Will Hen And Chicks (Sempervivum) Survive Winter?


Here is the time to discuss the topic of wintering sempervivum. There is much to talk about. Some gardeners doubt that this gentle succulent can withstand severe frost since its “brothers” of haworthia and echeveria are not capable of hibernating at low temperatures.

Hen and Chicks can survive in winter, and it is a very frost resistance plant. They can withstand frosts Hardiness zone 3 without shelter. Not all species are equally hardy.

As you can see in the main picture, sempervivum decreases slightly in winter, and its shape changes. The leaves are compressed to the center of the rosette, and it is closed. The plant juices also stop, and the sempervivum stagnates.

Sempervivum can winter to 3 Hardiness zone (USDA) and below. That is, the plant can withstand -30-40 ° F. However, not all varieties can boast such frost resistance. Below I have created a table where you can see what species in which areas can winter.

Name 5 zone 4 zone 3 zone
Sempervivu globiferum open ground and pots open ground and pots open ground and pots
Sempervivum calcareum open ground and pots open ground and pots open ground and pots
Sempervivum tectorum open ground and pots open ground and pots open ground and pots
Sempervivum arachnoideum open ground and pots open ground and pots open ground and pots
Sempervivum macedonicum open ground and pots only open ground
Sempervivum ciliosum open ground and pots only open ground

As you can see from the table, most species and varieties of sempervivum can hibernate in zone 3, both in the containers and in the open ground. The exception is Sempervivum macedonicum and Sempervivum ciliosum since their distribution area is in the south. Therefore, all popular species and varieties can withstand winter almost all over the United States.

From all of the above, you can conclude that sempervivum can survive the winter without problems; in fact, it is not quite so.

During all the time I was growing this succulent, I was repeatedly confronted with frost damage. So it is possible, more often freezing occurs in the second half of autumn. At this time, the plants are not yet ready for the frost, but it happens so that in November can hit severe frost for a short time.

Sempervivum suffers the most during such temperature drops, and the effects will be noticeable only in the spring. The frozen leaves turn black and begin to rot. The picture below shows the impact of an early frost.

Sempervium damage is not so typical, with about 1-2% of my Hens and Chicks being damaged by early frosts. Also, it is necessary to note that after that, the plants recover quickly enough, and in May, traces of damage are no longer visible. Of all the damaged sempervium, only a few are dying.

Another typical case when sempervivum can be badly overwintering is when there is no snow. It often happens that winter is freezing, and there is no snow at all. At this time, the Hens and Chicks rosette may be damaged by low temperature, but as in the first case, they recover quickly.

I have noticed that varieties with large, broad leaves suffer most from the sharp temperature drops. This is because large leaves are juicier; that is, they contain more water. In severe frost, the water freezes, and the leaves crackle, causing damage to the plant.

Varieties and species with small leaves are not damaged by frost at all. At least I didn’t have one.

From the above, we can conclude that sempervium can be damaged by cold in sporadic cases. If the autumn was mild and the temperature was decreasing gradually, the sempervivum was enough time to adapt to the winter and to survive it without problems. Next, we will talk about the care of this succulent during the winter months.

Hens and Chicks plant care winter

In the winter, the care of the sempervivum is minimal, and you do not need to do anything special. However, there is something you still have to do to make wintering easier.

Preparing for winter

The first thing you should do before winter is to spray the plants with a fungicide. Chemical treatment is required to prevent sempervium from fungal diseases. Fungal diseases can develop even in winter, especially if there were no severe frosts.

It is also essential that the soil does not contain much moisture. This is necessary so that the plant does not rot during the winter. To achieve this, you need to add some small rubble to the soil in which the sempervium will grow. This is an optional condition, but it increases the chances of better wintering plants.

I read a lot about the fact that gardeners cover their sempervivum for the winter with cover material, leaves, branches, etc. You may need this if you live in USDA 1-2. However, if not, then I do not recommend cover these plants.

If you cover your hen and chicks for the winter, you will only increase the risk of disease. Also, under the shelter, they love to spend winter insects, which can also find.

The wintering process

The next thing I want to talk about is mulch. People write a lot on the Internet that they mulch sempervivum for the winter. In my opinion, the Hens and Chicks should only be mulched with small pebbles, it looks beautiful and keeps the moisture in dry weather.

It is not necessary to mulch sempervivum organic materials to make them more comfortable in winter. Mulching will not help them, and mulch can be a suitable environment for the development of fungal diseases.

Many ask me if I need a sempervium sun in the winter. At this time, the plant is in hibernation, and he does not require the sun almost. However, the process of photosynthesis did not stop completely, but only very slowly. From this, we can conclude that the plant needs a small amount of light during the winter.

It is not necessary to water the sempervium in winter as the soil is frozen. If winter is warm, there is enough moisture in the ground for these plants. If you water them, then the plants can rot.

After wintering

At the beginning of spring, when the snow begins to thaw, I try to clear this snow so that there is less water. This improves the condition of sempervium. Do this only when there is no prerequisite for repeated frosts.

Next, I clean old leaves that have accumulated at the base of the plant. There may also be leaves that have died in the winter but still have water in it, and it also needs to be removed.

I also carry out the prophylactic treatment with fungicide and insecticide. Insects and their larvae overwinter between the outlets of the sempervivum. Spring is the best time to get rid of them.

Overwintering hens and chicks in pots

Sempervium wintering in containers is not much different than wintering in open ground, although there are some subtleties that we will talk about further.

If you grow hens and chicks outside in pots, then in winter, they should be placed at ground level. Many gardeners grow plants on shelves near walls or plant pots on elevations. There is a high probability that the freezing wind will damage the sempervium.

Many fans of these plants carry pots with their plants to the house or garage for the winter. If you have the time and desire to do so, then do it. I have so many sempervivums growing in pots outside that I don’t have enough room in the house to place them. Also, they may need additional lighting.

Another thing to say is the pots. Use high-quality plastic containers, they will not crack during heavy frosts, and they look quite attractive. Ceramic pots can break under the pressure of frozen ground.

People also ask

Do hens and chicks survive winter?

Yes, of course, the only time hens and chicks plant can be damaged by frost is when there is a sharp temperature drop in late autumn. However, even in this case, the whole plant is not likely to die, only the damaged leaves will die off, and the sempervivum will recover in the spring.

Are all sempervivum cold hardy?

Yes, all sempervivum cold hardy, all species, and varieties withstand frost. There is also no significant difference in frost resistance between different species or varieties.

Winter sempervivum in containers withstand without any problems, and they do not need to be covered or transferred to a secure place.

Are Sempervivums Hardy?

Yes, sempervivum very hardy, it can withstand frosts -40 ° F and even more. It is best for the sempervivum to winter under the snow, but if there is no snow hens and chicks still survive.

How do you winterize Hens and Chicks in Zone 6?

Zone 6 is quite suitable for winter sempervivum. I do nothing special for the plants to survive the cold months. Everything you need to know is described above.

What do you do with potted chicks and chicks in the winter?

In pots the sempervivum winters as well as it does on the flowerbed, I do not recommend something to do with it. Of course, you can put plants in the house, and they overwinter well. However, it takes a lot of effort, and you have to decide if it’s worth it.

Are red Hens and Chicks winter hardy?

I didn’t notice much difference as to how sempervium suffers depending on the color of the leaves. Yes, green varieties are a bit more resistant to frost than colored ones, but the difference is not too big.

Is it possible to transplant sempervivum in winter?

Yes, this is possible if the soil is not frozen. I transplanted the sempervivum many times in winter, and everything was fine. In the spring, the plants came to life and continued to grow. The only thing to note is that you should transplant large rosettes and try not to damage the root system. If you are new to growing sempervivums, I do not recommend replanting them in winter.

Can sempervivum arachnoideum survive winter?

Yes, this species perfectly tolerates winter, it is one of the most frost-resistant sempervivums. I have never had a problem with it after winter.

Igor Viznyy

Hi friends, I have been growing plants for many years and love doing it. You can find more information on the page About Author.

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