Succulents come in different varieties, and one of the most common is Hen and Chick, in Latin called the Sempervivum. This beautiful succulent produces shoots people call “chicks”, simply because the way they grow from the “mother plant”. You can propagate these shoots into new plants later on. All you need is to detach them from the mother plant and plant them in a new pot.
But before anything else, you need a healthy hen and chick plant, and not a dying one :). And there are many reasons why your beautiful succulent may slowly (or rapidly) wither away. One of them is the nature of the plant. Hen and chick plants are monocarpic. This means that once they finished producing flowers, they die. Another reason is under-watering. Hen and Chicks that are under-watered may develop brown leaves, and if they remain untreated they will die.
Aside from giving your plants enough water, it is equally important to give them some sunlight. If you are growing hen and chicks indoors, using grow light – check my recommended grow light on Amazon (* this is an affiliate links and I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase) will help you keep your plants happy :).
Remove dead leaves from Hen and Chicks
Generally speaking, leaves of most plants shrivel and die as they grow. This is a natural process, and nothing to be worried about. However, the shriveling of leaves happens when the succulents are under-watered, over-watered, or do not get sufficient light exposure.
If you noticed the dead leaves, you can remove them from the plant. Doing it is easy. You can just pull the dying leaves to the side. Depending on the condition of the plant, you might need to be careful not to uproot the plant. Proceed with it with caution, as if you’d be removing a tick from your child’s arm. Removing dead leaves can help your hen and chick breathe. It will also also make the plant look fresh and brand new.
How to grow Hen and Chicks?
Hen and Chicks come in many varieties. , each one having amazing features a true succulent lover will cherish. However, like any other variety of succulents, this plant has special needs. Neglecting them will hinder it from growing healthily, and from reaching its full potential. In fact, inappropriate growing strategies is one of the reasons why your hens and chicks may eventually die. Let me share with you some of the basic things to remember when caring about this succulent.
1. Locations and climate
Hen and Chicks are hardy succulents. This means that they can grow in warmer environments. However, during winter or colder seasons, it is a good idea to provide them extra protection. Moving them to a greenhouse or under shade can make them safe, though they will survive a lot of stuff also outdoors.
Hen and Chicks love moderate to full sun. When exposed to moderate or full sun, they will sooner or later unleash their vibrant colors, something you may never experience if you keep them strictly indoors. Having said that, extreme exposure to scorching sun at the heights of summer should be avoided.
What I try to say here is that although these guys are pretty hardy, they cannot survive under extreme sun rays, especially if they are exposed to it day in day out. You just need to remember that they are succulents. They are vulnerable to environmental harm.
* May also interest you: Can Succulents Grow Outside in Full Sun?
3. Right soil is the key
These plants grow well in sandy soil. It provides good drainage for the plant. If you have a perfect soil mix, you are good to go. To achieve better results, you can add gravel, compost, and coarse sand, which provides more drainage for the plant. Hen and Chicks plants grow better in a medium with little soil. In fact, they can thrive in gravel or cracks in rock walls, as any nature lover would now, often spotting them growing in an unforgiving rocky terrain.
If you are not sure about the right soil, you can check my favorite one on Amazon–100% organic :). (* again this is an affiliate link and I may earn a few cents at no extra costs to you if you make a purchase).
* May also interest you: Can I Use Orchid Potting Mix for Succulents?
4.Hen and Chicks prefers little water
These plants can survive weeks without watering. If you are replanting your hens and chicks, just give them enough water. The best appropriate watering method at this point is the soak and dry method. Soak the soil completely and then let the soil dry before the next watering schedule. It sort of imitates the natural habitat of these plants–a heavy rain is often followed by a long period of sunshine…
However, this does not mean that your succulents do not need water at all. They need an appropriate amount of water for healthy growth. At the end of the day, nothing can live without water. The watering schedule may change during summer when the climate gets hotter and hotter, when you should water your plants a bit more frequently.
How to propagate Hen and Chicks?
Hens and Chicks come in three basic varieties: Sempervivum, Jovibarba Rollers, and Jovibarba heuffelii. However, these plants are commonly known as Sempervivum. Each of the types produces offspring differently.
Sempervivum roduces offspring on runners. When it does, you can just pull off the chicks and plant them in the new pot. For the best result, wait until the runners begin to wither. As soon as the offsets touch the soil, they can start growing and thriving. Jovibarba Rollers produces chicks that are lightly attached to the mother plant. In effect, they are easy to pop off from the mother plant and then you can simply replant them on their own.
Jovibarba heuffelii is different from its relatives. The main difference is that the Jovibarba heuffelii produces offspring within the mother plant. This makes the propagation process more challenging. You need a sharp knife to split the offspring from the mother plant, and then you follow the same process. For more details, check my guide on succulents propagation.
Life cycle of a Hen and Chicks plant
Hen and Chicks usually last for three years. Every chick produced by the mother plant will also produce its own chick. This means that before the mother plant dies, it could already produce many chicks, making its legacy last long after it has left this world.
Hen and chicks are some of the most colorful succulents you can grow. The color changes depending on many factors. It includes maturity, sunlight exposure, temperatures, etc. The changes occur throughout the season. For better results, make sure to give your plant enough space to grow freely . If you plant this plant together with other succulent varieties, make sure to provide them four-inch space in between for small plants. Bigger varieties may need even bigger spaces in between them.
Should you bring your Hen and Chicks plant indoors?
Sturdy succulents like the hen and chicks are perfect for outdoor environment. But they can grow indoor too if you give them enough sun exposure and the appropriate amount of care. When growing hen and chicks indoors, make sure that you plant it in the pot with a drainage hole (my favorite one is this on on Amazon). You should use fast-draining soil mix to keep the plant safe from over-watering and rotting.
Plants in an indoor environment still need sunlight, at least in order to thrive. During winter months, you can use grow light (click here to see my favorite light on Amazon). When it comes to watering your plants indoors, the key is to wait until the soil feels dry. In fact in colder months (when you typically keep hen and chicks indoors), this plant needs little water. Nothing will happen even if you forget to water it for a few weeks..
I hope that after reading this post you know what is going on with your Hen and Chicks plant. Though pretty hardy and able to survive on rocky spots, this succulent also has its needs, and it can definitely die if you do not meet them. Keep in mind though that your plant may be dying simply because its time has come, and that’s when the flowers bloom. Where something ends, something else always begins… If you want to learn more about succulents growing, check out my complete guide on How to Grow Succulents. Thank you!