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by Sarah
(Ottawa, Ontario)

blooming sempervivum 21520827

Jovibarba coning – related to Sempervivum

I never realized that once a Sempervivum (hen and chicks) blooms, it will die until I got some that I really like, but they keep blooming, one by one, and haven’t produced any chicks yet. At this rate, I won’t have any left! Is there any way to stop them from blooming? I’ve tried more water, less water, smaller pots, you name it.

Drought Smart Plants reply:

Oh, the Sempervivum gardeners refrain!

There are ways of stopping them from blooming and go into chick producing mode instead, but it generally entails surgery, and the loss of the mother plant regardless.

Here is one method that some gardeners have tried with varying degrees of success:

Simply cut the cone of the plant off – you’ll notice that as Sempervivum ready themselves to bloom, the top of the rosette starts to go upwards, eventually elongating into the bloom stalk. Don’t wait – as soon as you see this, cut the bloom off as low down on the rosette as possible. If you can leave only a few rows of leaves, that’s fine. The plant will revert back to vegetative growth, and push out some chicks.

The second method requires that you take the rosette right out of the soil, and remove as much soil as possible from the roots. Taking a sharp razor blade, cut the cone off in the same way as the above method. Then slice downwards vertically through the rosette. You’ll end up with two or more separate pieces. Allow these to dry in the air, then put them in pots with dry potting soil. Water after a few days, and with luck, one or more of them will start to make some chicks.

These methods are last ditch efforts to get some chicks off a beloved ‘hen’ or one that you only have a single rosette.


For more information on this fascinating subject, see the discussion on the Sedum, Sempervivum and Jovibarba Cubit about Bolting Sempervivum.