Cobweb Houseleek Care – Growing Cobweb Hens And Chicks
By: Becca Badgett, Co-author of How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden
The cobweb succulent is member ofthe hen and chick’s clan, growing outdoors year-round in most parts of the U.S.and other cold areas. These are monocarpic plants, meaningthey die after flowering. Generally, many offsets are produced before floweringoccurs. Continue reading to learn more about this interesting hens and chicksplant.
What is a Cobweb Houseleek?
A favorite outdoor plant, cobwebhens and chicks may already be growing in your garden or container. Thisinteresting plant is covered with a cobweb-like substance, making it muchsought after by many growers.
Scientifically named Sempervivumarachnoideum, this is a low growing rosette covered with the web. Websstretch from leaf tip to tip and mass in the middle. Leaves of this plant maybe tinted red or remain green, but the center is covered with the webbysubstance. Rosettes are 3-5 inches (7.6 to 13 cm.) wide in maturity. If givenenough growing room, it will put out babies to form a tight mat, growingquickly to fill a container.
With a fibrous root system, itclings and grows with little encouragement. Use it for a wall, rock garden, orany area where a clinging and spreading rosette has room to grow.
Cobweb Houseleek Care
Although drought tolerant, thisplant does better with regular watering. As with most succulents, allow them todry out well between watering. Plant in a fast draining, amended succulent soilto avoid too much water on the roots.
The cobweb succulent grows great asa groundcover plant in a sunny area. Given the space and time, it willnaturalize and cover an area. Combinethe spreading plant with ground-coversedumsand other sempervivums for anoutdoor succulent bed to last year-round.
This plant rarely blooms in cultivation,especially indoors, so you can expect them to be around for a while. If it doesset bloom, it will be in mid to late summer with red flowers. Remove the deadplant from among the offsets once flowering has ceased.
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Indoor and outdoor succulents
Succulents are attractive for the ease of care, their great diversity and their waxy or velvet-covered leaves.
Zoom in on two rosette-shaped Crassulaceae specimens: echeveria and houseleek.
Diverse and presenting mesmerizing patterns, succulents have become a highlight of horticulture stores recently.
Native to arid deserts the world over, they are easy to grow, since they are used to drought: they can survive without water thanks to their fleshy leaves and stems where they stock moisture.
There are hundreds of varieties, but you’ll probably need to go to a specialty nursery or catalog to find most of them. Most nurseries simply sell the common Hens and Chicks.
- Sempervivum tectorum ‘Boissieri’ - Bronze tinged leaves rusty tips.
- Sempervivum tectorum ‘Sunset’ - Bright green leaves with shades of red and orange.
- Sempervivum tectorum ‘Oddity’ - Bright green leaves with quilled edges and black tips.
- Sempervivum arachnoideum (Cobweb houseleek) - Related species with white threads, like a web, across the rosette.
The common houseleek, also known as old-man-and-woman or hen-and-chicks (Sempervivum tectorum), has given rise to a number of cultivated varieties of horticultural interest. Cobweb houseleek (S. arachnoideum), with leaf tips connected by weblike strands, has also yielded many desirable varieties. Job’s beard (S. heuffelii) is a perennial with a rosette of leaves that range from gray to purple-green. Teneriffe houseleek (S. ciliosum) is noted for its attractive wooly rosettes.
The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica This article was most recently revised and updated by Melissa Petruzzello, Assistant Editor.
Propagating cobweb housekeep succulents is a fiddly job, but it is something that can be easily done with tender loving care. Here is a short step by step guide for you to follow:
- Remove the baby rosette carefully from the main plant. The easiest way to do this is by carefully cutting it with sharp scissors.
- Move it to its new pot and press it gently into the soil.
- Water it and wait for its roots to become established.
- Once it has grown strong roots, you can move it to a larger container or a more permanent location for it to grow fully.
Here is a summary of all of the do’s that are associated with growing cobweb housekeep succulents:
- Re-pot your succulent in sandy soil with good drainage, even if you purchased your plant from a reputable garden center.
- When you are shopping around for your succulent, look out for a plant with more than one rosette. If you see a plant with small baby rosettes growing near the main plant, remove it from the pot and check to see if its roots are established and strong.
- Water your plant when the soil is completely dry.
- Plant your succulent in sandy soil with good drainage.
- Propagate your plant and enjoy watching new succulents grow!
- Do not assume that your succulent has been potted in the ideal soil. Forgetting to replant it in well-drained soil could prevent it from growing to its full potential.
- Don’t be afraid to shop around for healthy succulents! After all, you want your plant to have the best chance for success.
- Succulents in garden centers are usually propagated and then sold to customers, and the plants you see on display could be newly propagated.
- Do not overwater your plants or water them overhead as this could spread disease or cause its roots to rot.
- Avoid planting your succulent in shop-bought potting soil unless it is specifically suitable for succulents or cactus plants.
- Don’t be afraid to propagate your succulent and give the fruits of your labor as a special gift for your loved ones. We are sure they will love it!
Would this even be a complete care guide if we didn’t answer the most common frequently asked questions about these amazing plants? Here is a collection of questions that lots of succulent growers ask along during their succulent growing journey.
Q: Are succulents toxic to animals?
A: Some succulents can be toxic for your pet. You will be pleased to know that these plants are not very common, and from the 10,000 types of succulents that grow around the world, only a small percentage are toxic.
Q: Do succulents grow in the desert?
A: Most types of succulents do in fact, grow in desert climates however, there are some that grow near the sea and other unexpected locations.
Q: How much sunlight do succulents need every day?
A: Succulents need a minimum of six hours of sunlight every day to thrive. Succulents that get less than the recommended hours of sunlight may become discolored and will not grow to their full potential.
Q: Should I grow succulents indoors?
A: Succulents are great indoor plants. Not only do they look fantastic, but they are super easy to care for. Lots of interior designers recommend placing small pots of succulents and cacti around your home to brighten up your home.
Q: Why do my succulents keep dying?
A: Take a look at the common succulent mistakes section in the article above. This section explains the textbook mistakes that budding succulent growers make.
Q: How long do succulents live?
A: A succulent’s lifespan varies from type to type. The cobweb housekeep succulent will only live for about three or four years however, it grows lots of offsets that can be propagated and grow in its place during this time.
While cobweb housekeep succulents will only live for a few years, Jade plants can live for 70 or even 100 years! So as you can see, every succulent is different!
Q: Can I keep my succulent in a small pot?
A: young succulents can be kept in small pots for a number of months or even years however, at some point, you will need to re-pot the plant in something more appropriate.
Q: Do succulents like to be touched?
A: Although succulents are pretty tolerant plants, they hate being touched! Their leaves are the most delicate part of the plant. If its leaves are damaged, permanent scars will form, which will make your succulent look unaesthetic.
Q: Why do succulents have a white powder on their leaves?
A: Succulents produce their own sunscreen, which is the white powdery substance you often see on their leaves. Touching this powder will leave a permanent fingerprint on the succulent’s leaves as they do not have the ability to reproduce this substance.
Q: Do succulents like to be misted?
A: No! Succulents do not like to be misted. Misting succulents creates a humid environment around the plant that could cause parts of the plant to rot and deteriorate.
Q: What succulents are poisonous?
A: Here is a shortlist of the most common toxic succulents:
- Aloe vera (Medicine Aloe)
- Sansevieria trifasciata (Mother In Law’s Tongue)
- Crassula ovata (Jade Tree)
- Euphorbia tirucalli (Pencil Tree or Firesticks)
- Euphorbia milii (Crown of Thorns)
- Kalanchoe tomentosa (Panda Plant)
- Kalanchoe daigremontiana (Mother of Millions)
Q: Should I water my succulents with tap water?
A: Yes, you can water your succulent with tap water. Most plants prefer being watered with distilled water or rainwater, but obviously, this isn’t always a possibility.
Q: How do I know if my succulent needs water?
A: Your succulent needs to be watered if its soil is completely dry. If your plant starts to wilt and discolor, it could be a sign that your plant has been overwatered. Use the ‘soak and dry’ method for watering your succulent for the best results.