Red Beauty Hens & Chicks
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You would expect Sempervivums to be divas—fussy and hard to grow in the garden. These enchanting Spirits look like precious gemstones. They grow in geometric rosettes as if cut by a master jeweler, and they come in a wealth of colors, such as emerald, amethyst, aquamarine, and ruby. But Semps are some of the most easy-to-please Spirits in the garden, and they actually thrive on neglect! Red Beauty is an elegant jade-green Sempervivum with bright ruby-red tips. Use it to spice up the front of your entryway garden, foundation beds, or patio plantings. This is also the perfect plant to use in conjunction with a retaining wall or rockwork of any kind.
- 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. Red Beauty was chosen for its striking two-tone red-on-green drama.
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 Red Beauty Chicks and move them around to other parts of the garden to start new colonies.
How to Grow
Plant Red Beauty 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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