Sempervivum tectorum succulent (common houseleek) is an evergreen perennial plant that’s native to Europe, North Africa, and the temperate regions of Asia. It grows naturally in the cracks of walls and rocks, and once it’s established, it needs very little care to survive.
If you’re looking for low-maintenance plants to add to your garden, this little succulent may be just what you need!
There are many reasons why succulents are so popular, and one of them is their appearance on the cover of thousands of magazines worldwide. One of the most common succulents on magazine covers belongs to the genus Sempervivum, and it’s native to Europe, parts of Asia, and North Africa.
The species Sempervivum tectorum succulent, commonly known as common houseleek, is also frequently used in rock gardens and alpine or rock gardens in temperate climates such as in North America, Europe, and Asia.
Make your home and yard welcoming to everyone and help protect it against the elements with Sempervivum tectorum succulent (common houseleek). This low-maintenance, rosette-shaped succulent doesn’t require much light or water to survive but thrives in full sun and sandy, well-drained soil.
Common Houseleek can be planted throughout the year, and its small, star-shaped flowers bloom from June through August. Common Houseleek succulents are best propagated by division in spring or summer.
Origin and distribution
Sempervivum tectorum succulent is a species of flowering plant in the family Crassulaceae, native to southwestern Europe and northwestern Africa, where it grows in many habitats, including rocky mountainsides and coastal cliffs. It is also commonly known as hen and chicks or hen’s-and-chicks. The name sempervivum comes from Latin, meaning always alive.
The name hens-and-chicks refers to its growth habit: each rosette produces new plants by branching; these then form their own rosettes which are separate but attached to their parent by a short stem. Each individual plant forms more than one such stem; they may be short and upright or long and trailing, depending on variety and growing conditions.
Sempervivum tectorum propagation
Sempervivum tectorum succulent reproduces both by fragmentation and seed, but it’s slower-growing from seed than from offsets because it germinates very slowly in cool conditions.
Sow outdoors in late fall or early spring. Germination may take up to 6 weeks, and that makes its propagation even more difficult when compared to other species of Sempervivum, where germination is often much faster.
When sowing seeds, keep them warm until they sprout; they should not be allowed to freeze.
The easiest way to propagate Sempervivum tectorum succulent is by taking small divisions off an existing plant—just look for a rosette with a couple of leaves attached, cut it off at soil level with a sharp knife or shears, and replant immediately.
If you are propagating from seed, sow indoors in late winter or early spring. Sow them on top of peat moss in pots; germination may take up to 8 weeks. When they have sprouted, move plants into larger containers until they’re ready to be planted outdoors.
The best time to transplant houseleeks is in the late summer or early fall when temperatures cool down a bit but there’s still plenty of sunlight available. Transplanting should be done carefully because roots can break easily during handling.
Sempervivum tectorum care
Sempervivum tectorum succulent is a common succulent. It is very easy to care for and grows well indoors or outdoors.
The best part about these succulents is that they can be propagated from cuttings so it’s easy to increase your collection of them over time! All you need to do is take a cutting, remove any leaves from it, let it dry out for a few days, then stick it in some soil and give it some water.
It can tolerate low light but grows best in bright, indirect light and will be happier than in a very dark corner. This is one succulent that doesn’t need to be in direct sun—it will actually get leggy or stretched out if you put it in a south-facing window. However, if you want to keep your plant indoors with low light and no windows, it can grow happily for years without sun at all.
Because Sempervivum tectorum succulent is relatively low-maintenance, it’s a good plant to start with if you’re unfamiliar with succulents or have not grown them before.
They thrive in soil that doesn’t dry out completely and like partial shade, making it an ideal indoor plant if you tend to forget about watering. They are also tolerant of clay soil and low humidity conditions when planted outdoors. If your sempervivum starts looking leggy, simply cut off some of its stems and replant them.
These particular succulents like to be slightly dry during their resting period, and slightly moist during active growth. If you’re struggling to keep them alive, try searching for a watering schedule that works best for you! Otherwise, make sure to keep your Sempervivum tectorum succulent in well-drained soil with plenty of sunlight.
Fertilizing Sempervivum tectorum succulents will help it grow quickly. However, it’s best to only fertilize during its active growing period in spring and summer. The growth of some succulents can be stunted by over-fertilization. For best results, select a fertilizer with a high concentration of phosphorus and potassium, like 15-30-15 or 8-8-8.
These elements are essential for healthy plant growth. Be sure to read instructions on how much to use and apply according to package directions. Never fertilize in fall or winter when plants are dormant at any point of the year, as they could burn from excess nutrients. If you have any questions about what kind of fertilizer is right for your succulents, consult an expert at your local garden center.
In common with most other succulents, Sempervivum tectorum succulents can survive in a wide range of temperature and sunlight conditions. It grows in shady areas outdoors and is happy to be left in bright sunlight indoors. The plant cannot tolerate frosty conditions but can withstand heat very well when acclimatized slowly.
This plant thrives in temperate climates, meaning it prefers temperatures between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. To achieve optimal growth, keep your houseleek outside in an area where it will receive at least five hours of full sunlight per day. As long as temperatures are moderate and the sunlight is adequate, you can place your houseleek just about anywhere, in containers or on shelves indoors or outdoors.
Sempervivum tectorum succulent is often called common houseleek and grows naturally in rocky, gravelly soil that gets a lot of sun. In nature, it can be found growing on rocks and shaded ledges. The plant requires high humidity to thrive. In your home, grow it on a windowsill where it receives plenty of indirect sunlight but not direct light, as direct sunlight can burn its leaves and stem.
The ideal humidity range is between 50 and 70 percent. If your home falls outside of that range, you can use a humidifier or a pebble tray to help keep it healthy. For every 5-inch pot, fill one-third of it with small pebbles and add water until they’re fully submerged. Set your succulents on top of the pebbles, but make sure there’s enough room for them to grow without touching each other.
If left alone, houseleeks will grow into thick clumps in a matter of years. While they look more attractive when fuller, you can divide them every 3 to 4 years and enjoy more plants. Spring is usually a good time to prune houseleeks. Try digging around each plant with your hands until you can easily pull it apart into pieces, or use gardening shears if you need help severing large sections of roots and stems. Then replant each new piece separately and water well.
When to repot
Repot Sempervivum tectorum succulents in spring, right after they bloom. This is also a good time to dig up and divide clumps if they have become crowded. In fall, repot again when temperatures drop. Sempervivums prefers full sun to partial shade and need well-drained soil to remain healthy. They’re hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 3 through 9.
Most succulents go dormant in cold temperatures or if they lack sunlight. If your Sempervivum has wilted or died back, cut it to the ground and wait until spring to see if it re-emerges. It may survive if you water it occasionally during dormancy; otherwise, you can discard it. You may also be able to propagate new plants from cuttings and save seeds by storing them in a dark cool spot over winter—if you can find any!
Sempervivum tectorum flower & fragrance
The leaves of Sempervivum tectorum succulent have a pleasant lemon scent. The flowers are pale pink or white and grow in clusters at stem tips. Planted in garden beds and hanging baskets, common houseleeks are delightful additions to any landscape from late winter through early spring.
Sempervivum tectorum succulent grows quickly in early spring but will slow its growth as summer approaches. A common misconception about succulents is that they are slow-growing plants; however, with a little effort, it is possible to create unique geometric displays of these low-maintenance plants.
Although Sempervivum tectorum succulent (common houseleek) is poisonous, ingestion of houseleeks generally does not result in serious symptoms. Nonetheless, it’s still important to keep houseleeks away from small children and pets who might be tempted to nibble on them.
Eating too many houseleeks can lead to an upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea. You should seek medical attention if you think your child or pet has eaten too many of these plants.
USDA hardiness zones
Sempervivum tectorum succulent does well in USDA hardiness zones 3 through 8. The plant will need to be protected from freezing temperatures, which can kill it. If you live in a cold climate, you may want to consider planting your Sempervivum tectorum succulent indoors during the winter months and moving it outside when warmer weather returns.
In addition to being susceptible to frost, these plants are also very sensitive to drought conditions. It’s important that they receive regular watering throughout their growing season; otherwise, they will likely wither and die.
Pests and diseases
If your Sempervivum tectorum succulent (common houseleek) plant becomes infested with pests or disease, here’s what you can do to remedy it. The best way to prevent pests and diseases is to keep your potted plants as healthy as possible by providing them with proper amounts of sunlight, water, and nutrients.
You can also take certain steps in order to control pests and diseases once they appear on your succulents. For example, if aphids are attacking your common houseleek plant, you can spray them off with a strong stream of water from a hose.
However, if there are too many aphids for a stream of water to be effective at controlling them, then you may need to use an insecticidal soap instead. Another thing that helps prevent pests and diseases from taking over your succulents is making sure that they get enough light.
With proper care, Sempervivum tectorum succulent are very easy to grow. They are winter hardy, meaning they will often survive outdoors in northern regions. However, it is best to bring them indoors during harsher months and treat them as seasonal plants.
It’s also a good idea to change their pots on a yearly basis so they don’t become root-bound. Finally, make sure not to overwater them!