What’s the fastest way to get my hens and chicks to propagate outdoors

M S (8b PNW)
August 22, 2019
last modified: August 22, 2019

Hi - I live in the Pacific Northwest. I am on a mission to cover a rocky retaining wall with succulents and I particularly love Hens and Chicks. I have several questions:

1) what’s the best way to get Hens and Chicks to grow quickly?

2) should I separate them when they are “clumping” together? At what point?

3) related, should I pinch off the small outshoots and plant those elsewhere on the wall? Or give them time to mature first before removing?

thank you!

Comments (9)

  • rina_Ontario,Canada

    They will grow as fast as they wat :) Seriously, I am not sure if you can speed up the process except by giving them best growing conditions.

    As for separating them, it could be done at any point IMO. Plant them in spots where you want, and let them grow. Eventually, they will spread in clumps and cover your wall.

    Separating the offshoots - chicks - could be done at any time too. If you leaves them, the stolon eventually breaks off/dissapears as rosette matures, and will grow it's own chicks. I have planted very small ones, and most survived. Recently, I got a pot that was sitting on the shelve for too long...pulled off all the chicks. Separated bigger plants were planted already, but chicks are still waiting. They are quite etiolated, but will be all trimmed and planted:

  • rina_Ontario,Canada

    Here are couple of photos I wasn't able to post in above: One small pot of Oddity was purchased exactly 3yrs ago:

    Now I have all these containers (there are 4 more), and I have given some away:

  • hablu

    Like Rina said: buy a lot and divide them and put them in pots. In a few years you will enough spare-ones to decorate your whole garden with them.


  • M S (8b PNW)

    So I started separating some of the chicks last night, but I literally had to “rip apart” one cluster that was so tightly packed - they all seemed to be on one “root” and I wonder if I am doing this the right way. They don’t look like the “usual“ hens and chicks - perhaps a different cultivar? I’ll post a “before“ photo so you can see what I mean....look at the clump directLy in the middle. Should I be slicing them apart with a knife, instead of “pulling / ripping”?

  • rina_Ontario,Canada

    I never had to use knife on Semps. Why don't you just leave clump as is? And pull off young chicks. Some grow shorter stolons, others quite long.

    Ther are bit over 50 species, and thousands of named cultivars of semps. And very closely related jovibarba. Jovibarba heuffelii divides differently - doen't grow chicks, but grows offset within the mother plant. They need to be sliced.There are 2 more sp of Jovibarba, aka rollers, and they produce chicks that rolls off (or could be pulled off very easily)..

  • M S (8b PNW)

    Thanks! I am trying to get them to populate faster, which is why I want to split them up. I’ll try slicing these and see how it goes. The more ”traditional“ hens and checks (sorry don’t know their Latin name) are pulling apart just fine.

  • Karen S. (7b, NYC)

    Again, you can't make them grow faster, they're on plant time, not people time, no matter how much you want that, sorry.

    Maybe buy a bunch more & pls. grow some patience.

  • M S (8b PNW)

    Rina - thanks for the good and helpful thoughts - appreciate it!

  • rina_Ontario,Canada

    M S

    Hope they help...I am wondering if your plant you are having difficulty in separating, is J. heuffelii - is it just very tight clump, or are they growing offsets as I described? I can't tell from your photo. I would agree with Karen that you really won't be able to spead up growth (besides providing good growing conditions); but by separating and planting elsewhere, you'll have plants in more spots. It doesn't guarantee fast growth - but visually, will look like more plants. OTOH, one lonely plant may look 'lost' - so be patient. You likely will not see much difference this year, but in Spring.

    I like semps growing in clumps - to me, that is the way they look best. But that is JMO :).

    Finally, I potted the chicks I neglected for a long time (photo in my first post)....Ended up with three 4" pots of smallest ones - hope most (all??? :) will root by Spring:

    Photo of some growing in ground, over rocks, in my previous garden:

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