The scientific name of the hens and chicks plant translates to “always alive.”
But what if your Hens and Chicks Plant is? There are two possible reasons: either the plant is at the end of its life cycle or you have neglected its needs.
Reasons your hens and chicks plant is dying
Here is a deep dive into each of these possible reasons.
A monocarpic plant
The hens and chicks succulent is a monocarpic plant.
Monocarpic plants die after flowering and producing seeds once. In contrast, polycarpic plants produce flowers and seeds multiple times.
Flowering does not necessarily translate to the death of monocarpic plants. However, when these plants begin to produce fruits and seeds, their bodies undergo hormonal changes that redirect resources to the fruits and seeds. These hormonal changes lead to the death of these plants.
These concepts apply to the hens and chicks succulent. The plant usually begins to flower during the summer, enticed by long hours of warm sunlight. Unfortunately, this also heralds the demise of the plant.
Hens and chicks plants usually live up to three years before they produce flowers. However, the process can be sped up when the plant is under stress.
However, this should not worry you. Although you may lose your original plant, you will still have a new rosette to take its place.
Like most succulents, the hens and chicks plant requires minimal care, making it ideal for both beginners and advanced succulent growers.
As a type of succulent, the hens and chicks plant does not want to be overwatered. Too much moisture can harm the plant. However, underwatering can also be damaging to this plant.
One sign that you may be underwatering your hens and chicks plant is the presence of brown leaves. Left unchecked, a dehydrated hens and chick plant can die.
Reviving your hens and chicks
Is it possible to revive a dying hens and chicks plant? That depends heavily on your plant’s current situation.
If your hens and chicks plant has produced a flower, there is nothing much that you can do. Your consolation is that you will still have rosettes to replace your original plant.
However, if you have neglected your plant, it is still possible to restore it to its original condition.
For this task, you will need to do two simple things. First, move your plant out of direct sunlight into a place with bright but filtered light.
Next, water your plant once every week.
That is all there is to it. You do not need to apply fertilizers to revive your plant. Just follow this simple formula of bright, filtered light and weekly watering.
In just one week, you will notice that your plant will begin its recovery, its leaves beginning to unfurl.
At around six weeks, your plant should show some semblance to its original appearance. And by the eighth week, your plant should be fully recovered, looking like nothing happened to it.
Planting hens and chicks
The hens and chicks succulent is ideal for beginners for a few reasons.
For one, this succulent can instantly add beauty to any space, especially outdoors. Second, the plant is one of the hardiest succulents, able to survive with minimal water and cold winters. Third, the plant is easy to propagate.
If you are planning on adding this succulent to your collection, here are a few things to remember.
Although you can grow hens and chicks succulent indoors, the plant will thrive under full sun. However, the plant can get sunburned, especially during the summer.
After getting your succulent from a nursery, make sure to acclimate it first to its new location before permanently planting it to the ground or moving its pot outside. Also, you should use a mesh or window screen to filter sunlight.
If you plan on keeping your plant indoors, you should be aware that it needs full sun. It can survive indoors, providing that you place it in a south-facing window. However, it cannot reach its full potential indoors in that location unless you invest in grow lights.
The Hens and chicks plant can adapt to different soil conditions. Like most succulents, it prefers well-draining soil, although it can grow in a mix made up mostly of inorganic materials like sand and rocks.
Planting your succulent
Before planting your succulent to the ground or a new container, be sure to remove all remnants of the old soil.
The simplest way to do this is to set your hose attachment to its jet setting and blast the roots with water. Do not worry. The roots will not be damaged.
After that, dig a hole about the size of the root ball. Then, place the plant into the hole before filling it up with soil. Make sure that you cover up all of the roots and pat down the soil lightly afterward.
Do not water your plant immediately. It is good to wait at least a week before watering your hens and chicks.
Caring for your plant
The hens and chicks plant is perfect for busy people who may not have the time to fuss over their plants.
However, there are a few important things that you need to remember when caring for this succulent.
As a succulent, the hens and chicks plant does not require frequent watering. It can even survive droughts.
Planted outdoors, it can get by with the occasional rains. However, during times when rainfall is sparse, you should water the plant until the soil is completely wet.
Indoors, water the plant only when its soil is completely dry.
During the cooler seasons, the hens and chicks plant will go dormant. When this happens, reduce the number of times you water it.
This hardy succulent can get by without fertilizers. However, if you have kept the plant in the same container for a few years, it would not hurt to apply fertilizer annually, preferably during spring.
You can repot your hens and chicks plant once it has outgrown its container or if it has become root-bound.
Choose a pot that is one size larger than its current pot. Do not go any bigger than this because the soil in bigger containers tends to dry up slower. And when the soil does not drain fast, the roots of the plant may become susceptible to rot.
4. Protecting your plant from winters
The hens and chicks plant can survive winters. However, it is a good idea to protect it from the harsh weather and frost by insulating its soil with mulch.
The hens and chicks succulent is easy to propagate. The plant produces chicks after reaching maturity.
Before you propagate, it is best to wait until its chicks develop roots and are about the size of a quarter.
Begin by cutting the chicks with a sharp knife or scissors. Be sure to sterilize your cutting tool first. Cut between the stem that connects the chick to the hen. After that, all you have to do is place it on top of a container of soil.
Some prefer to allow the chicks to root in water. This method is ideal if you accidentally remove the chick from the hen while repotting.
Of course, you can leave the chicks with the hens. However, succulent growers prefer cutting off the chicks as this gives the hen more resources to grow and produce more chicks.
Do not lose hope
If your hens and chicks plant seems to be dying, do not give up on it, unless it has produced a flower. With some tender loving care, you can still revive it.
Image: istockphoto.com / kynny