Pacific Blue Ice Hens and Chicks
So easy, so handsome. Pacific Blue Ice Sempervivum is a simple-to-grow Spirit that looks sharp year-round. Succulent rosettes of foliage mirror the cool blue-gray color of the Pacific Ocean on a stormy day. When nights turn frosty, the leaves become flushed with hints of rosy pink. Use this colorful evergreen to edge a mixed border, top a retaining wall, or dress up a rock garden. You can also incorporate Pacific Blue Ice directly into a dry-stack wall or use it as a component in a container planting. Whatever you do, plant this exquisite charmer where you can appreciate it up close!
- Hardiness Zone: 2-9
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Sempervivums, also known as Houseleeks, are found in the wild clinging to mountainsides in central Europe and around the Mediterranean. These survivors need only a bit of soil to root into and they’re good to go. Long ago they were welcomed into gardens, and Europeans have not only valued their beauty for centuries, but have attributed them with magical powers. According to European folklore, they are believed to ward off lightning strikes when planted on the roof of a house! Today there are thousands of varieties of Sempervivums to be had in a rainbow of colors. Pacific Blue Ice was chosen for its soothing blue-gray tones and pink highlights.
Sempervivums are also called Hens and Chicks because of their unique growth habit. Over time, a single rosette (the Hen) will give rise to a ring of smaller rosettes (the Chicks) around it. The Hen will eventually put up a rather bizarre-looking but attractive pink flower. Afterwards, the Hen dies, but the Chicks live on. You can detach Pacific Blue Ice Chicks and move them around to other parts of the garden to start new colonies.
How to Grow
Plant Pacific Blue Ice Sempervivum where it will receive full or part sun and sharp drainage. That may be in a border with sandy or gravelly soil, a raised bed, a stone wall, or a hillside. Any site where water can get to the roots but not stay there for long periods is good. Root rot is Sempervivum’s only real enemy.
Remove the mother plant after it has flowered; the offsets around it will fill in the empty space. Feel free to move offsets around wherever you like. They will re-establish themselves quickly.
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