Silverine Hens and Chicks
No green thumb required! Sempervivums are ideal Spirits for the beginning gardener. Effortless to maintain, yet colorful and fun, they are incredibly satisfying to grow. You’ll want to collect as many different types as you can, from woolly white varieties like Cobweb to dramatic red and green bicolors like Ruby Heart. Silverine is a sophisticated Semp featuring a complex mix of pastel hues. Its neat rosettes are tinted gray-green with hints of lavender and rose. You can use it to add texture and year-round color to a container planting, rock garden, dry border, or retaining wall. Easy elegance!
- 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. Silverine was chosen for its misty gray-green tones and lavender 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 Silverine Chicks and move them around to other parts of the garden to start new colonies.
How to Grow
Plant Silverine 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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