Sempervivum grammens, also known as Hen and chicks grammens or Sempervivum tectorum ‘Grammens’, can be grown indoors or out, depending on the variety. The unique flowers are actually composed of two petals that form into an attractive rosette shape.
This hen and chicks plant is suitable for rock gardens, miniature gardens, garden borders, houseplants, and more. Let’s take a closer look at this flowering succulent plant and learn how to grow hen and chicks grammens indoors or out!
Sempervivum grammens are super easy to take care of, making them perfect houseplants for beginners.
Read on to learn all about these low-maintenance succulents and how to properly care for them!
Origin and distribution
Sempervivum grammens is a cultivar of popular evergreen groundcover, Sempervivum tectorum, hence the name Sempervivum tectorum ‘Grammens’.
The wild form is a native of Europe and Western Asia, extending northward to Scandinavia and Sakhalin. The word sempervive means live always in Latin, and sempervivums have been cultivated for centuries as ornamental plants or edibles.
Hen and chicks are one of several common names given to Sempervivum species. This one refers to their growth habit, small rosettes that chick out new plants around their edges when they are crowded. It’s an appropriate name because these succulents look like baby chicks huddling together under mama hen’s wings!
Like many other succulents, Sempervivum gramens has thick leaves covered with tiny hairs called trichomes which give them a silvery-gray appearance. These trichomes also help protect them from excessive moisture loss during cold weather by trapping air between leaf surfaces and preventing water from escaping through evaporation.
The flowers of most varieties are white with five petals; however, some varieties produce pink or red flowers instead.
Sempervivum gramens propagation
Sempervivum grammens like being propagated from stem cuttings. They can be air or water rooted depending on how you take them. I like to stick mine in soil and leave it at that since I have a hard time getting them to form roots for me. If you have good luck with it, then try rooting them in water and taking them out once they are able to hold themselves up.
Because Sempervivum gramens will root from cuttings with very little manipulation, it is relatively easy to grow these plants from clippings and share them with friends and family. You can start your own hen-and-chick propagation project by pinching off a few shoots from a mother plant in spring.
Choose young stems and leaves, making sure that there are at least three leaf buds. Cut about an inch below each bud, then place each cutting into a small pot of soil. Water well and place in bright light but not direct sunlight. Keep soil moist but not wet.
The new roots should form within one month; once they have grown several inches long, you can separate each cutting into its own pot or transplant them outdoors if weather permits. If you live in a warm climate, you can also plant directly outside after hardening off for one week.
If hardening off isn’t possible, keep potted plants indoors until temperatures are consistently above 50 degrees F (10 degrees C).
In climates where freezing temperatures occur during the winter months, bring pots inside before the first frost and keep them indoors until springtime. Sempervivums prefer cool conditions, between 40 and 60 degrees F (4–16 degrees C), during the winter dormancy period.
Sempervivum grammens care information
Sempervivum grammens or hen and chicks are succulents with a wide range of colorful and stunning shapes. Despite their tendency to grow vigorously, they are easy to care for. As long as you place them in sunny spots near windows and water them regularly, they will thrive! Follow these guidelines to get your new succulent off on the right foot.
Sempervivum grammens love to grow in partial sunlight and also in partial shade. Semi-shade is defined as an area that receives at least some direct sunlight during most of the day but is protected from the harsh afternoon sun.
This can be achieved with a porch or patio structure such as an arbor or pergola, or it can be created by planting on the north side of a house. Protect plants from the hot afternoon sun by placing them in an area that gets morning sun only.
Before you can plant Sempervivum grammens, you need to make sure that it has a suitable home. Your plants will be best suited if they are planted in a cactus potting mix or an equal mix of peat moss and perlite. If either of these mixes is unavailable, your local garden center should have comparable soil available for purchase.
The soil needs to be light and well-draining as hen and chicks do not like overly wet feet. A general rule is that if the water sits on top of your soil, then it’s too heavy.
As such, drainage holes are important to allow excess water to escape and prevent root rot from occurring. A good test is that when you pick up a handful of soil/potting mix, there should be no water left on your palm after several seconds. If there is still moisture present then it’s too heavy.
Sempervivum gramens don’t need much water as long as it’s grown in well-drained soil. Make sure that it never dries out completely, but also don’t overwater it either. A general rule of thumb is to water your plant when its top two inches of soil has dried out.
If you notice that your hen and chicks are wilting, you may be watering too often. The best way to tell if your plant needs more water is by checking for new growth or buds.
New growth means that there’s enough moisture in the soil for your plants to thrive, while no new growth means that you should give them a drink soon. You can also use a moisture meter if you want to take things one step further!
Sempervivum grammens prefer well-drained soil and require some level of sunlight. For best results, add a slow-release fertilizer to your plants every six months. Feeding sempervivum grammes will help promote branching, which makes for a fuller, healthier plant.
If you’re using organic fertilizer, be sure to water your plants after feeding them so that they can absorb all of their nutrients. If you’re using chemical fertilizer, wait two weeks before watering your plants so that they don’t leach into your soil.
Sempervivum grammens plant can thrive in a wide variety of temperatures. It grows well in an area that has both hot days and cool nights, with a temperature range between 45 degrees F and 75 degrees F being ideal.
If you live in a colder climate, however, don’t give up on it just yet. You may need to find ways to protect your plants from frost damage each night by covering them with cold-hardy sheets or blankets if temperatures dip below freezing.
Sempervivum grammens plants are native to arid climates, which means they can withstand dry soil conditions. High humidity will cause them to rot. Be sure that you take measures to avoid overwatering your succulents and cacti, and be careful about where you place them in your home or office.
Make sure there’s plenty of circulation around them and don’t forget to check under pots for moisture before watering!
The ideal humidity range for your Sempervivum grammens is between 40% and 60%. Anything below 30% or above 70% can cause problems. If you’re using a humidifier, be sure to check that it’s not putting out too much moisture, if it is, you might want to get a different one. A hygrometer will help you monitor your humidity levels.
Cutting back Sempervivum grammens can be very rewarding. Not only do pruned plants grow better, but they also look more attractive and stay cleaner for longer. This perennial plant doesn’t require a lot of care, but it does need regular pruning to keep it in line.
How often you prune depends on your personal preference. If you like lots of flowers, prune more often than if you prefer foliage. To cut back hen and chicks, simply pinch off about an inch above a leaf joint.
You can also use scissors or shears for a cleaner look. Once they start growing again, they will fill out and look great! Always remember that you should never cut back hard after flowering or when temperatures drop below freezing point.
When to repot
Sempervivum grammens can be repotted in late spring or early summer, as soon as their roots have filled out their pots. You don’t want to transplant them into any pot that is larger than they already are, because they won’t have enough space to grow.
However, you also don’t want to repot them too early, because they won’t have a chance to establish strong root systems before winter. The best time to repot hen and chicks is when they begin sending up new shoots from their old leaves.
At that point, they will be ready for new homes with fresh soil and plenty of room to grow.
Hens and chicks need to be kept cool and dry during their dormancy. You can keep them in a plastic bag or a paper bag that has been partially opened, so that it is not completely air-tight. If you live in an area with mild winters, you can also let your hen and chicks hibernate outside for 6 weeks to 3 months.
After they have gone through their winter rest period, they will start to grow new leaves again. In order to encourage the growth of these new leaves, remove any dead leaves from your plant.
New growth should appear within 2-3 weeks after going through winter rest. During spring and summer, Sempervivum grammens prefer a lot of light but little water since they are succulents.
Sempervivum grammens flower & fragrance
Sempervivum grammens are used for their beauty as well as their healing benefits. When planted in flower beds and gardens, they provide aesthetic appeal with many blooms appearing throughout spring and summer.
The flowers of sempervivum grammens bring to mind small white daisies or dandelions, while their leaves resemble those of succulents.
They come in a variety of colors including green, red-brown, pink, and yellow. In addition to being beautiful plants that can be grown indoors or out, hen and chicks grammens have a pleasing aroma that can help cleanse indoor air by removing toxins such as formaldehyde from it.
This makes them ideal houseplants when you want something that looks good but also helps purify your home’s air quality.
Sempervivum grammens is a fast-growing succulent. Fast-growing plants typically have a greater overall demand for water and nutrients, so they will grow quickly but only to a certain point before nutrient deficiencies occur.
On top of that, fast-growing plants typically require more space than slow-growing ones because their wider stems and leaves can reach out in every direction. When you’re planning your garden bed, choose slower-growing varieties over faster ones when you can.
Sempervivum grammens isn’t toxic. However, if you have pets or small children, it’s a good idea to keep them away from your houseplants, as many plants are poisonous if ingested.
USDA hardiness zones
Sempervivum grammens thrives best in USDA hardiness zones 3 through 8. For optimal growth, it’s important to select a location that matches your zone. If you live in a colder climate, consider placing your hen and chicks plant on a south-facing windowsill or patio.
Conversely, if you live in an area with warmer temperatures, try placing it on an east-facing window or under a covered porch. Whatever your location, make sure to provide full sun exposure during its growing season.
Pests and diseases
This can be a huge problem for your Sempervivum grammens, but it’s often one of the biggest risks for gardeners growing hen and chicks. Since plants with small leaves are already more susceptible to disease, you’ll want to be extra vigilant in making sure your plant doesn’t get infected.
Watch out for signs like spots on its leaves or overall yellowing and browning of its foliage. If you suspect your plant has been infected, cut away all parts of it that have begun showing signs of infection.
If you grow Sempervivum grammens indoors, or in a pot, it is susceptible to aphids and spider mites. Aphids cause a sticky substance to appear on your plant’s leaves. This substance looks like honeydew and attracts ants. The aphids will leave pockmarks on your succulents when they bite into it. Spider mites will spin webs all over your succulent, making it look like little white dots all over its body.
The important thing about Sempervivum gramens is that it makes a wonderful ground cover. This plant can look great in any garden, whether it’s natural or formal.
The variety of color options are enough to make almost anyone happy and they are very easy to grow if they get enough sunlight. In most instances, it grows on its own without needing much maintenance.