Sempervivum calcareum

17 Nov

Sempervivum calcareum (08/11/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Sempervivum calcareum (08/11/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun

Flowering period: Summer

Soil: Moist, free draining

Eventual Height: 5cm

Eventual Spread: 10cm

Hardiness: 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a

Family: Crassulaceae

Sempervivum calcareum is a succulent perennial with a rosette forming habit. Its grey/ green leaves have purple red tips are triangular with serrulate margins, up to 4cm long and 1.5cm across. Its pink  flowers appear on erect stems. This plant readily produces offsets which aids its spread.

Sempervivum calcareum, commonly known as Limestone Houseleek, Limestone Liveforever and Chicks and Hens, is native to the south west Alps. In its native habitat it grows on limestone rocks.

The etymological root of the binomial name Sempervivum is derived from the Latin semper meaning ‘always’ and vivum meaning ‘living’. Calcareum is from the Latin menaing ‘lime’.

The landscape architect may find Sempervivum calcareum useful for xeriscaping, planting in rock gardens and containers. Once established this plant is drought tollerant. It will tolerate maritime conditions.

Ecologically, Sempervivum calcareum flowers are attractive to pollinating insects.

Sempervivum calcareum Detail (08/11/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Sempervivum calcareum Detail (08/11/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

The Royal Horticultural Society have given several varieties of Sempervivum calcareum their prestigious Award of Garden Merit in 2008, including  Sempervivum calcareum ‘Extra’Sempervivum calcareum ‘Guillaumes’ and Sempervivum calcareum ‘Sir William Lawrence’.

Sempervivum calcareum prefers moist, free draining soils. It tolerates most pH of soil. It dislikes wet soils.

Sempervivum calcareum requires little maintenance.

DAVIS Landscape Architecture

Landscape Architecture


One Response to “Sempervivum calcareum”

  1. What a beauty. Sadly and strangely enough, but in my culture this plant is planted on graves. Perhaps that’s because it can endure those periods when reraltives cannot visit their diseased, without watering. personally I like Echeverias which look almost the same. Though this one is also a beauty.

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