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by dave tweddell
(louisville ky)

hen and chicken plant

Sempervivum ciliosum var. borissii in bloom

What do you do to the tall stalk that grows out of a hen and chicken plant?

Hi Dave, that tall stalk is actually the flower. Once the flowers fade, that hen is done and just shrivels up, so there is no need to do anything.

If you want a challenge, let the flowers dry up, and then save the seeds to plant in the spring. If there are lots of different kinds of hens and chicks around, the bees will have cross pollinated the flowers from various ones, and you could end up with the next brand new hybrid.

If you decide not to save the seeds you can either cut the stalk off low to the ground, or simply pull it out. There will be a gap until the chicks surrounding it fill in and grow.

That’s the nature of these plants; generally, they only live three to four years but as they grow in a colony of many different aged plants together, there will always be some that are growing, making chicks or flowering at any given time.

Best of luck with my favorite plants!