Sempervivums, sometimes called houseleeks or hens-and-chicks, are hardy, succulent plants that grow in the wild between rocks in mountainous regions. They look superb when grown in containers, in rock gardens, and in dry stone walls and cracks in paving, especially alongside low evergreen plants such as sedums. Although they look outstanding in winter when there's little else of interest in the garden, sempervivums also look great in summer, when, tall, conical spikes of greenish pink flowers emerge from the centre of mature plants.
Sempervivum calcareum is coveted for its distinct leaf colouring. It bears striking, large, grey-green rosettes, which shade to reddish-brown at the leaf tips. For best results, grow Sempervivum calcareum in full sun in well-drained soil, preferably in containers with added horticultural grit to aid drainage. Sempervivums don't need feeding, but do benefit from being repotted each year into compost containing slow-release fertiliser. Propagate new plants by gently teasing out the small baby rosettes (chicks) which appear around the main plant (hen), and transplant to a new location.