Ruby Heart Hens and Chicks
Once you start collecting Sempervivums, you won’t be able to stop! These jewel-like Spirits will charm you with their mesmerizing geometric growth patterns and their vibrant colors, ranging from green to blue to white to red to dark purple, and everything in between. Plus, they are so petite that every garden has room for them. Ruby Heart is an especially dramatic Sempervivum with richly colored red leaves tipped in soft jade-green. It’s a perfect low edger for sunny, dry beds and borders, and it’s a natural for planting in and around walls and rock gardens. Get started on your Semp collection now!
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. Ruby Heart was chosen for its striking red/green bicolor pattern.
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 Ruby Heart Chicks and move them around to other parts of the garden to start new colonies.
How to Grow
Plant Ruby Heart 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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