Why I bring my hens and chicks succulents indoors
I love succulents! Especially hens and chicks. Sometimes I just want some indoors too! Especially when it's fall and I know winter is coming. I'm in Wisconsin and sometimes the winters are too harsh on these succulents so I like bringing some inside as a backup plan! The USDA hardiness zones for these traditional hens and chicks are from 3 to 8. They are usually very tough and I've had them survive in the harshest winters outdoors. But very rarely, some don't!
Hens and chicks are my favorite succulent. They are officially called sempervivum tectorum. In the image below, the hen plant is the larger plant and the smaller ones are the chick plants. They look like a little rosette and are so cute! The little runners and the small plants are called offsets (of the main plant).
For more information about hens and chicks growing outdoors, take a look at the post called Hens and Chicks.
These hens and chicks grow best in what some would consider bad soil. If potting these succulents, the best soil is a potting mix that is a cacti (cactus) or succulent potting mix. It is grainy, often has small rocks in it, some sand and is well draining. You do NOT want soils with high organic matter or that retain water or have fertilizer in them. These plants truly thrive on neglect. One of the few things that will kill them quickly is if they are overwatered. The soil must be well-draining soil and the pot must have good drainage. If the soil stays too moist, it will cause root rot and the plant dies. Also, these hens and chicks require little soil since they do not have large roots. You also don't need a fancy container, the plain clay ones work well, but, I'll admit I like a cute planter!
Hens and chicks look great in a cement planter. It gives them more of a natural element when you bring them indoors in a cement container. I usually have containers of succulents outside and I bring them in for the winter. The containers have a good drainage hole (because rain outside can drown them otherwise). They do great as a table centerpiece on the patio then before it gets really cold, I bring them inside.
Honestly, all I did was add just a little fresh dirt on top. These things survived our winter. The winter with three 'cold days'. Where school was canceled because it was -35 degrees or colder. I truly didn't enjoy that past winter! After freshening up the soil, I brought this succulent planter indoors.
Indoor Sun requirements
Providing enough light is one of the most important elements to successfully overwintering these succulents indoors. A south facing window with the closest you can get to full sun is best. However, I've had mine in a sunny window in other sides of my home and they did fine!
I've also included some other ideas. Bring them indoors! These plants are just soooo cute. And, you see them everywhere in plastic versions. They are tough enough to bring inside! I don't personally keep them inside for a long time but a month or so has never been a problem for them (or me). The more light they get inside, the longer they will be fine. I have had them in a darker bathroom so I just switched them out every couple of weeks. Just plant the old ones outside and bring in some nice strong new ones.
How to plant a hens and chicks 'chick'.
Succulents are so easy to replant. Just grab them and pull them out of the dirt. They usually just have a little root that connects them to the larger plant. The larger plants are the mother hen and it's a good idea to keep the tiny chicks attached.
Or, if the chicks are a little bigger, just take it, and put it in some dirt. Make sure you grab the chick's own roots and gently push the root into the dirt. And please don't water too often. Overwatering kills them and is the biggest issue to them surviving. This plant truly survives on neglect.
Making a centerpiece with wine or margarita glasses and hens and chicks succulents
Looking for a centerpiece? Just grab a few glasses and line them up on your table. This isn't a long term container but they sure are cute as decor for a while!
Apothecary jar as a succulent container
Sorry, I digressed. Another idea and I put this in my bathroom. I purchased a small apothecary jar with a lid. Then I put a big 'hen' in it. Isn't it cute?
I love my hens and chicks! They are such tough and cute succulents. I have lots and they keep multiplying.
Enjoy the summer. Happy planting!
Other Succulent containers and blog posts
Succulent & Perennial Strawberry Pot
Hens and Chicks Sedum Terrarium with a beautiful candle.
Creative Succulent Container Gardens
Don't forget to pin this to Pinterest!
Ooooo..hate watering. love succulents -:D
I live in upper Minnesota and just received a bunch of hem and chicks. I probably won't get them planted this fall. How do I care for them over the winter months? Will they survive without a dorment period?
I have kept containers of hens and chicks in my garage over the winter. It was enough to protect them from the worst of the winter. They will go dormant because of the cold. Water very infrequently (like every 4-6 weeks).
William Alan Appleby
How long does it usually take for a baby chic to start growing new plants? I just got my first start off a friend's clutter and Im anxious anxiously awaiting new growth!
It takes a little while. The little 'chicks' need to be larger and then they start shooting off the little plants. I've been growing Hens n chicks for years and still love seeing when the larger plant has all the little ones around it!
Some will grow quickly if they are happy where they are growing. Others it takes a little longer. I usually see the chicks in the first summer season that I have them!
I love your site I got a lot of helpful information and I love my hen and chick's to. I am going to bring some of them in for the winter. I have several types of them. Do they all have the same rules for care?
Yes, there are several types of hens and chicks. The ones I refer too are the cheap, plentiful ones. I am an experimenter with my plants. Most of the time they make it, sometimes they don't : (. In general most succulents require the same type of care. However, I can't guarantee that applies to all the different succulents you have. Winters in Wisconsin are so different from other parts of the country!
Great article, though I had clicked on it hoping to learn more about transplanting hens & chicks indoors from outside in the winter. Do you have any experience with this? I picked a bunch of them from outside the other day along with some sedums, delosperma and jovibarba, and now have them lying loose in front of a bright (but not sunny) window. I want to know if they will survive being transplanted indoors now after being dormant for a couple months. Seems there is little information on this.
I gotta say, one of the best things about alpine plants like this is that they look good all year round. I'm in Toronto, it's mid-jan, and if I could post a closeup pic here of my rock garden today, you would think it was taken in mid-june. They really are amazing little plants.
Thanks and keep up the good work 🙂
We must be related as i love mercury glass and succulents too. 🙂 They seem to overwinter just fine outdoors, even in pots you would think would totally dry out.
Thank you for the nice comments. My newest obsession is milk glass? Is that also something you love : ) ?
My hens and chicks died for some reason. I have one tiny chick surviving. I saw that you seperated chicks from the mother plant. How are those little ones doing? Do you have any suggestions as to how i can make my one surviving chick grow and spread?
The only time mine have died is when I overwatered. Maybe water less? Let the soil really dry for a few days between watering. I honestly water them maybe twice a month. Also, ask around and see if you have any gardening friends who can share some with you. Once these establish, they happily multiply.
I love succulents. I did a couple of posts on them too. I particularly like the one you did in the glass container. Nice job