There are approximately fifty species and over 6,000 named cultivars of Sempervivum. The sheer variation of these fascinating succulents with characteristics passed down from original hybridisations is almost infinite.
The rosettes of fleshy leaves vary in colour, texture and size. Colours include green, silver, deep maroon, brilliant red and many shades and combinations in between. The leaves may be dull or glossy, and while some are smooth to the touch, others are velvety or covered in fine filaments that look like spider webs. Leaf shape varies from short almost round leaves to long, tapering and finely pointed. The plants bloom in with white, pink or red flowers in late spring and the most colourful time is generally from March till June.
This mix of winter hardy species are cold and frost hardy. Providing they are planted in well drained soil they can easily survive temperatures as low as minus 30C (-20F). If there is a blanket of snow covering the plants, even better as the snow will help insulate the succulents from colder air temperatures and winds.
Both beautiful and enduring Sempervivum have a unique look. Their rosettes are fascinating with their succulent leaves radiating around the centre, their colour hues are stunning and their tendency to produce offsets makes for easy increase (hence the name 'Hens and Chicks').