Hens and Chicks (Sempervivum tectorum)

Welcome to the wonderful world of succulents for terrariums!

Sempervivum tectorum, also known as Hens and Chicks, is a great lowmaintenance succulent that can be grown in your home enclosure.

In this article, you will discover the reasons why Hens and Chicks make excellent succulents for your terrarium.

Additionally, you will find practical guidance on how to incorporate these plants into your terrarium.

Let‘s get started!

Quick Stats:
Scientific Name Sempervivum tectorum
Common Name Hens and chicks, Houseleek, Cobweb houseleek
Family Name Crassulaceae
Habitat Rocky mountain ranges in Europe
Temperature 65°F to 75°F
Height 0.75 to 2 inches
pH 6.0 to 8.0
Lighting Indirect

What is “Hens and Chicks”?

Sempervivum tectorum, or hens and chicks, is an evergreen succulent that forms neat, tight clusters of vibrant foliage.

It’s a great plant to bring a pop of color to a vivarium.

Most varieties of this plant have pointed, fleshy leaves in shades of green, red, lavender, and white.

The more unique varieties are often striped or mottled.

The tips of the leaves are candy-cane-like pink, adding an interesting dimension to an already beautiful succulent.

Sempervivum Tectorum "Hens and Chicks" Care Guide | Terrarium Succulents

Hens and Chicks Facts

This succulent does well in rocky, arid environments as it is drought-tolerant.

Along with its small size, this makes it an ideal candidate for a vivarium.

Sempervivum tectorum is classified as a hemi-epiphyte, which implies that it grows from the ground but with its roots exposed to air.

This makes it ideal for mounting and hanging in terrariums, unlike the typical epiphyte.


Sempervivum tectorum has thick, pointed leaves often with stripes or mottles in shades of green, pink, red, purple, and white.

Its leaves tend to be slightly fuzzy in texture and are often twisted with a curling, spiral tip.

Its flowers, when left to bloom, can be violet to pink in color. 


Sempervivum tectorum is native to mountainous southern and central Europe and can also be found in parts of Asia, Russia, Scandinavia, and North Africa.

It is well-suited to rocky and arid environments where it is found growing on rocks or in crevices of rocks.

pH Preference

Hens and chicks have a wide range of pH preferences and can grow in a range from 6.0 to 8.0.

This range allows it to do well in a variety of different terrariums and also supports its drought resistance due to its wide range of tolerance.

Vivarium Type

Hens and chicks are quite an easy-going species.

With that in mind, it will not be too complicated when it comes to choosing the type of enclosure it is grown in.

It is best to try and replicate the plant’s natural habitat as much as possible.

Doing so will make it easier to provide this succulent plant with its basic needs.

The proper setup and theme of the enclosure will make a big difference to the overall look and health of the plant.

Here are recommended vivariums it will do well in:

    • Terrariums – Fully terrain-based enclosures with little to no aquatic features.

Vivarium Placement

Sempervivum tectorum is an epiphyte that grows best with hanging baskets or up against hardscapes in vivariums.

The most important tip to remember when placing is that hens and chicks need plenty of air circulation.

They also love partial shading. It’s important to ensure that it not be shaded out by taller plants.


Hens and chicks prefer a well-draining substrate like sand and gravel that provides good aeration.

It would also do well potted in a well-draining terrarium soil mix


Sempervivum tectorum does best in partial or full indirect light and can tolerate direct sunlight for a few hours a day.

Too much direct sunlight or intense light will cause it to become sunburned.

Also, it should be kept away from fluorescent lighting as this type of terrarium lighting may damage the plant.

Buy Hens and Chicks

When it comes to buying hens and chicks, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Making sure the plant is healthy when purchased is essential for its success in a vivarium.

Vegetation that is already in poor conditions will have a very hard time adjusting to new environments.

Click the image below to find out more about the current price and other relative info about this plant.

Hens and Chicks Care and Propagation

Sempervivum tectorum is a relatively low-maintenance and drought-tolerant succulent.

It requires very little care compared to other vivarium plants.

It’s also easy to propagate by using offsets.

These are small plants that grow from the mother plant and are easy to spot when they start to turn green. 

How to Grow

Autumn is the best time to propagate hens and chicks.

Remove the offsets with scissors and place them in a pot or a basket where there is enough soil or medium for them to root and get established in.

Plant them just below the surface of the soil/medium and keep an eye on the offsets as they need to be kept in a well-draining environment.

Provide them with adequate light, and they will root with ease.


Sempervivum tectorum is a drought-tolerant plant which means that a light misting every 5-7 days should be enough for it.

During its growing season, water it more often but make sure to never overwater.

Water only when the soil has dried out completely. 

Plants Similar to Hens and Chicks

Adding diversity to an enclosure is key to an aesthetically pleasing setup.

Try mixing up the look of your vivarium with different flora that can easily co-exist in the same types of environment.

Furthermore, if for some reason you find hens and chicks hard to acquire or would like to consider something similar to this plant…

Here are other succulents you might find will do well with or in the place of Sempervivum tectorum:

Sedum Spp. "Stonecrop" Care Guide | Terrarium Succulents
Kalanchoe tomentosa "Panda Plant" Care Guide | Terrarium Succulents
Euphorbia milii "Crown of Thorns" Care Guide | Terrarium Succulents


In conclusion, Sempervivum tectorum is an excellent choice for a low-maintenance plant for a vivarium.

Its resilience and drought tolerance, combined with its beautiful appearance, make it a great addition to most terrariums.

With the right care and placement, Sempervivum tectorum can be a centerpiece and a sure favorite amongst terrarium plants.

Frequently Asked Questions

Sempervivum tectorum, also known asHens and Chicks,” can thrive in both sun and shade. They prefer full sun for a few hours each day, but can also tolerate partial shade.

Yes, Sempervivum tectorum does multiply. They are a type of succulent that form rosettes of leaves at the end of stems. When the rosette is mature, it will produce offsets or daughter plants at its base. These offsets can be separated and planted in other places, allowing the plant to spread and multiply.

Yes, Sempervivum tectorum is a succulent. This evergreen perennial is native to mountainous regions of Europe and is often referred to as ahens and chicks plant due to its clusters of small rosettes.

To take care of a Sempervivum tectorum you should plant it in welldraining soil in a sunny spot. Water the plant regularly during the summer months, and reduce watering during the winter. Remove any broken or dead leaves as needed, and fertilize during the spring and summer months. Protect the plant from extreme temperatures and make sure it does not get too much water.

Yes, Sempervivum can be grown indoors. They prefer bright, indirect light and slightly dry, welldraining soil. In order to keep the humidity levels low, the soil should be allowed to dry out between waterings. It is also important to ensure that the container has adequate drainage.

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