Monday, June 28, 2010

How a Hen Blooms

Hens and chicks (sempervivum tectorum) have been a part of my garden for almost as long as I’ve lived here, but I don’t remember seeing them bloom before. This year, they filled out their containers. Here you can see the container sending up a gigantic bud.

Here’s another one, with greener foliage that’s also blooming.

“Hens and Chicks” are so named because the mother plant, the “hen”, sends out little shoots, the “chicks,” which then root themselves, later becoming hens and sending out chicks of their own. They’re  extremely easy to propogate by simply separating a chick from it’s hen, and placing it firmly on some dirt. Contact with dirt seems to be all a chick needs to root itself. Here they’ve thrived on neglect. They are succulents, but I have noticed that when I water them, they tend to send out more chicks. They are hardy in zones 3-11, and can grow just about anywehre in full sun to partial shade.

My other hens are blooming too, though they haven’t produced any eggs yet. I’m concentrating on fattening them up and feathering them out.

I’ve discovered they like grapes, blueberries, bread and birdseed, but most of all,

they like watermelon and peaches.

Can’t say I blame them!


Lorilee said...

Wow, I don't think I have ever seen Hens and Chicks blooming! Your two legged chicks are looking good! Mine are panting in the South Texas heat!

TALON said...

Jen, your chickens have great taste! They're looking well and very settled into their new coop.

Hens and chicks (plants) always make me smile because they remind me of my Auntie Flo (she passed many years ago) and her glorious garden. She loved her hens and chicks and I don't think I've ever seen on in bloom like yours! That's remarkable!

Joanne said...

With the heat we've been having this summer, your hens know just what fruits will keep them cool ... smart birds. And I just saw the forecast, predicting we'll be back in the 90s this weekend!

Pam J. said...

All your chicks are beautiful!

AshKuku said...

I have that lotus petaled plant..... But did not know they were called so.... which is totally amazing.... & u have hens too... & that is wow!!!! They look cute & cuddly :-) God Bless!!!!


Kate said...

oooh I love Hens and Chicks, but haven't gotten any for my garden yet. Do they do well in shade or need full sun?

Stacey said...

My hens and chickens have never bloomed :-(

do you know about the Hen Cam?

patti said...

You always teach me something.

Love your hens and chicks stories, especially the H&C of the botanical world.



JGH said...

Thanks, Lorilee. I just noticed mine panting, but then I did some research and found out that it was normal when it's really hot out. Do you do anything else to keep them cool?

Talon, nice to hear about your Auntie Flo and glad I could jog that memory for you!

Joanne, it cooled off today, finally. I made a swimming pool for them in a deep dish pie plate. I think I'll bring it in today.

Thanks, Pam J. I'm wondering how long those blooms will stay around....

Ash, the hens are new. I hope I can keep them alive long enough to lay - should be just a few more weeks now.

Kate, they can grow in partial shade to full sun.

Stacy, I visited the hencam! So fun!! How long have you had your hens & chick plants? They need a few years to get established.

Thanks, Patti - speaking of learning something, I'm really enjoying your reports on China!!

Louise @ Buddy Garden said...

Jen, my hens & chicks bloomed this year too. I've had it for two years but I've never seen them bloom before. I just posted some pictures on my site too and they look just like yours! Yours have more flowers though.