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Friday, May 29, 2009

Hens and chicks and chicks and chicks

On Wednesday my friend Kim called me with a hot tip. A local nursery had pots with Sempervivum (Hen's and Chicks) just exploding out of them. Needless to say I got in my car immediately and headed over there.

They only had three varieties to choose from, a red named 'Pilioseum', a heavily webbed varieties named 'Cobweb' and a green variety that I didn't purchase. Kim was right, the pots were literally exploding with hens and chicks. The price on these pots were $9.99, if you wanted to spend a bit more you could get even larger pots for $11.99.

One tip I have for you if you are purchasing Sempervivum, look to see if any are blooming. You see the long stem coming up? That is going to be a bloom stem. Many people don't realize that Semps bloom. After a sempervivum blooms, it dies. Now if you have lots and lots of chicks like here, it won't matter. But, if you choose a pot with lots of bloom and not many chicks, you might not have any babies to carry you through the next year. Still, if you are looking for one year of interest, you might want the pot that was full of upcoming blooms.

Getting them out of their pots wasn't the easiest thing. Once I slid them free I removed the soil from the bottom half. Sempervivums don't have huge root systems and don't mind being disturbed like this.

It was easy to break apart the clumps just by using my hands, no need to damage the fleshy rosettes with a sharp tool.

Isn't this a pretty little division? I really like the cobweb variety although my daughter who was taking the photos wasn't as enthralled as me.

The red 'Pilioseum' was even more crowded in the pot but it also broke apart quite easily.

When working with Hens and Chicks, I like to have a tray underneath me to catch any babies. Here I'm using an old wine box.

You can split them down to single pieces with one "hen" and her "chicks" but I had enough plants to be able to leave a few divisions larger.

Next step was putting them in the troughs I just bought. These troughs will be for sale on June 12th and 13th at the Kissam House in Huntington Village. I hope they'll sell!


our friend Ben said...

Fantastic find, Melanie! And of course your troughs will sell. I just wish I were there to buy one!

Sandy aka Doris the Great said...

Beautiful! And I love the troughs; wish I was close enough to run over and buy!

CiNdEe said...

That was a great deal! Your troughs are awesome! I am sure you will sell them all!

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Wow, now that was a lot of hens and chicks! I like your troughs too!

Ellie Mae's Cottage said...

Really beautiful! I love all the interesting shapes. I've been seeing the web variety around a lot lately. I'm tempted to buy one myself. -Jackie

Rebecca said...

Oh, my goodness! Where have I been??
I've just now discovered your blog - interestingly on the day I had placed some of my "garden whimsy" in a plant sale taking place down the street from me! I immediately emailed one of the organizers and told her about your 07-09 Plant Sale posts! I have learned so much just in the 1/2 hour I've spent here....My garden site is sceneinourgarden.blogspot. I will be back here frequently - you can be sure!

Connie said...

I love the earthly look of the troughs, and your choice of plants compliment them to perfection!

Twisted willow said...

I love Sempervivums. We've got lots of stone walls and they look great pushed into the cracks and holes between the stones. The troughs look really good. Should sell like hot cakes.

Anonymous said...

thank you thank you! I have spent about 50 hrs. and 24 calls to diff.nurseries and agric.experts and NO ONE could tell me about the tall hen and chicks. We have a bunch and every spring about 6-7 go 14" tall, until fall.

THIATS IT, my quest is over!

Anonymous said...

Great plants! I just love Sempervivums. Have a collection of about 2.000 diffrent plants, both botanical varieties and cultivars.

I even have a sempervivum blog:

I would not recomend dividing and transplanting plants when chicks are developing: tearing the plants apart sometimes cause the stolons to break up and young chick die.