Sempervivum ‘Maria Laach’

Pretty Maria. Bloody Maria. We have no idea why they named this stunning blood red Semp after her but I’ll bet its quite a story. As this is quite an extraordinary Hens and Chicks. Blood red tipped leaves often fade to green near the center of the rosette. Redder in summer in full sun in average, well drained soil. Each 3″ wide plant is in a continuous color change so its a varied pattern. Forms expanding colonies quickly. Full sun to part shade. Light summer water. Very good for contrast in rock gardens, rock walls, crevice gardens. In summer 4″ stems display red flowers. Easy to detach and move babies. Tolerates drought by shrinking, puffs back up with the first rains.

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Sempervivum ‘Pacific Zofic’

Fast multiplying Hens and Chicks that is covered in white fur. The silvery white fur covers new foliage in the center that is aqua changing to pink on the external rosette. In spring to autumn it can produce 5″ spikes of pink flowers. The rosette where the flower spike originates then dies but there are so many offsets you barely notice. Excellent in containers, rock walls, as a small scale ground cover. Good appearance in winter. Rich to average soil with regular summer irrigation to speed growth. Otherwise very tolerant of dry conditions – the rosettes shrink a bit in this phase. Sempervivums LOVE fertilizer. Enrich the soil with all purpose organic fertilizer before you plant and enjoy much LARGER plants. Rosettes to 3″ across.

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Sempervivum ‘Reinhard’

A really fun and rightfully famous cultivar. Celery green leaves are tipped in black. Very dramatic and the kind of contrast that makes a plant stand out. Rosettes are 4″ across and offsets are produced constantly. Very pretty dense small scale ground cover. Rich, well drained soil with regular summer irrigation. Deals with drought by shrinking. They rehydrate with the first rains. They look better and grow faster with water. Excellent in containers, crevice gardens, rock gardens, rock walls, troughs. I’ve never seen this variety bloom but I assume the flowers would be red or white…doesn’t matter thats not the point. Detach babies and give to neighbors with the official name. Increases its specialness, impresses the neighbor. This would be a good variety for a living wall.

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Sempervivum ‘Saturn’

Probably the best standard red Sempervivum. Its been around forever and its a good cultivar. Given rich soil that drains well but is enriched with fertilizer a single rosette can swell to 6″ wide. its impressive. So fertilize your Hens and Chicks and turn up the scale. Forms prodigious offsets quickly. These can be stuck in the soil wherever you can’t get enough  of Sempervivum ‘Saturn’. Full sun give the best color red as well as a bit of stress. Red persists through winter which is useful for winter containers. Makes a good small scale ground cover that is dense enough to suppress weeds. Don’t try to cover an area more than a few square feet. This plant doesn’t do that. Living walls, crevice gardens, rock gardens, rock walls. Hot slopes. Drought stressed plants don’t die they shrink and plump back up quickly with irrigation. Pink flowers in summer.

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Sempervivum ‘Soft Line’

I’m the one doing the descriptions so I get to choose which is my favorite. And this is my favorite ‘Hens and Chick’. Soft and downy with fine hairs that cover the entire rosette. Dove gray to pink coloration changes little throughout the years. To 3″ across it quickly multiplies to form colonies in rich to average soil in full sun to part shade. Regular summer water enhances the appearance as well as initiates faster growth. Rock walls, slopes, containers. Very easy to grow. Light pink flowers appear at the tips of 6″ stems spring-autumn. Soft and cuddly.

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Sempervivum ‘Virgil Ford’

Collectively this handsome Hens and chicks is one of our favorites. Soft pink to lavender and tipped with purple in cold weather. Nice. Large rosettes to 5″ across when happy. Boisterous multiplier and forming large colonies quickly. Rich, well drained soil with regular water to keep up appearances. Containers, rock walls, rock gardens, as a small scale weed smothering ground cover. Full sun to light shade. Even dry shade when established. Detach the babies and give them to a friend. Or chuck them at a Trump voter. Pretty plant. High deer resistance.

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Sempervivum arachnoides ‘Robin’

RED Robin! Thats how we remember the name of this snappy Hens and Chicks. Tightly growing leaves in a medium sized rosette to 3″ across. The interior of the leaves are bright red with green leaf tips. Multiplies quickly. Retains these bright colors well throughout the year- where as some can become rather dull in winter. Spring – Autumn it may shoot up a 5″ spike bearing pink/red flowers. The rosette then dies but there are so many offsets that you would never know. Move them around the garden like furniture. Easy. Give them to friends, knock squirrels out of the tree with them. Fun to grow. Interact with your sempervivums and all will be good. Full sun and regular summer water to remain vigorous and bright and showy.

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Sempervivum arachnoides var. pittonii

Cob webs cover this adorable and fast multiplying Hens and chicks. The hairy webbing is a successful strategy to stop transpiration of liquid from the leaves and cool the surface as well. 2″ wide rosettes create many offsets in a short amount of time. It makes a good small scale ground cover  From spring to autumn it may produce a 5″ stem directly from the center of the rosette and bear rows of rosy pink flowers. That rosette then dies but it produces prodigious amounts of babies. Full sun to part shade in enriched, well drained soil with light summer irrigation. Without irrigation it will survive but shrink. Containers, rock gardens, gravel gardens. Good appearance year round.

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Yucca rostrata

Beaked Yucca does fantastically well in our climate and is one of the Yucca species that will form a dramatic trunk. Blue thin leaves radiate out in a perfectly round orb. Slowly rises to 8′ tall in our climate. Full hot all day sun in a warm position. Very well drained soil with light summer water during the hottest stretches to encourage growth. Occasionally, with age 4′ spikes appear holding large trusses of ivory flowers. Perfectly hardy to cold, way below 0ºF. Avoid cold wet sites- to really do well it needs heat and exposure. Not prone to bacterial leaf blight that affects other Yucca species. Good air circulation. Lives happily in large containers for eons. Focal point in many of the best gardens in our region. High deer resistance. Evergreen.

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