Hens and chicks, or sempervivum, are a succulent-like plant that are winter hardy in growing zones 3 to 8. Even though they look like succulents, these plants are actually part of the stonecrop family. Most gardeners grow these due to their hardiness and ability to grow in poor conditions. The hardy plants can easily survive winter too, which make them a great plant for almost any garden or landscape.
There is no need to protect these plants in the winter. They are tough and can withstand the toughest weather conditions. There is no need to cover the plants. However, a blanket of snow on the plants will not hurt them at all. In the winter, the outer leaves may dry out and die. This is normal and the plants do this to help protect the inner portion of the rosettes. In the spring, a few warm days will get the plant back to life.
Hens & Chicks Winter Care in Pots
Clay or terra cotta planters are often used when growing hens and chicks. However, those types of planters do not hold up well in winter conditions and can break apart when they freeze. We recommend using resin plastic, cement, metal or wooden planters for growing zones that have freezing temperatures during the winter.
Some gardeners like to bring their hens and chicks inside during the winter. That is an option as well. Just make sure the plants still get full sunlight and are next to a south facing window in the winter if you decide to do that. Do not store the plants in a garage with no sunlight during the winter. You can supplement the sunlight with a growing light in the garage. We would only recommend this option if you want to protect the planter.
Growing Hens & Chicks Indoors During Winter
It is possible to bring your hens and chicks indoors during the winter. However, the winter time is typically when the plants are resting. Outdoors, the cooler temperatures will force the plants to go dormant. This helps them grow and perform better the following spring and summer.
If you do choose to bring the plants inside during the winter, the plant will not go dormant. It will slow down growing wise though. Do not fertilize in the winter. Inside, the plant will need up to 6 hours of sunlight per day. So a south facing window is the best location. Or underneath a grow light. You can also bring the plant indoors for a few weeks at a time, then put the plant back outside. But, do not do this if the temperatures are drastically different from inside to outside. That will put too much stress on the plant and could kill it.
Steps To Care For Hens & Chicks in Winter
Hens and chicks are easy to care for and can survive no problem in growing zones 3 to 8. So typically there is no need for any special care during the winter months of these plants. Just ensure the plants are in well drained soil, and they will easily come back next year.
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Author Chris Link - Published 1-01-2020