Also known as a hen-and-chick plant, sempervivum is known for its gray-green rosettes that turn plum-colored when the temperatures drop. Where do sempervivums get the poultry nickname? The mother plant (the hen) spreads by making tiny, new rosettes on stalks (chicks). Use sempervivums in containers and rock gardens. These natives of the mountains of southern Europe can endure temperatures of 50 below. You’ve no excuse for killing them. Zones 2 to 9.
Don’t let this collection of cute little hens-and-chicks (sempervivums) fool you. They’re giants when it comes to cold-hardiness, tough enough to handle a brutal winter. Leave them on the porch or patio all winter, and they’ll provide color, even when the rosettes are peeking out from under a layer of snow. Some of these varieties hit peak color in the summer and others in the winter, so you’ll have a lovely little garden year-round. RECIPE: Sempervivum ‘Grammens’ (Zones 5-8); Sempervivum ‘Bronco’ (Zones 5-8), 2 plants; Sempervivum ‘Thayne’ (Zones 5-8); Sempervivum ‘Pinkerine’ (Zones 5-8), 2 plants; Sempervivum ‘C. William’ (Zones 5-8)
This hanging basket of sedums, dunce caps and those rubbery roses known as sempervivums can take the cold all winter long and the heat all summer long. Suspend it from your porch so you see color when you look out at the winter grays. RECIPE: Variegated Creeping Blue Sedum (Sedum sieboldii variegatum, Zones 6-8), 2 plants; Chinese Dunce Cap (Orostachys iwarenge, Zones 5-10), 2 plants; Dunce’s Cap (Orostachys malacophyllus, Zones 5-10); ‘Royanum’ (Sempervivum tectorum ‘Royanum’, Zones 5-10), 2 plants; ‘Quintessence’ (Sempervivum ‘Quintessence’, Zones 4-10), 2 plants; Blue Boy’ (Sempervivum ‘Blue Boy’, Zones 5-10), 2 plants; ‘Blue Spruce’ (Sedum reflexum ‘Blue Spruce’, Zones 4-10), 2 plants