Hens and chicks have old-time charm and unbeatable hardiness. These little succulents are known for their sweet rosette form and numerous offsets or “chicks.” Do hens and chicks plants bloom? The answer is yes, but it spells demise for the flowering rosette in a life cycle that is unique among plants. Hens and chicks flowers are the plants way of producing seed and a new generation of beguiling succulents.
When Do Hens and Chicks Plants Bloom?
A rambunctious clump of hens and chicks have special allure to children and adults alike. The small plants are adaptable and resilient, producing flower-like clusters of varying sized rosettes. Gardeners new to the plants may say, “My hens and chicks are flowering,” and wonder if this is a natural occurrence. Blooms on hens and chicks plants are not only natural but an additional wonder with this fun, diminutive Sempervivum.
I love to walk the garden and see that my hens and chicks are flowering. This generally occurs in summer when the long warm days and bright light jar the plant’s instincts to form blooms. This signals the beginning or end of the plant’s life cycle, depending upon whether you are a glass half empty or glass half full kind of gardener.
Hens will usually live for 3 years before they form flowers but, occasionally, stressed plants will bloom earlier. The tiny, starry flowers amp up the magic of these succulents, but it does mean the plant is forming seed and will die. Not to despair, though, because the lost plant will quickly fill in with a new rosette and the cycle will march on yet again.
A blooming hen on a hen and chicks plant is often referred to as a “rooster.” The individual rosettes will begin to elongate and lengthen vertically when it is time to produce flowers. The process lends an alien appearance to the normally low-growing plants, with flower stalks that can get from a few inches up to a foot in length.
Removing the budding stem can’t save the rosette. The blooms on hens and chicks plants are a part of a monocarpic process. That means they flower, seed and then die. There is nothing to be done about it so you might as well enjoy the pink, white or yellow flowers with bristling, erect stamen.
Their work will soon be done, but the plant should already have produced many smaller rosettes, the future of the line.
Hens and Chicks Flower Care
As with the entire plant, hens and chicks flower care consists of neglect. You can leave the bloom until it has finished and the stem and base rosette will dry out and die.
Clip off the stem rather than pulling it out of the living cluster or you may end up yanking some of the precious offsets. You may also choose to let nature take its course and leave the dying stem as proof of an interesting life cycle, which will eventually break off and compost in the area.
The young chicks will grow larger and fill in any gaps the parent plant made when bidding its fond farewell to this world. So enjoy the flowers and the guarantee of everlasting life this plant has in its offspring.