Introduction: Planting Hens and Chicks
Hens and chicks are hearty and an excellent plant for a new or beginning gardener. Most can handle temperatures down to -5 Fahrenheit, and can be used as a houseplant, outdoor plant in a pot or can be used as an outdoor ground cover.
Hens and Chicks are shaped like an artichoke with rosettes that vary in size and color, depending on the species they can be bright red, grey and purple, or green. Being they are succulent plants they have high light and low water requirements, since they are able to store water in their leaves.
You can find them as big as 12 inches around and as small as 2 inches at full maturity. Some are 'bearded' with fine or down like hairs and some will appear to be covered in spider webs, depending on what kind of Hens and Chicks you have.
They reproduce via branches or offshoots. As the rosette grows, it puts out shoots or stems, if these shoots get long enough to find soil, they will root and create new rosettes. The first rosette is the "hen", the stems or shoots are the "chicks".
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Step 1: To Plant Hens and Chicks You Will Need:
Your choice of succulent plants found in many Lawn and Garden Shops or just ask a friend who has some Hens for some chicks. I am using Golden Sedum here.
Any kind of planter a minimum of 4 6 inches deep or a sunny area in your yard.
Potting Soil, specific to Citrus and Cactus
Step 2: Prepare Your Planter
I used my container gardening method https://www.instructables.com/id/Successful-Container-Gardening/ to get started, but this is a matter of choice and is not necessary with Hens and Chicks.
Start with a little garden bark in the bottom of the planter and a toilet paper core.
Add some Garden Charcoal.
Place dirt around the tube filling your pot to around one inch from the top.
Fill the tube with more garden bark and then add some gravel on top to aid in keeping the plant off of the soil to help avoid rotting.
Step 3: Plant Your Chicks
Gently pull a chick from the container.
Brush away as much soil as possible exposing the root.
Press the chick into the prepared area near the edge and bury the entire root.
Continue until you are satisfied with your arrangement.
Use a soft paintbrush to clean dirt out of the rosettes.
Step 4: Watering Tips
To Water, fill a sink or bucket with water and submerge the entire pot. Not covering the plant any more than you have to.
When air bubbles stop rising out of the pot remove it from the water and allow it to drain until all dripping stops.
Let your Hens and Chicks remain out of sunlight until the rosettes are totaly dry (otherwise they will burn).
Step 5: Caring for Your Hens and Chicks
Remove chicks as the pot becomes overcrowded and remove any dead leaves
If your plant begins to look unhealthy the most common problem is due to too much watering. If the soil is soggy prepare a new planter with all fresh soil and transplant your Hens and Chicks.
Don't be concerned with fertilizing as you will probably burn the roots with it, when you are ready to transplant the chicks refresh the soil with a 50/50 blend of the original soil and the citrus and cactus potting soil.
Almost all hens and chicks will form a flower when they reach full maturity. After flowering it will then die.
The Hen will stop making chicks and a spike grow in middle of the rosette as she prepares for the end of her cycle of life.
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