The mother rosette (hen) spreads in all directions by horizontal stems to form offsets (chicks). In summer, leafy, pubescent, upright flowering stalks rise from the hen to as much as 12” tall topped with cymes of red-purple flowers. After the hen flowers, it sets seed and dies leaving the chicks to fill in the space and spread, hence the sometimes used common name of hens and chicks for this plant. Plants are primarily grown in gardens for their attractive and unusual foliage. In Europe, sempervivum was once planted on roofs of houses for a number of reasons, including warding off lightning/fire, holding slates in place or providing emergency salad food (edible leaves as roof leeks) in winter.
Genus name comes from the Latin words semper meaning always and vivus meaning alive or living.
Specific epithet comes from the Latin word tectum meaning roof.
No serious insect or disease problems. Rust, leaf/stem rot and root rot.
Rock garden, border front, rock crevices, along stone walls, small area ground cover, edging or foundations. Containers. Best when planted in groups or massed as a ground cover.