Sempervivum is a genus with around 40 species, most of which form interesting rosettes of stiff, fleshy leaves. Their colors range from green to maroon to red to almost black and various combinations thereof. This succulent perennial, commonly called Hen & Chicks, is evergreen and can form dense mats. Its main rosette (hen) sets off lots of small side rosettes (chicks) that surround it. The main rosette elongates upward in summer and produces flower clusters that are usually pink or white. After flowering, the central rosette dies to make room for the offsets.
Also known as Houseleeks, this plant is great in containers, tucked in crevices, or used in the rock garden. It is a favorite plant for children who like to pull off the side rosettes to plant. These will usually readily set roots providing a sense of accomplishment for beginning gardens. Sempervivum plants will also hold their form for a long while out of the soil, making them fun for use as unusual decorations.
Sempervivum prefers sun to light shade and poor to moderately fertile, sharply drained soil. It is drought tolerant, very hardy, and easy to grow.