Sempervivum arachnoideum cv or Hens and Chicks is a hardy cultivar of Sempervivum arachnoideum. They are perennial succulent herbs that grow in very tight rosettes. Each rosette may have up to 50-60 leaves. This cultivar reaches up to 2 inches across and clumps can reach several feet across with age. The tips of the leaves are connected with thin cobwebby hairs. In Europe, the plants are sometimes used in roofing, with the plants grown in between roofing tiles; they are believed to ward off lightening. Plants are very easy to grow in container or in the rock garden. Most species are hardy in USDA zones 6-11.
Blooming: Although this cultivar very rarely blooms in captivity, it has bright red flowers about 0.5-1 inch (1.2-2.5 cm) across. After the plant blooms and sets seed it will die, but there will be many offsets to take its place.
Culture: Sempervivum arachnoideum cv need full sun to light shade with a well drained soil mix. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of 1 part peat moss to 2 parts loam to 2 parts coarse sand. I like to add small gravel to ensure good drainage. During the growing season, the plants are watered and allowed to dry slightly before watering again. Although they can take a great deal of drought, they seem to do better with regular watering. During the growing season, we fertilize plants monthly with a balanced fertilizer diluted to 1/2 the strength recommended on the label. During the winter months, plants are watered very little and nighttime temperatures are dropped to 48°F (9°C).
Propagation: Sempervivum arachnoideum cv is very easily propagated by division of larger clumps.
Sempervivum arachnoideum CV was featured as Plant of the Week March 2-8, 2007.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.