Sempervivum 'King George'
Common Name: hens and chicks 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Crassulaceae
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 0.25 to 0.33 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to August
Bloom Description: Pink
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil


Easily grown in average, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates some light shade. Prefers afternoon shade in climates with hot summers. Likes sandy or gravelly soils and tolerates poor soils. Needs sharp soil drainage to perform well. Tolerates some drought. Avoid overwatering. Plants are evergreen. Plants spread by offsets to form colonies. Individual rosettes die after bloom and should be removed from the garden at that time.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Sempervivum is a genus of roughly 40 species of rosette-forming succulents found growing on sunny and rocky slopes in mountainous regions of southern Europe and northern Africa. Rosettes vary in size from 0.25" up to 10" in diameter. They also display a range of colors, from chartreuse greens to purples, reds, and bronze tones. The color of the rosettes can also change throughout the year, usually deepening during the winter. Once a rosette has reached maturity it will send up a flowering stalk with star-shaped blooms before dying back, allowing the offsets to fill in the resulting space.

Genus name comes from the Latin words semper meaning always and vivus meaning alive or living.

In Europe, sempervivums were once planted on roofs of houses for a number of reasons, including warding off lightning/fire, holding slates in place or providing emergency food in winter (the leaves were eaten). The common name hens and chick comes from the ability of the mother rosette (hen) to spread in all directions by horizontal stems to form offsets (chicks).

'King George' features green to russet red foliage with finely hairy webbing. Rosettes will reach between 2-4" in diameter. In summer, mature rosettes will send up a flowering stalk with dainty pink blooms.


No serious insect or disease problems. Rusts, leaf/stem rot and root rot can occur, particularly in poorly drained or consistently wet soils. Deer tend to avoid sempervivums.


Rock gardens, alpine gardens, xeriscaping, border fronts, rock crevices, along stone walls, edging or foundations. Containers. Suitable as a ground cover for a small area.