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
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.
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.