Sempervivum atlanticum (Hen and Chicks)

Scientific Name

Sempervivum atlanticum (Ball) Ball

Common Names

Hen and Chicks


Monanthes atlantica

Scientific Classification

Family: Crassulaceae
Subfamily: Sedoideae
Tribe: Sedeae
Subtribe: Sedinae
Genus: Sempervivum


Sempervivum atlanticum is a succulent plant with small rosettes of light apple-green leaves in tight clusters. It is a rapid multiplier. Rosettes grow up to 3.2 inches (8 cm) in diameter. Short spikes of pastel flowers appear in summer. After flowering, the mother rosette dies to leave room for the chicks.


USDA hardiness zones 4a to 10a: from −30 °F (−34.4 °C) to 35 °F (+1.7 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Sempervivums are not difficult to grow, provided they are not waterlogged and killed from excess watering. They can be easily grown outdoors and in containers, and they earned the name "Houseleeks" from their tendency to root on the roofs of houses. After the mother plant flowers, it will naturally die, but the plant has likely produced many offsets that will continue to grow by this time. These are excellent for cold windows. Sempervivum earned their popular name "Hen and Chicks" from their growth habit. The mother plant, or hen, sends off numerous offsets, clustering around her base like chicks. These offsets can be easily repotted, or the plants can be left to form a clumping mat.

Repot as needed, preferably during the warm season. To repot a succulent, make sure the soil is dry before repotting, then gently remove the pot. Knock away the old soil from the roots, making sure to remove any rotted or dead roots in the process. Treat any cuts with a fungicide. Place the plant in its new pot and backfill with potting soil, spreading the roots out as you repot. Leave the plant dry for a week or so, then begin to water lightly to reduce the risk of root rot.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Sempervivum.


Sempervivum atlanticum is native to Morocco.


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Caring for Your Hens and Chicks Plants

Once established, the maintenance of hens and chicks is minimal.   You’ll need to remove the old hens, after they flower, and divide chicks as needed. Except in extremely hot, dry situations, you won’t even need to give them supplemental water. No fertilizer is needed.

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

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The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

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The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

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The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

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The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Plants→Sempervivum→Hen and Chicks (Sempervivum 'Spumanti')

Data specific to Sempervivum (Edit)
Hybridizer:Truls Jensen and Emma Elliott (Wild Ginger Farm)
Country of Origin:(US) United States
Year of registration:?
Soil type:Dry
Well draining
Loamy / Medium
Sandy / light
Other: The soil type will depend on what your weather conditions are like. Just make sure it drains well.
Water:Very low
Does not like wet feet
Pests and Diseases:Pest resistant
General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit:Cactus/Succulent
Life cycle:Perennial
Sun Requirements:Full Sun to Partial Shade
Minimum cold hardiness:Zone 4a -34.4 °C (-30 °F) to -31.7 °C (-25 °F)
Flower Time:Summer
Late summer or early fall
Other: It may be several years before it blooms
Uses:Provides winter interest
Suitable for miniature gardens
Wildlife Attractant:Bees
Resistances:Deer Resistant
Propagation: Seeds:Provide light
Stratify seeds: Stratifying seeds may improve germination, but is not required
Suitable for wintersowing
Sow in situ
Will not come true from seed
Propagation: Other methods:Offsets
Containers:Suitable in 1 gallon
Suitable in 3 gallon or larger
Needs excellent drainage in pots
Miscellaneous: Monocarpic

When ATP forum moderator Lynn Smith (valleylynn) asked me to write this article, she commented in her typically enthusiastic way that a visit to our nursery had transformed her thinking about gardening with Sempervivums. At Wild Ginger Farm, we specialize in alpine and rock garden plants and feature Sempervivums in our naturalistic display gardens. Written by Emma Elliot of Wild Ginger Farms.

There are 2 more images of this plant. Click to view them.

A comment by Truls Jensen:

Rosa Spumanti and Spumanti are siblings but individual cultivars. Spumanti was a volunteer seedling that was profusely netted and that produced many small offsets so that when grown in a container it appears to be foaming over, hence the name Spumanti (foam or sparkling in Italian). Rosa Spumanti is similar except the rosettes are slightly larger and blushed with red and not quite as 'sparkly'.

I'll take a look at the chapter this evening.

Wild Ginger Farm
24000 Schuebel School Rd
Beavercreek, OR 97004

Watch the video: Mother hen protects her chicks from the wind.

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