Hens and chicks hail from northern Africa, western Asia, and Europe. People love them for multiple reasons: their ability to thrive in rocky soil, drought conditions, and freezing winters. These low-maintaining succulents are an excellent choice for beginners.
Hens and chicks need full sun for 8-10 hours, temperature ranging between 65°F and 75°F, well-drained rocky soil, watering 1-2 times a week, and occasional watering in winter. There is a lot more to know about the Hens and chicks.
If you need the proper care tips for Hens and Chicks, this article will help you. I have shared all the details that can give you deep knowledge about these succulents to make caring easy for you.
13 care tips for Hens and chicks
Let us dive into all the essential requirements of Hens and chicks to understand them and get the best results.
1. Plant Hens and chicks at a site where they receive 6-8 hours of sunlight throughout the day.
Hens and Chicks are fans of full sun.
They need full sun to develop and thrive.
The larger varieties will grow seamlessly under the full sun for 8-12 hours.
It makes them bright and colorful.
For example, the dwarf Arachnoideum and Globiferums, the small varieties, will need 4-6 hours of the direct morning sun.
They won’t tolerate full sun throughout the day.
Excessive exposure causes sunburn.
The same applies to the younger plants.
They will need protection for at least 1-2 weeks. Their roots are yet to develop.
If exposed to direct sun from the beginning, they will suffer dehydration and sunburn.
Do not abruptly change the position of the plants, especially those that were receiving morning or filtered sun.
Their leaves will get sunburnt if they suddenly receive daytime and afternoon sun for a long time.
If you want to change their location, do it gradually. Don’t be impulsive.
2. Plant your Hens and chicks in well-drained and neutral soil for best results.
The soil quality for Hens and Chicks is more about drainage and less about nutrition.
The soil must drain excess water properly.
Some soil mix recommendations are:
The soil mix recipes will also have a neutral pH level, ideal for the plant.
Don’t use peat or compost. A nutrient-rich soil can initiate elongation and root rot.
Rocky soil is also suitable for drainage. This substrate doesn’t hold moisture for a long time.
Root development can be challenging, but the plant can adjust due to shallow roots.
Once established, they will thrive.
You can also plant your Hens and chicks on other substrates, like gravel beds and large rock slabs.
3. The best time to plant Hens and Chicks is spring.
Hens and Chicks grow actively during the spring and summer seasons.
You must plant them in the springtime.
In most cases, the summer season is avoided because of the scorching sun.
Hens and Chicks will be rooting and thriving in the spring.
Do not plant Hens and Chicks in the fall.
Soon temperature will start dropping, and winter will arrive.
Hens and Chicks will slow down their growth in low temperatures.
As a result, they will fail to grow roots and survive winter.
Also read: Are Hens And Chicks Annual Or Perennial?
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4. Water your Hens and chicks once a week in their growing season.
Watering Hens and Chicks depends on many factors – season, substrate, plant variety.
In general, the Hens and Chicks will grow well if watered once a week during their growing season, that is, spring.
It might change during the summers, depending on the climate conditions.
If the summers are too hot and dry, they will need watering twice a week.
When the second half of the fall comes, cut back the watering frequency and reduce when winter arrives.
If Hens and Chicks grow in garden-sand soil, watering once a week through spring and summer is enough.
But if they are growing over gravel beds and rock slabs, they will need regular watering daily.
The larger Hens and Chicks need more water in less frequency.
The plant’s broad leaves can hold enough moisture for a long time.
But the small varieties require more frequent watering in less quantity because their leaves are not yet broad.
Moreover, they are yet to reach their potential.
To avoid overwatering or underwatering, water the Hens and Chicks when the top 2-3 inches of the soil gets dry.
5. Hens and Chicks can tolerate low temperatures but not high.
Another feature that makes Hens and Chicks demanding is their ability to endure low temperatures.
They can survive at temperatures of -40°F outside.
They naturally grow in hardiness zones 3-8.
Generally, Hens and Chicks thrive under an average temperature ranging from 65°F to 75°F.
Hens and Chicks can grow at comfort with their soil bed covered by a thick layer of snow.
They will not grow but will remain dormant, i.e., a survival mode.
If the temperatures are too high, you have to amend their growing conditions.
The plant will stiffen up, shrink and close its rosettes.
Hens and Chicks can even go through a semi-dormant stage.
They will face severe sunburns when exposed to high temperatures and scorching sun.
Though watering decreases sunburn risk, it might not help if the water sits in the middle of the rosette.
It works as a magnifying glass for the sun, increasing the risk of sunburn.
Reduce or avoid water Hens and Chicks during winters.
They will barely consume water because they are not growing.
It causes root rot.
6. Hens and Chicks don’t need high humidity.
Very little is spoken about the humidity need of Hens and Chicks.
It is because they don’t need much humidity.
Average humidity levels between 30 and 50% will be enough.
They can’t withstand warm temperatures accompanied by high temperatures.
It will instead rot the plant.
7. You have to prepare the Hens and Chicks for winter by overwintering them.
Hens and Chicks will only survive the winter if you prepare them for winter or over-winter them.
Before winter arrives, spray some fungicide on the plant.
Spraying some fungicides will reduce the chances of fungal development in this plant.
For overwintering them to survive winter:
- Add a layer of mulch with pebbles or stones. Don’t use dried bark or leaves. It will increase fungal development.
- Reduce watering from the second half of the fall.
- When winter arrives, Hens and Chicks don’t need much light like the growing months because they don’t grow. So, decrease the light by creating a shade. Take potted plants indoors.
- For potted Hens and Chicks outdoors, put them on the ground. It will save the foliage damage from frosty winds.
- Use plastic pots. Terra cotta or clay pots can break due to frozen ground.
- The plant will receive a hint of winter arrival by these steps and prepare to survive winter.
8. You can take the potted Hens and Chicks inside in winter.
Hens and Chicks can be grown both in containers and in the ground.
If you have kept your Hens and Chicks in pots outside, you can bring them indoors.
It will stop them from going dormant because they will not get much cold inside.
Indoors, they will grow slowly.
In that case, you have to continue watering.
Water the plants once every 2-3 weeks.
Check the moisture level of the soil before watering.
You can still enjoy their growth indoors.
9. Hens and chicks don’t need much fertilizer.
Fertilizing is unnecessary, but little fertilizing in the growing season encourages robust growth.
Hens and Chicks do not need fertilizers for their development.
They release a chemical called auxins that facilitate their growth.
If you are at this point, you must have read the “soil” point where I noted their thriving in poor soil.
They grew over rock slabs with less or no soil in their native land.
But it won’t harm these succulents if you feed them.
It promotes faster growth of the plant and more delivery of baby plants.
Apply a mild, balanced, and diluted fertilizer by making the strength to half.
Do it during their growing time once.
For pellets, use only 2-3 pellets under the mother plant.
Water the plant thoroughly to distribute the nutrients.
Avoid fertilizing in any other season.
Don’t over-fertilize, or you will see wild and stretchy growth in them.
10. Divide and propagate your Hens and chicks to get more of them.
One exciting feature of Hens and Chicks is they multiply to produce baby plants.
These can be propagated by dividing.
In their every growing season, one hen produces 2-8 chicks.
Some varieties can produce 10-15 chicks.
The larger varieties will have only 3-5 chicks, but they will be large enough.
You can plant them individually or in clusters.
Divide them carefully and plant them in the garden bed.
Water the plants 3-4 days after planting.
Shade them for 1-2 weeks.
They don’t have roots right now, so don’t expose them to full sun.
Once established, let them have adequate sunlight.
Sometimes, they might need shade for 1 month, provided you propagated in the summer.
They are supposed to grow roots within 30-40 days.
Fertilize them in a small amount with a mild fertilizer.
Another way is by seeds.
For this, you have to wait for several years until they flower and die.
Collect the seeds, clean them, and spread them in the soil.
Cover them lightly. Start with seeds indoors to control their requirements.
Water them lightly with a sprayer.
You can propagate them anytime except in winter.
They remain dormant in winter.
Also, the dwarf varieties should not be propagated in the summers because they cannot withstand such high temperatures.
11. Transplant your Hens and chicks for more space.
Dividing the Hens and Chicks from time to time gives the mother plant more space to grow and produce babies.
When dividing the young plants from the mother plant, the latter gets enough space to multiply more.
The more space they get, the more babies they will produce.
Divide them carefully.
You can either cut off some stem or let it stay.
Cut if it’s too long.
Plant them in the bed.
Maintain a distance of 4-inch between each plant.
It will give them space to reach their potential size and multiply profusely without fighting for more room.
Fertilizing during the spring also helps in producing more baby plants.
12. You can stress your Hens and chicks to reveal its true colors.
Hens and chicks can turn red when stressed.
I am talking about healthy stress.
Stressing the plant on purpose can expose its colors.
It happens mostly during temperature change (winter end and early spring), extreme temperatures (both hot and cold), and exposure to the sun for more extended periods.
They have two pigments, anthocyanin, and carotenoid.
These get produced to protect the plant when they face these stresses.
Watering the plant sparingly will also make them red.
When you water rarely and keep them thirsty for some time, they will begin storing water in their leaves.
It will make the leaves broad, juicy and red due to the constant water storage. But don’t keep them thirsty for long.
13. Hens and Chicks will flower once before they die.
Hens and Chicks live about 3-4 years or more.
Eventually, they will flower once and die after several years of living.
You can either let the flower die on its own or cut it off when you see the flower stalk.
If you don’t cut off the flower stalk and allow blooming, once the flower fades, you will get seeds.
You can try seed propagation by them.
If you cut off the flower stalk, it will not stop the plant from dying.
Eventually, they will die.
When you cut off the stalk, it will be your last chance to get more baby plants from it.
Don’t confuse the flower stalk with leggy Hens and Chicks.
An elongated plant looks weak and floppy, but a flower stalk is full and bushy.
Final thoughts on Hens and chicks care
Hens and Chicks are easy-to-grow plants that will not need much of your attention. They can thrive even in utter negligence.
But no matter how easy growing plants they are, some care tips need to be followed to keep them healthy and long-lasting.
Let them have adequate light and water, depending on the varieties.
Propagate to get more of these succulents. Transplant the babies timely to give them space to multiply more.
You can fertilize, but you don’t have to if you are unsure. Prepare these succulents for the winter to help them survive the cold.