A portion of our front lawn was once the road, so even getting weeds to grow is challenging.  If you have a similar situation in your lawn or garden, the Master Gardeners at Cornell Cooperative Extension say you should meet Hens and Chicken.  Not the animal, the plant.

Sempervivum as they are legally named, grow well indoors or outdoors, making them a perfect color "pick me up" even as a desk plant.  Not only do they a bring a wide variety of colors to an area, but a different texture too.  And you may not be able to tell by looking, but there aren't any thorns.

The Master Gardeners offer some growing tips:

  • plant in full to partial sun
  • have a high tolerance for poor soils including rock gardens
  • prefer well-drained soil
  • reproduce quickly and can become crowded in a pot

Most plants live about 1-4 years and will bloom on a single stalk.  The bloom lasts about 2-3 weeks and then the plant dies.  But it leaves behind many offsprings, as the "mother, (hens), plant is attached to their babies, (chicks), by an underground runners.

Get more information on growing any plants, trees or shrubs with fact sheets at Cornell Cooperative Extension's website or call the Horticulture Hot Line at 315-736-3394 between 9 and noon Wednesday and Fridays.