Hen-and-Chicks (Sempervivum tectorum), packet of 100 seeds, organic
Family: Stonecrop (Crassulaceae)
Hardy to Zones 3 to 10
(Common Houseleek, Hen and Chicks, Semper = Always, Vivum = Living) Probably the commonest of outdoor hardy succulents, this plant has been closely associated with human habitation since antiquity. Requiring little or no soil and storing water, nutritive and medicinal energy in its plump leaves, it is the mainstay of the “living roof” and is said to protect the house from lightning and fire, which does indeed make sense. I find them pleasant to chew, slightly lemony and definitely astringent to the mucous membranes. Traditional use (TWM): antiinflammatory, sore throat and infection, sunburn, old burns, stings of insects, applied to the temples for headache. Plant prefers sun and dryish, fast-draining soil. Does very well wedged between stones on a wall or tiles on a roof. You just nestle it down into any crack and it’ll take hold. By the way, it won’t make your house leak. The word leek has an ancient origin meaning plant. Keep these little succulents close to home. They are really sweet companions. Relatively challenging to grow from seed. The seed is tiny. Sow on surface of fast-draining mix, press in securely, and keep evenly moist, warm and in the light until the tiny succulents begin to show. Grow them on at close spacing until you can prick them out into individual pots. At all times, use very sandy mix or cactus mix, as these will not make roots in very rich or mucky soil. Space 3 to 6 inches apart.
Packet of 100 seeds, certified organically grown