Hen and chicks

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Jovibarba globifera (syn. Sempervivum globiferum) showing larger mother plants ("hens") and smaller, globe-shaped offsets ("chicks", "globi")
Sempervivum tectorum (common houseleek)
Close-up of blooms

Hen and chicks (also known as hen-and-chickens, or hen-and-biddies in the American South) is a common name for a group of small succulent plants belonging to the flowering plant family Crassulaceae, native to southern Europe and northern Africa. They grow close to the ground with leaves formed around each other in a rosette, and propagating by offsets. The "hen" is the main plant, and the "chicks" are the offspring, which start as tiny buds on the main plant and soon sprout their own roots, taking up residence close to the mother plant.

Plants commonly referred to as "Hens and chicks" include ground-hugging species of Sempervivum (houseleeks) such as Sempervivum 'Pekinese', S. arachnoideum (cobweb houseleek), and S. arachnoideum (common houseleek), as well as members of the related genus Jovibarba. The name is also used for some species of Echeveria, Sedum and Bergenia although these plants differ significantly from Sempervivum and Jovibarba, and may require different cultivation and care.


Hen and chicks is popular in gardens for its varied and interesting appearance and hardiness. It is grown as container planting or in rock gardens. It does best in well-drained, rocky soil; if they are kept wet, the outer leaves will rot. Although it does best in sun, it will grow in light shade.


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