WSU Clark County Extension

PNW Plants Searchable, categorized images

Common Houseleek

Scientific name: Sempervivum tectorum

Type:Groundcovers evergreen
Plant Requirements
Zone:3 to 11
Sun:Full to partial sun
Plant Characteristics
Height:0 ft
Width:2 ft
Bloom:Summer flowers
Bloom Time:May to July
Bloom Color:Green
Additional Characteristics



Wildlife value

Description Common Houseleeks, also called Hens and Chickens, are indigenous to Europe where they are traditionally planted in thatched roofs to serve as fire retardant.

Hens and Chickens are classified as mat-forming succulents that produce clusters of pointed, thick leaves which are in the shape of rosettes. The leaf foliage can be red, green or some mixture thereof. The rosettes are often covered in a web of white hair. The parent rosettes are the ‘Hens’ and the smaller rosettes that spring from them are the ‘Chickens’. This low-growing (4" tall) perennial will quickly spread to 2' or more in width.

Although grown for its foliage, Common Houseleeks do flower, forming a tall (one foot tall) flower stalk. The rosettes die after flowering but are replaced by new rosettes on lateral runners. They fill in their spaces beautifully.

Gardeners enjoy the ability of Houseleeks to fill in spaces very nicely. They love full sun but can tolerate light shade. Poor drainage or over-watering will kill them. If one were to look for a drought-tolerant groundcover there could not be a better choice.

None reported.
For assistance, contact Dr. Charles Brun (, (360) 397-6060 5701
Computing and Web Resources, PO Box 6234, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-6234