Deep-purple and green Sempervivum 'Purple Dazzler'

10 sempervivums to grow

Discover 10 gorgeous sempervivums to grow, plus how to grow them.

Sempervivums, or houseleeks and hen-and-chicks, are hardy, succulent, alpine plants, typically native to rocky habitats in mountainous regions.

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Sempervivum means ‘always alive’ – a reference to the fact that houseleeks tolerate extreme temperatures and drought. The hardiness of sempervivums makes them excellent, easy-to-grow garden plants.

Sempervivums are most valued for their distinctive rosettes of succulent, spirally patterned foliage, although they also bear attractive flowers from spring to summer. Each rosette is a separate plant, and is monocarpic – it flowers once and then dies, but is soon replaced by other new rosettes, called offsets. These offsets can be separated and planted up, and will then grow into new clumps.

How to grow sempervivums

Sempervivums are commonly grown in containers, but you can grow them in bricks, driftwood and tufa rock, due to their ability to thrive in very little compost. South-facing rockeries, gravel gardens and vertical walls also make good habitats for sempervivums. They perform best in a sunny, outdoor position, in a well-drained compost with sharp horticultural grit added for drainage. A layer of grit added to the surface of the compost will stop the leaves from becoming wet from mud, preventing rotting.

Sempervivums don’t need feeding, but do benefit from being repotted each year into compost containing slow-release fertiliser.

More on growing sempervivums:

We’ve picked our favourite 10 sempervivums to grow, below.


1

Cobweb houseleek, Sempervivum arachnoideum

Cobweb houseleek, Sempervivum arachnoideum
Cobweb houseleek, Sempervivum arachnoideum

Possibly the most famous sempervivum, the cobweb houseleek bears a network of white hairs at the leaf tips, which protect the plant against dehydration and intense sunlight. Sempervivum arachnoideum bears small pink flowers in early summer.


2

Sempervivum ‘Engle’s’

<em>Sempervivum</em> 'Engle's'
Sempervivum ‘Engle’s’

Sempervivum ‘Engle’s’ has downy bronze-green leaves, which darken to almost purple in winter.


3

Sempervivum marmoreum ‘Brunneifolium’

<em>Sempervivum</em> 'Brunneifolium'
Sempervivum ‘Brunneifolium’

Sempervivum marmoreum ‘Brunneifolium’ bears large rosettes of triangular-shaped, silvery bronze leaves.


4

Sempervivum ‘Pippin’

<em>Sempervivum</em> 'Pippin' in a terracotta pot
Sempervivum ‘Pippin’ in a terracotta pot

Sempervivum ‘Pippin’ has large rosettes of deep green, spatula-shaped leaves with dark purple tips.


5

Sempervivum ‘Pluto’

<em>Sempervivum</em> 'Pluto'
Sempervivum ‘Pluto’

‘Pluto’ is a beautiful houseleek, bearing large rosettes of deep green leaves with dark purple tips.


6

Sempervivum ‘Purple Dazzler’

<em>Sempervivum</em> 'Purple Dazzler'
Sempervivum ‘Purple Dazzler’

Sempervivum ‘Purple Dazzler’ has bi-coloured foliage in mid-green and dark purple, the colour of which darkens in winter.


7

Sempervivum ‘Terracotta Baby’

<em>Sempervivum</em> 'Terracotta Baby'
Sempervivum ‘Terracotta Baby’

‘Terracotta Baby’ bears medium-sized rosettes of long, spoon-shaped leaves in dramatic dark red-burgundy. The colouration becomes darker in winter and a brighter, more intense red in summer.


8

Sempervivum ‘Reinhard’

<em>Sempervivum</em> 'Reinhard' in a stone trough
Sempervivum ‘Reinhard’ in a stone trough

Sempervivum ‘Reinhard’ bears medium-sized, emerald green leaves with purple-black leaf tips. Pastel-pink flowers appear on short stems in summer.


9

Sempervivum ‘Eddy’

<em>Sempervivum</em> 'Eddy'
Sempervivum ‘Eddy’

‘Eddy’ bears striking red spoon-shaped leaves that darken towards the centre.


10

Sempervivum ‘Rita Jane

<em>Sempervivum</em> 'Rita Jane'
Sempervivum ‘Rita Jane’
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‘Rita Jane’ bears large rosettes of blue-green foliage with dark red tips.