Friday, June 9, 2017

Hen and Chick Garden Design Idea

Note that today's post is a personal gardening subject, slightly off-topic from the usual fare found here.

Here in Colorado, we love low water landscapes using succulents and xeriscape plants.

Although I envy those in milder climates like California for the weather conditions suitable for growing the beautiful varieties of Echeveria, here we are privileged to grow its lowly step sister, Sempervivum, commonly known as hen and chicks.

While trying to decide how to incorporate a few different varieties of Sempervivum into my front garden area to "show them off" I came up with an idea, which you'll see in the photos below.

I went to our local builder's supply store and picked up some small concrete blocks which are open on both ends. I set them in some rocky ground cover, filled them with dirt, and started a different Sempervivum variety in each block.

Now, the project has been established for about five years, and it hasn't needed a bit of attention from me.

How's that for low maintenance, low water landscaping?

Sempervivum are also referred to as houseleeks and have wide ranging medicinal properties. They are native to widespread areas from Morocco to Iran, through the mountains of Iberia, the Alps, Carpathians, Balkan mountains, Turkey, the Armenian mountains, in the northeastern part of the Sahara Desert, and the Caucasus.

Echeveria, on the hand, originated from semi-desert areas of Central America, Mexico and northwestern South America.


  1. Wow! These are beautiful-- I hadn't realized how many varieties of hens-and-chicks there are.

    I assume the concrete blocks moderate soil temperature and moisture fluctuation, as well as elevate and show off the plants. Good idea.


    1. Actually the concrete blocks get extremely hot and there's not all that much soil in them and they don't get watered other than our limited rainfall. The hen and chicks do all the work! A testament to finding the right plant for the right spot when landscaping.