Sempervivum, or hens and chicks, is a unique and hardy succulent. Hens and chicks plants, by their nature, require less water than most common plants. This plant has fleshy leaf rosettes that tend to hold water. As a result, this low-maintenance plant may grow with significantly less water than other indoor or outdoor plants.
While hens and chicks can survive for long without water, they will not flourish in a prolonged dry environment. Again, keep in mind that it may not stay for long without water when it is still young.
Read on as we delve into the golden tips to water your hens and chick succulent.
1. Watering Depends on the Type of Soil
Hens and chicks thrive in rocky, sandy soil, making them perfect for rock gardens. They will also do well in flower beds with fast well-draining soil when planted outdoors.
Here is how you can prepare a well-draining potting mix at home:
Step 1: Mix one portion of coarse sand with two potions of potting mix containing coconut coir, fir bark, or peat moss. The potting mix adds nutrients to the soil.
Step 2: Add an equal amount of perlite, pumice, or sand to the mixture. This portion will help in water drainage.
Step 3: Combine all the portions in a 1:1 ratio, and you can add a little bit of succulent fertilizer for additional soil nutrients. When mixing, ensure the soil does not form into balls but spreads well.
The type of soil it is growing on will determine your watering schedule. If Sempervivum grows in clay soil, you can water it at least once a month in the summer. Clay soil takes a long time to dry up; first, the top layer dries while a crust forms preventing the lower layer from losing water.
In this type of soil, hens and chicks do not require watering at any time of year other than the summer months.
On the other hand, sandy soil drains water quickly, even when heavily watered if there is no rain, water hens, and chicks two times a week during summer.
In the second half of fall and throughout the winter, Sempervivum in sandy soil may not require watering; they will have enough moisture from rainfall. You can only water them when there is no precipitation at least once in two weeks.
2. Watering Hens and Chicks in Different Seasons
In the summer, water hens and chicks more often. During this period, the sun dries the soil quite fast. Therefore, you may have to water it two times a week when there is no precipitation or once a week with rainfall.
If the topsoil does not dry in one day, no additional watering is required. The succulent leaves and stem are sufficiently fleshy, holding much water in them, and this makes the plant able to endure the heat without water for 2-3 days. Furthermore, there is enough moisture content deep in the soil for the roots.
If you water the plant more often, it will die from root rots. You only need to moisten the soil around the plant to grow.
Watering during autumn is almost not necessary. During this period, the plant tends to enter dormancy in preparation for winter. Furthermore, at this time of the year, the autumn rains start. But it doesn’t mean it doesn’t need water; at this time, water it once per week.
An only exception is at the start of autumn when there is still strong sunshine drying up the soil, in which case you have to water your Sempervivum.
During winter, hens and chicks do not require watering. At this time, they enter dormancy and may experience little to no growth at all. Moreover, winter sunshine isn’t strong enough to dry the soil. All this makes watering not necessary.
Watering during winter is more likely to end in the plant rotting.
Pro Tip: If planted in different climate regions where the soil dries up during winter, making the plant lack water ultimately, you may need to water it at least once every two weeks.
During spring, hens and chicks thrive; this time, the plant needs a proper watering schedule. Ensure to keep the soil moist enough for it to grow. You will need to water it once a week. If the plant has lots of rosettes, it’ll need more water.
Constantly be checking on the ground moisture by digging your finger one inch into the ground to determine the ground dumbness. If the soil is dry, water it.
However, when there is less rain with strong sunshine nearing the end of spring, which doesn’t happen often, you’ll have to water your plant.
Here is a table summary of watering your plant in different seasons.
|Season||Clay Soil||Cactus Mix/Succulent Soil|
|Spring||–||Once a week|
|Winter||Once in four weeks||Once a week|
|Autumn||Once a week||Once a week|
|Summer||Once a week||Two times a week|
3. Consider the Hens and Chicks Plant Size
Another golden rule to look at when watering your plant is its size. An adult Sempervivum will have a different watering schedule to a young hens and chicks plant.
Water newly transplanted plants every two days to help them thrive. However, immediately they are of age, reduce watering and proceed as you would for an adult Sempervivum.
The best you can do during propagation is to have the soil moist. Remember not to make it soggy, or the stem or leaf cuttings will rot.
On the other hand, grown Sempervivum has less surface area to volume ratio; hence, it experiences a low evaporation rate. However, the plant will still need watering but water them less often as they retain more moisture better than young plants. So water them at least once a week and during drought, at most two times a week.
4. Have a Look at the Type of Container You Use for Planting
Hens and chicks are shallow-rooted plants, and this means you can grow them in miniature or shallow pots. While hens and chicks will look good in almost every pot: clay, plastic, or glass pots. Not every pot will let your plant thrive well when watering.
The size of the container also plays a role in how often you need to water it. A small container or shallow pot lets the soil dry pretty fast; therefore, you may need to water hens and chicks more often in such containers.
In contrast, a larger container helps retain much soil moisture; hence might need watering less often.
When it comes to the container material, a clay pot works best. Clay pots help absorb moisture from the soil. In addition to having drainage holes, they let the soil lose water slowly and help prevent root rot.
Pots made from clay are terracotta and ceramic pots. Other pots other than clay are made of wood, plastic, metals, or fiberglass. Before using them, ensure they have drainage holes to prevent water from sitting at the bottom when watering.
5. Location of Your Plant
Whether growing outdoors or indoors, the watering schedule is bound to be different.
How to Water Hens and Chicks Outdoors
Watering outdoors Sempervivum depends on the seasons and type of soil. During the growing season, water once a week, and during winter, only water if the soil is dry. You can check the soil moisture content by digging an inch into the soil using your fingers, or you can purchase a moisture meter.
The right time to water your plant is early morning or late evening. Early morning watering helps the plant have enough moisture to help it survive the noon heat.
Keep in mind to always water only when the soil is dry.
How to Water Hens and Chicks Indoors
Water your indoors hens and chicks until water sips through from the pot’s drainage holes during the growing periods. Water draining is also beneficial in removing excess plant fertilizer from saturating the soil at the bottom. Once the soil dries up, add more water.
It is best to leave your plant unwatered during dormancy, or you may water it once a month. The best you can do is prune dead leaves or lower leaves that look soft and squishy.
In the winter, when you may use a heater to warm up your home, the heater will dry up the air, and your plant will drain the little available moisture in the soil fast enough. You can be watering the plant at least once the soil is dry. Another thing, place a tray with water next to the plant to humidify the surrounding air.
Suppose you are a gardening beginner or an expert looking for a plant that is easy to care for, then we recommend hens and chicks. This plant can go for long without water, and when it needs water, you will be able to tell from its signs.
We hope with these golden rules, you now know when and how often to water your hens and chicks plant in different seasons.