When it comes to making your garden fuller, knowing whether a plant can multiply or not is of utmost importance. Having more plants without repeatedly buying them is economical. Today, I will discuss whether Hens and chicks can multiply or not.
Generally, Hens and chicks will multiply every year by producing small plantlets called Chicks around the mother plant called Hen. These plants multiply through underground roots, and when the mother plant matures, you can clip the roots, remove the mother plant, and transplant the new chicks.
Depending on the species, the plant produces a certain number of offsets. Generally, you can expect two to six Chicks from one Hen. Read this article to find more information about the spreading of Hens and chicks.
How do Hens and Chicks multiply?
Generally, Hens and Chicks live for three years. But you can have these plants for more years without frequent purchase.
These plants produce several baby plants at the base of the mother plant. You can collect, divide and plant them to have more Hens and Chicks in your garden.
Hens and Chicks will also multiply by producing seeds. They will flower and then die once they become mature after three years.
At the time of blooming, the flower will have seeds after fading. Those seeds get carried by wind, birds or insects, and grow in new areas.
The seedpods will even burst and fall on the ground before you collect them.
Next year, you will find new seedlings. You can also collect these seeds beforehand and grow them according to your advantage. Read further to know about it.
How often do Hens and Chicks multiply?
Hens and Chicks begin to multiply at the arrival of spring when the temperature ranges above 50°F.
In the winter, they remain dormant. Once the winter ends, the plant recovers within 1 or 2 months and starts growing actively again in spring.
Once the temperature reaches 59-68°F, the plant develops small baby plants. All of them start crowding around Mother Hen. This process is called vegetative.
The plant will begin to multiply quickly if its growing conditions are satisfactory.
Typically, Hens and Chicks will multiply a minimum of three times in a year. But it depends on the variety and growing conditions.
The big, healthy, and green-colored Hens and Chicks are supposed to multiply more often than the weak and pale ones. Those kinds bearing dark pigments will spread nicely, more often.
Sometimes, some varieties will produce offsets only once or twice a year.
What can be the expected number and size of the Hens and Chicks offsets?
Generally, one Hen should produce around two to six Chicks in one season with everything correct. But the amount of daughter plants differs depending on the different species of Hens and Chicks.
The mother plant of some varieties can produce up to 10 to 15 baby plants.
On the other hand, the large varieties of Hens and Chicks produce only 3 to 5 baby plants. Though the number is less, these babies will look larger than the other dwarf varieties.
Coming to the size of the baby plants, if you want them to be of an ideal size, you must think about it while planting these mother plants. Planting them with proper space in between will help you get large offsets.
With very little space between the plans, the babies will be smaller.
Additionally, they grow very close to the mother plant. However, it is not the same for dwarf varieties like the Arachnoideums and Globiferums.
The daughter plant of these varieties naturally grows small and close to the mother plant. Specifically, in Globiferums, the offsets grow on the top of the mother plant.
How can I encourage Hens and Chicks to multiply?
Though their multiplication speed is fine, you can still encourage them to increase their reproduction. If you are satisfied with their natural speed rate, you can overlook this point.
Give them sufficient room.
It starts at the time of planting. When you plant Hens and Chicks, maintain a space of about 4 inches minimum. It will let them have enough space for producing many new Chicks.
The more room they will get more Chicks they deliver. Their size will also increase to fill up the gaps left.
Separate and transplant the Chicks on time.
The next important thing is again room. Separating the daughter plants from time to time will give more space to multiply.
When the daughter plants grow close to the plant, they won’t produce more offsets. Separate the daughters and transplant them to give the plant more area for giving birth to more babies.
Transplant those daughter plants that have evolved at least 1 inch in diameter. Transplant the plant in bunches. It will help to survive the transplantation.
Keep an ideal distance in between while planting the daughter plants.
Maintain a space of the same diameter as the adult Hens and Chicks of the same variety.
For example, if you are planting the daughter plants of large varieties, plan them with a distance equivalent to the diameter of the matured ones.
Perform transplantation during the second half of spring or late summer.
Don’t transplant during excessive summer or winter. In the case of sunny weather, create a shade for the plants for 1 to 2 weeks.
Maintain appropriate moisture
Indeed Hens and Chicks can tolerate drought for long stretches. But a good amount of moisture is also necessary to be healthy.
They can handle dry conditions because they hold moisture in their leaves, stems, and roots.
But, during the hot summers, water the plants at least once or twice a week to stay moist. Without proper moisture, they will not produce baby plants. Many things need considerations while watering.
Hot and dry summer days with no rains will require frequent watering to maintain the moisture levels. If the plant grows on gravel or stones, you need to water daily, especially in summers.
Don’t overdo it. Just water enough to keep the plant hydrated.
Let them have an ample amount of sun.
Hens and Chicks will at least need 6 to 8 hours of sunlight. The timing, however, depends on the varieties. The large varieties need 8 to 10 hours of full sun.
The small varieties of the plant will need partial shade alongside 4 to 6 hours of sun, either altogether or in different stretches.
The more sun they get more they will multiply. Without good sunlight, the plant will be long and stretchy. The rosettes will not have prominent colors.
Don’t expose the dwarf varieties to excessive light. If they are getting too much light, create a shade to protect them from sunburns.
Also read: How Much Sun Do Hen And Chicks Need? (Light Requirement)
Fertilizing is unnecessary but helps to multiply more.
Feeding the plant will a little bit of mild fertilizer promotes quicker growth and more offsets. Generally, Hens and Chicks plants don’t require fertilizing. They produce auxins which play a vital role in nurturing them.
The plant itself contains enough vitamins and hormones which support their spreading.
But feeding them slightly during the spring and summer will give them a booster for quick and extra multiplication. Do it only once a month or year in spring or summer.
If you are unsure about monthly feeding, do it once a year.
Also read: Do Hens And Chicks Need Fertilizer? (+Best Fertilizer For Hens And Chicks)
Soil affects their spreading.
A soil that retains excess moisture or has the wrong pH level will affect the plant’s growth and reproduction.
Use a mixture of sand and garden soil/potting soil of 50% each. It will help in draining excess water and also retain moisture. This soil mixture is also neutral as the plant enjoys.
Also read: What Kind Of Soil Do You Use For Hens And Chicks? (+Best Soil Mix)
How do Hens and Chicks multiply by seeds?
Hens and Chicks can grow in new areas by multiplying with seeds. When the plant has finished its three years of lifespan, it will flower once before dying.
Some people cut off the flower in the longing to expand their lifespan. But it will eventually flower and die.
Once the flower fades, it will create seeds if not pinched off. These seeds get carried away by outside factors like wind, birds, and insects. Wherever the seeds fall, they will start germinating to grow new plants.
Always the outside factors are not responsible for the spreading of Hens and Chicks. Sometimes, the seedpod bursts and seeds fall on the ground before you can collect them.
By the upcoming spring, you should notice seedlings.
In this reproduction process, there are chances of hybridization. It will support in acquiring new varieties. If you try to do it by crossing different species of Hens and Chicks, you can get fantastic outcomes.
Planting so many offsets and seeds can cover up a great space in your garden. You will get uncountable new plants from one plant.
The only demerits are, firstly, it will take time to grow and become mature. Secondly, the seeds got poorly transferred with varietal attributes.
How can I grow Hens and Chicks by seeds?
For growing the Hens and Chicks by seeds:
- Wait until they flower.
- Once they bloom, remove the stalk from the plant and store them in a plastic jar till spring.
- When the temperature goes above 50°F, sow them.
- Start seeds indoors. By this, you can control them and protect them from outside factors. Take a 5 to 6 inches deep plastic container having drainage holes. Now add soil. For soil, you should use seedling soil for seed sowing. Fill 3/4th of the container with the soil mix.
- Now, crush the flower stalk to pour the seed on the soil top. There is no need to cover them with soil again.
- Water them carefully. Use a spray bottle instead of a watering can. It will ensure you don’t overwater the seeds.
- Now cover the container and keep them under shade. New seedlings will be sprouting after 10 to 15 days. Ensure that the soil always remains evenly moist, neither too damp nor too dry.
- Remove the cover from the container after a month. You can let the seedlings have some sunlight. During the late summer, shift the seedlings to a spot where you want to have them.
Summing up the growing tips in brief
- Maintain a minimum 4-inch space between the plants for room to multiply faster, bigger and more in number.
- Let them receive at least 6 hours of sunlight. Large varieties require 8 to 10 hours.
- Water them more during hot summers accompanied with no rain for more than ten days. Avoid watering during damp and cold weather.
- Use soil with 50-50% of garden soil and sand.
- Fertilizing is not needed. But for fast growth and more offsets, feed only once a year in the spring.
- Separate the daughter plants and transplant them from time to time to increase the room for spreading. Transplant when they reach 0.5 to 1 inch.
- After flowering, cut the flower stalk, store the seeds until spring, and sow them to enjoy more new Hens and Chicks.
Final thoughts on multiplying Hens and Chicks
You can always enjoy more Hens and Chicks through baby plants or seeds. It is a very economical way to have these pretty succulents all the time.
Another appreciating thing about these succulents is they are perennials. They will always come back each year. Even after they die, they will be back again through the daughter plants. These daughter plants will again get mature and produce lots of babies.
This process will go on. You will never face a shortage of Hens and Chicks.
Though they don’t need much attention, you should still maintain their primary needs like light, water, and soil. Fertilize your Hens and chicks once a year in the spring to promote fast and more baby plants.
Reference: Wikipedia, Iowa State University of Science and Technology, The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, NSDU, The Ohio State University, Missouri Botanical Garden.