Hens and chicks are lovely succulents adding extra charm to your garden. But one question that comes to everyone’s mind is do hens and chicks flower? Let’s find out.
In general, hens and chicks flower only once in their life after it gets 2-3 year old. You can expect them to flower during summer when they get a lot of sunlight and a suitable temperature to bloom. The plant will send a flower stalk from the center, producing tiny star-shaped blooms.
Whether you prune the flower or let it stay, eventually, it will die after its lifecycle ends.
In this article, I will answer some questions related to the flowering of Hens and chicks: when they bloom, what are the symptoms of blooming, what increases blooming and how to prevent blooming.
When do Hens and chicks flower?
When Hens and chicks grow stalk for blooming, it is called a “Rooster.” Typically, Hens and chicks flower when they are about to die. Their lifespan is for two to three years. After that, they will flower once and die.
They bloom mainly during the summers when they receive adequate warmth and long sunny days that encourage flowering.
Naturally, Hens and chicks flower only once. It happens primarily in the months of long, warm summers. But sometimes, they bloom early. They don’t need to wait for three or four years to bloom.
The reason for early flowering is overcrowding or stress. It happens when the plant doesn’t obtain suitable growing conditions. When overcrowded, the plant will struggle for moisture and nutrients.
As a result, they will not grow well anymore and begin flowering.
When the Hens and chicks flower early, it is trying to inform you that it is not doing well in its present circumstances. That is why it flowers to produce and spread seeds in the hope of finding a better growing condition.
Also read: How Fast Do Hens And Chicks Grow?
How do Hens and chicks flower?
Hens and chicks are not famous for their flowering but perennial succulents. Many people are not conscious of their flower production.
Extended stalks will be growing from the middle of the plant. Don’t panic because you haven’t done anything incorrect. The plant is about to bloom from that stalk.
You will find the plant suddenly begins to grow in the upward direction.
This long stalk will continuously push itself upwards and turn into a flower stalk. You can start assuming that the plant will die soon after they flower.
Eventually, the leaves at the stalk’s end, where it stopped its growth, will open wide to disclose flower buds. These buds will bloom during the long and sunny days of summers.
The stalk will have pink-colored flowers. The flower stalk keeps growing tall until it reaches its potential. At what height will the flower stalk ends its growth is not known.
But approximately, it can grow from 1 inch or 1 foot. One cannot confirm its actual potential.
Sometimes, small Hens and Chicks tend to vanish their rosettes and evolve into stalks growing out directly from the ground. It is surprising to see such a sight in the smaller plants.
However, this kind of stalk is not visible in the larger varieties.
What triggers Hens and Chicks to flower?
They will bloom eventually after years. It can either be due to the end of the lifecycle or stress.
Generally, it is surprising to see them flower. In one year, you will not find a single seed in the plant. In the next year or after, you will find more or less all the plants produce seeds.
There is no confirmation behind the reason for their blooming. We can only presume by seeing these succulents flower that their lifecycle has ended or they encountered stress.
Stress can include problems related to light, temperature, or water, for which the plant might struggle to survive. Flowering gets triggered early due to these problems.
After blooming, these succulents will produce seeds to create a new generation of Hens and Chicks. They try to find a better growing condition in a new way through seeds.
Another reason that can trigger blooming is their lifecycle. Hens and Chicks are perennials that would come back each year. When the plant ages, it blooms, produce seeds, and dies.
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How do I know when Hens and chicks are going to flower?
When they are about to flower, the plant will suddenly start growing long and tall from its center. It will continue growing and stop at either 1 inch or 1 foot. This procedure is called a monocarpic process.
When the plant begins to grow tall, it signals that it is now ready for flowering. After flowering, it will fade, produce seeds and die.
Don’t feel disheartened to see them die. It will happen after 3 to 4 years.
Within these years, if they have been receiving good growing conditions, they must have produced a lot of offsets. You will always have them.
You can also have more Hens and Chicks from the seeds. Plant them in the coming spring.
Don’t confuse the plant getting tall with leggy plants. Sometimes, the plant gets leggy due to insufficient sunlight. Their stem gets longer but weaker.
In the case of flowering, the stalk that grows taller will appear healthy and round. It will look bushy with bud clusters in the upward direction.
To confirm whether the Hens and chicks are about to flower or not, check for the following symptoms:
- Stalk develops from the middle of the plant.
- The flower stalk will grow from mature plants only.
- The leaves in the center will close.
- The main stem will get elongated.
- The whole rosette will tilt.
Outdoors, Hens and chicks flowers during summer. For indoor plants, it is late spring or summer.
It can happen early, provided they are facing some kinds of stress. Thus, they will flower early to produce seeds to bear new generations.
Will pruning or fertilizing encourage Hens and chicks to flower?
You cannot encourage the Hens and Chicks to bloom forcefully by pruning. Wait until they finish their lifecycle of three or four years to see them bloom. They will die after flowering.
However, you can keep the plant healthy by dividing the baby plants from the mother plant.
Some baby plants will grow over the mother plant. As a result, the mature hen will be unable to receive proper sunlight. Dividing to plant them in a new place will keep both the mother and babies healthy.
Dividing further gives the plant more room to produce more offsets.
Fertilizing is not necessary for Hens and Chicks but it can boost growth. These plants don’t need any fertilizer to stay healthy. They can survive in infertile soil and even soilless over large rock slabs.
They release a hormone named auxin which facilitates their growth.
Extra nutrients will not cause force blooming. You must wait for the right time to see them blooming.
But still, some gardeners fertilize them once a month or year during their growing season, that is, spring and summer. It can encourage quicker growth and more offsets.
The plant will only reach its mature stage to flower when they remain healthy always. Feeding them with a mild diluted balanced fertilizer ensures the plant’s fast and healthy growth without any trouble.
Can I prevent Hens and chicks from flowering?
Usually, the Hens and chicks will flower and die when they age. But sometimes, they bloom early. It happens when they face some stress, like, overcrowding or improper light, water, or temperature.
But you can prevent them from early blooming by reducing their stress. Try to improve the plant’s growing conditions by:
- Allow them to have sufficient light. The larger species need at least 8 to 10 hours of full sun. The small species require 6 to 7 hours of direct sunlight, either with partial shade or in different stretches.
- Don’t overwater them. You can water at least once or twice a week, depending on the plant’s substrate or the time of year.
To stop them from blooming:
- Pinch off the bloom stalk from the plant.
- If you are late at removing the stalk, it will be a problem for the plant. Try pinching before the flower stalk reaches 4 inches in height.
- Remove the sealed leaves of the developing flower. The leaves should be turning in the upward direction.
- Now scoop out the flower stalk using a knife. Disinfect the knife before using it.
- After removing it, continue to take care of the plant as you used to with adequate light and water.
- Removing the flower stalk from the plant is your last chance to receive baby plants. So, check the plant every week for new growth.
- By removing the flower stalk from the plant, you cannot stop the plant from dying. If the plant has ended its lifecycle, it will be dead even after removing the flower stalk.
Even if you remove the flower stalk from all the Hens and Chicks you own, some will still try to flower. You cannot get the same plant back. But you will get more Hens and Chicks by planting the offsets that have been producing for years before dying.
You can also get more Hens and Chicks if you do not remove the flower because they produce seeds. Collect and plant them in spring to get more plants.
Do not confuse the Chicks with the flower stalk. Some varieties, for instance, Sempervivum Globiferums, produce Chicks on top of the mother plant.
After removing the flower stalk, some baby plants may grow on top, at the place of that stalk. Inspect the plant correctly before removing them immediately without inspecting them correctly.
Hens and Chicks flower care
Proper care of Hens and chick flowers involves negligence. They don’t need you to be caring. They bloom only once, indicating it is their time to say goodbye. Don’t be sad because you will have more offsets to grow more Hens and Chicks.
Let it flower on its own. It will also produce seeds. Collect them to have more plants. Once it flowered, the stem and base of the rosette will be dry and then die. Snip off the stalk instead of pulling it out.
Pulling will hurt some of the baby plants if it produced anymore. You can also let the stem stay in the plant. It will automatically fall off the plant.
The young Chicks will now start growing big to fill up the blanks made by the mature plants after dying. These young plants will again mature to produce new offsets. Like this, you never need to say goodbye to Hens and chicks ever.
Hens and Chicks flower only once, indicating that they are now about to die. A stalk coming from the center of the rosette will grow tall, reaching from 7.5 to 10 cm to 30.5 cm. It will have bud clusters.
Sometimes, they get leggy due to low light. Do not confuse leggy plants with flower stalks. The leggy stems do not contain any bud clusters. Instead, they look weak and tired.
Once they flower, they will produce seeds and die. You can always have them through their offsets and seeds. So you are never going to run out of Hens and chicks.
Sometimes, Hens and Chicks bloom early. It is a sign of stress. Though they will flower eventually after several years, you can stop them from dying right now by minimizing their stress to reduce their flowering.
Fertilizing or dividing doesn’t involve force blooming. But of course, it will keep the plant healthy by ensuring they reach their maturity appropriately without any issues.
Hens and Chicks flowering – FAQs
How often do Hens and Chicks bloom?
Expect Hens and Chicks to bloom only once in a lifetime. They bloom just before completing their lifecycle. They will flower, produce seeds and die. It will happen after two to three years in their reproductive phase.
Will Hens and Chicks come back after flowering?
The plant that produced flower will die after flowering and producing seeds. The particular plant won’t be back. But of course, because of being perennial succulents, Hens and Chicks will come back by growing from offsets and seeds.