Cold-Loving Succulents for Winter Color

Sempervivums (Hens and Chicks) are incredibly cold-tolerant little living sculptures that add color, texture, and form to the winter garden. Native to exposed rocky, mountain slopes most will thrive in temps down to -30F without a minute’s drama. Blanket of snow? Even better as the white stuff helps to insulate them from colder air temps and desiccating winds. Plant masses of them in pots or in the ground (care tips below). We love using them under potted up topiary or evergreen shrubs where they add a bit of flair as well as acting as a mulch.


Rubikon Hens & Chicks
Zone: 4 – 8

Ruby-red rosettes provide an architectural form for the modern garden. 6 in. tall, clumping to 12 in. wide. Partial to full sun.


Green Wheel Hens and Chicks
Zone: 4 – 9

Tight, fleshy leaves that form multiples of delightful, apple green rosettes. Up to 6 in. tall, spreading 12 in. wide. Full sun.


Black Hens and Chicks
Zone: 4 – 9

Mounding with purple-tipped leaves, makes an excellent ground cover when massed. Up to 6 in. tall and 12 in. wide. Full sun.

Krebs Desert Rose Hens and Chicks

Masses of rich pink and purple rosettes spill over the edges of containers adding loads of exotic romance to waterwise vignettes. Up to 8 in. tall, spreading 12 in. wide. Full sun. Zone: 4 – 9

Cobweb Houseleek

Unique gray-green rosettes slowly spread to form a dense, drought tolerant mat topped by vibrant magenta late summer flowers. Up to 4 in. tall, clumping 12 in. wide. Partial to full sun. Zone: 3 – 10


Ruby Hearts Hens and Chicks
Zone: 4 – 8

Emerald leaves with ruby-red rosettes that deepen in color towards the centers. Up to 4 in. tall and 12 in. wide. Partial to full sun.


Silver King Houseleek
Zone: 4 – 9

Symmetrical rosettes of silvery mint green have deep red-purple centers.Up to 6 in.tall, spreading 12 in. wide. Partial to full sun.


Red Rubin Hens and Chicks
Zone: 4 – 9

Mass large rosettes of burgundy-tinged leaves for exotic texture and color. Up to 6 in. tall, spreading 12 in. wide. Full sun.


Most of the time your sedum and sempervivum really don’t need any extra winter care provided they were planted in well drained soil and correct light exposure. However, a bit of TLC, particularly with potted hens and chicks never hurt anyone! Here are a few tips.

  • Lower raised planters down to ground level.
  • Move pots close to the house.
  • If possible move pots to a spot with lots of southern sun exposure.
  • Wrap pots with straw bales or bags of leaves.
  • When temps drop below -30F, drape planters with a spun-bonded plant blanket.

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