Houseleeks and other front garden matters

When I was at my parents’ at Christmas, I noticed some plants in their front garden which looked particularly attractive. Little did I realise at that time that they were in fact sempervivums, more commonly known as houseleeks, which I had previously thought of buying.


Well, buying them hasn’t been necessary, as I’ve brought some from my parents’ front garden today and planted them in my own. They might not absolutely love being in a northeast-facing garden but it does get dry there in summer (and it certainly isn’t especially damp in winter). So, all being well, they will provide excellent ground cover.

Before I went away for the weekend, I’d noticed another type of ground cover, although this one is a mystery.


Where on earth can the cut grass have come from? Perhaps someone had kindly thought of mulching the front garden for me, although adorning the heuchera wasn’t something a seasoned garden would do, I’m sure (heuchera not shown).

Anyway, it could of course be worse. Hopefully, the houseleeks will take and spread as time goes by!

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About Helen

I have always been interesting in living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and used to do what I could. Now, I have come to realise that we have reached such a point in terms of environmental degradation that it is more important - perhaps - to focus on building resilience. I therefore do as much as I can to reuse, grow my own and encourage a supportive community, for example. I also keep reading and learning all the time.
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10 Responses to Houseleeks and other front garden matters

  1. mortaltree says:

    So glad you’re getting into houseleeks. You’ve probably seen the huge variety out there. Check this page out: https://www.instagram.com/mysuccylife/
    My step grandmother had an enourmous light gray-blue one about eight inches across which bloomed a vibrant orange for her. I have used them in bouquets too among other flowers. You just wire them on sticks and they look like an exotic rose. They work particularly well in this season because they look fine in the cold. I look forward to seeing where you go with them.

  2. Helen says:

    Wow, what an amazing variety the houseleeks come in! I understand they are quite prolific, so they should soon provide a pretty ground cover?

    I’m also looking forward to seeing if they bloom but it is great that they are so pretty all year round just because of their leaves.

    • mortaltree says:

      They do grow quite thick. The name we give them over here is “Hens and Chicks” for the way the little ones cluster under the big one. I’ve never seen them cover a lot of ground, because they don’t spread a lot. That would be a gorgeous sight though, so perhaps keep plucking off the little chicks, spreading them further apart, and you’ll get quite a sizable patch.
      They are related to the larger family of crassulaceae, which covers the other sedums, and I have seen some very nice ground covers in those. See this website for example: http://www.sustainable-gardening.com/plants/ground-covers/creeping-sedums
      These spread more, but still have the succulent look, and stay that way year-round.

      • Helen says:

        I think sedums could become an addiction 😉. Thanks for the link, anyway – I didn’t realise that these plants might originate somewhere in Europe. I thought succulents were all from the Americas!

        I’ve already got a ‘chick’ on one of the plants from my dad. His garden works be overrun with them, tbh. Still, his is sloping and bakes in summer, plus the soil is really rubbish.

  3. Kalamain says:

    Sempervivums are great plants and I personally love the flowers they produce. The ones I have are a kind of red/white.
    And, yes… It does spread fast!

  4. Thanks to your informative post, I’ve just spent some time on Wiki looking at sempervivum. We know them here as succulents, or hens and chicks as one of your readers pointed out. I’m fascinated. I’ve not heard the term houseleeks before either. I’m learning a lot today. I’m glad you moved this one from your dad’s garden to yours. What fun to watch it grow and spread.

I love to read about your own experiences and any other feedback you have, so look forward to your comments below.

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