The Q&A Archives: Hens & Chicks???

Question: Hi, I have hens & chicks that do wonderfully all summer outside. my neighbor keeps his outside even through the coldest winters. i bring mine in the house. this year they are very dry & if i water them thy seem to get rotten from the water. what should i do to maintain them for the rest of the winter?

Answer: In my experience, these plants tend to start to do that when they get old and over crowded, but also sometimes if they are overwatered or overfertilized, or sometimes for no particular reason at all.

Usually, there will be a ring of baby plants around the original center and the baby plants will still be healthy. At that point, I tug away the center plant to make room for the babies. Another way of handling it is to separate off some of the babies and start them in a new container of a well drained potting mix. Set them on the soil surface, and they will root.

Try to keep them as cool and bright as you can and in a spot with good air circulation. Our indoor air is so dry during the heating season, the cooler temperatures help them stay hydrated longer without needing so much watering.

They are winter hardy outside, and in my experience they are usually healthier if left outside and planted in the ground. You might want to keep some of yours outside next year and see what happens -- I usually pot up a few each spring to enjoy in containers and leave some in the ground as well. Good luck with your hens and chicks!

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