Why Are Succulents Called Hens And Chicks

Sempervivum tectorum, a succulent plant, is indigenous to Europe and Africa. These plants, sometimes known as houseleeks, have rosette-like leaves in concentric rings that resemble artichokes. Plants called “hens and chicks” come in green, red, blue, purple, and copper hues.

The hens and chicks plant is so named because it reproduces by sending off offsets (chicks) that encircle the mother plant (hen). Hens and chicks are excellent groundcover plants since they are low-growing perennials that keep close to the ground while self-replicating.

What does the name “hens and chicks” mean?

Members of the Sempervivum genus of succulent plants include hens and chicks. They thrive in cool or warm climates and are frequently referred to as houseleeks. Hens and chicks plants get their name from their rosette shape and propensity to have plenty of offspring. Growing hens and chicks do well in a rockery or dry, low-nutrient environment. Hens and chicks, sedum, and sprawling rock cress are appropriate plant choices for a low-maintenance garden design.

What distinguishes echeveria from hens and chicks?

The hues and variety of echeverias are prized. Their rosettes, which are native to the Americas, have a diameter that varies from three-quarters of an inch to twenty inches. Compared to Sempervivums, echeverias have larger and thicker leaves. Despite having variants that are sometimes referred to as “hens and chicks,” both are from separate genera. Echeveria has spoon-shaped leaves that are gray, green, or bluish in hue. In the spring and summer, these plants bloom. Their bell-shaped flowers, which can be white, orange, pink, or red, are carried on stalks that protrude through the leaves. From a single base stem, echeveria offsets (chicks) spread out to produce clumps.

In Europe, sempervivums are indigenous. Their names, semper (always) and vivus, represent their importance as talismans (living). They have a reputation for surviving in subfreezing temperatures and maintaining their green foliage. Common names for Sempervivums include Houseleeks and Hen and Chickens. Open rosettes grow in bunches up to two feet wide and have a diameter of one to five inches. Sempervivum’s leaves are thinner than those of Echeveria, have pointed tips, and range in color from gray-green to red-brown. On fleshy stems up to 10 inches long, tiny star-shaped blooms in pink, red, or orange bloom. These succulents get their start by sprouting offsets from a stolon (a stem that can take root). The small offsets are able to roll away before developing roots because the stolon splits readily.

Does a hen or a chick need shade or sunlight?

Hens and chicks are very resilient, despite the fact that succulents are known for being low-maintenance. Hens and chicks are common options for people who live in temperate areas because they go dormant in frigid temperatures. These small plants are tough, explains Hugo. They are one of the few succulents that can withstand both frost and snow. Hens and chicks are a popular choice for rock gardens since they require little soil. However, they also do well in pots and flowerbeds. Hens and chicks will tolerate little shade, but they prefer full sun. And while they do like some room to spread out, they can usually handle denser crowds. What is the only real danger to hens and chicks? a surplus of water. Their delicate roots, like those of many succulents, can perish from excessive moisture. Use a potting soil that is lightweight, quick-draining, and designed specifically for succulents for this purpose.

Hens and chicks plants reappear each year?

In growth zones 3 to 8, hens and chicks are simple to care for and can live without issue. Therefore, these plants normally don’t require any particular care over the winter. Just make sure the soil is well-drained, and the plants will easily come back the next year.

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What do hens and chicks go by in the real world?

Hen-and-chicks, sometimes known as hen-and-chickens, is the common name for a variety of succulent plants belonging to the genera Echeveria and Sempervivum in the family Crassulaceae. Members of the latter genus are also referred to as houseleeks. Due to the way new plantlets grow in a cluster around the parent plant, resembling a mother hen guarding her chicks, many of these plants are sometimes referred to as “hen-and-chicks.”

Can hens and chicks reproduce?

Underground roots will be used by hens and chicks to spread. Expect each plant to multiply by at least four over the growing season by creating tiny offset plantlets all around the hen’s perimeter. These chicks can always be removed and planted somewhere else.

Are hen and chicks contagious?

A succulent that mats up, hens and chicks (Sempervivum tectorum) is a native of Europe and Africa. Its growth pattern includes rosettes of succulent, pointy leaves. The larger rosettes that develop from the parent rosette are known as “chicks,” while the smaller ones are known as “hens.” This root-clinging plant likes sandy, gravelly soil and will eventually grow to form colonies that are at least 2 feet wide. Hens and chicks are frequently grown for their unique form and succulent leaves (generally red, green, blue, gold, or copper), but they occasionally have tall stalks with flowers.

If you want to produce new plants from seed, you may want to start them in pots in the fall so the young plants are prepared to go into the garden in the spring. Hens and chicks has a moderately quick growth rate and is best planted in the spring. They are excellent houseplants as well.

Hen vs Chicken: Gender

The gender of the animals is what distinguishes hens from chickens. While chickens can be either male or female, hens are only female. Despite the fact that the majority of male chickens are known as roosters, either gender of a bird born into this family or genus is referred to as a “chicken.” Although it may seem like a nebulous distinction, it is crucial when considering the variations between these two birds.

Hen vs Chicken: Age of the Bird

The age of the bird is another distinction between a hen and a chicken. The heading of “While the term “chicken” can apply to a bird of virtually any age, the term “hen” is reserved for adult female birds. Even though “hen” is a far more specific term than “chicken,” even “hen” might mean different things to different people.

For instance, once a female chicken has laid her first egg, some farmers consider her to be a hen. Depending on the breed of chicken, this can happen at any age between 8 months and 2 years. Some people believe that regardless of breed, a hen reaches adulthood at the age of one. Even while this varies from breed to breed, some people consider a hen to have fully developed once their breast bones have stiffened.

Chicks and pullets are terms for young chickens, however “Any age of bird is still referred to as a chicken. It all depends on who you’re speaking with and what level of accuracy you personally desire!

Hen vs Chicken: Ability to Lay Eggs

If you hadn’t guessed it, the ability to produce eggs is one of the main distinctions between hens and chicks. While some chickens are unable to lay eggs, hens are only egg layers. There are numerous chickens that are physiologically unable to lay eggs because the term “chicken” is used to describe any gender of bird in this species.

If they don’t lay eggs, even some female chickens cannot be referred to as hens. For instance, a female chicken developed solely for her ability to produce meat and who does not lay eggs cannot be referred to as a hen. In addition to laying fertilized eggs, hens are also in charge of producing the eggs that humans eat.

Hen vs Chicken: Size and Appearance

The size and appearance of a hen and a chicken are two other distinctions. Despite the fact that there are countless varieties of chickens, hens and chickens may differ somewhat in size and appearance.

For instance, male chickens or birds bred for meat production are frequently smaller than hens. It should be noted that this is not a certainty and that not all little chickens are hens. Although certain varieties of chicken do, hens are less likely to have waddles or combs on top of their heads.

Hen vs Chicken: Commercial Uses of the Bird

Another distinction between hens and chickens is how they are used for commerce. For instance, whereas chickens are used to produce meat or eggs, hens are used to raise young chicks and deposit eggs.

This is a crucial differential between the two, even though you might not think about it when you visit your neighborhood farm or decide to buy chickens to keep at home. Considering that hens and chickens are produced for distinct purposes, it changes their general size and shape. Meat-producing chickens are often significantly larger than hens.

How come my chickens and chicks are becoming so tall?

The mature core of a hens and chicks plant will start to grow tall and extend when it starts to bloom (commonly referred to as a “rooster”). These normally little plants have the ability to suddenly reach heights of one foot. The mature center of the plant is going to flower, generate seeds, and then die off. This process, known as the monocarpic process, indicates that this is about to happen. But don’t worry; the plant should have produced a number of tiny rosettes before to beginning this procedure, assuring that the plants would not only survive but also spread and expand to become bigger than previously.

The plant cannot be saved by cutting off the stem. So why not let the rosette grow and take in the distinctive and lovely flowers it produces?

Hens and chicks may occasionally grow tall or become “leggy” because they are not getting enough light and the plant is reaching for it. Leggy plants that don’t get enough light will have stems that appear fairly flimsy and barren. With upward-facing bud clusters, a flower stem will appear rounder and lusher.

Here is an illustration of a “leggy,” dormant hens and chicks plant.

Can chickens and chicks be planted in the ground?

In some growing zones, the entertaining and diverse succulent known as Hens and Chicks (Sempervivum tectorum) can be cultivated both indoors and outdoors. The plant is often referred to as House Leek.

What You Need To Plant Hens and Chicks

To prepare a hole for hens and chicks plants that are planted in the ground or a container, you will need a tiny shovel or hand trowel. The succulents should be planted in a sandy or grit-based mixture that drains effectively instead of rich soil. This entails either adding some gritty material, such as sand or small pebbles, to assist the earth drain well, or using a cacti and succulent mix for a potted sempervivum.

Is a cactus a hen and a chick?

Chickens and hens Cactus plants are among the easiest garden plants to care for and may survive in a variety of environments. Zones 3 through 11 can be used to cultivate them. Chicks and hens prefer bright, full daylight for as least six hours each day. They benefit from some afternoon sun in garden zones 8 through 11, especially in the sweltering summertime.

Soil Requirements

Hen and chicks demand well-drained soil, just like cactus. If the soil in your yard is heavy clay, amend it with compost or other organic material. Any water that builds up will kill the plants. They do well in sandy, rocky, and poor soil. Use hens and chicks where it is difficult to grow other vegetation. These succulents thrive in places where other plants detest, according to many gardeners.

Between 6.6 and 7.5, pH neutrality is acceptable for hens and chicks. Incorporate the amendments they recommend to raise or lower the pH as necessary after having the soil tested at the nearby cooperative extension office.

Planting Hen and Chicks

In rock gardens and alpine gardens, hen and chicks look beautiful. Place the rocks in a natural-looking arrangement before planting them among them. Plant the hens and chicks so that the crown is level with the dirt, adding soil on top of the rocks and in the cracks. Hens and chicks plants should be spaced three to twelve inches apart. Ample space should be left for larger varieties. Hen and chicks proliferate quickly and produce lovely plant clusters.

Additionally, apartment residents can raise hens and chicks in containers known as strawberry jars. These clay pots contain numerous side compartments in addition to a top entrance in the middle. One hen and chicks plant should be placed at the top of the pot, and as the young grow, you may just put them in the side pockets. You’ll soon have a lush container that’s perfect for a patio or balcony.


One of the simplest succulents to grow is hen and chicks. The primary “hen” of the plant releases runners as it ages, creating the “chicks” or young plants. Simply take the young and place them somewhere else to produce more hens and chicks for your garden. Hen and chicks plants can be grown from seeds, which are sold in garden centers, catalogs, and seed exchange networks.