pick a sunny place for them to live.
  • Be moderate with water: Don’t water them too much. They like to stay on the dry side.
  • Avoid deep pots: Shallow containers work best for these plants.
  • Watch for offsets: Hens and chicks will produce baby plants. You can separate these to grow more.
  • Check for pests: Sometimes bugs like to visit. Keep an eye out for them.
  • Let them rest in winter: They don’t need as much water when it’s cold. Give them a break.
  • Be patient: These plants grow slowly. Don’t worry if they take their time.
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