Sempervivum tectorum

Sempervivums are plants for the collector, rather than the general gardener, but the specialist takes as much pride in his houseleeks as does the rosarian in his roses. They make an ideal pot or sink plant, being easy to grow and requiring little attention. They come from the mountains of central Europe.

Semperivivum tectorum, the common houseleek, is regarded as a symbol of good fortune on a roof-top. A succulent evergreen, it forms an attractive rosette 2 to 6 inches (5 to 15 cm) wide of fleshy green leaves tipped with dark red, and the rosettes join up to make mounded clusters. The flowers are not, to my mind, very lifeenhancing, growing in starry pink bunches on fleshy stems in mid-summer; the plant dies after flowering. Houseleeks should be planted 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm) apart and grown in full sun.

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