Grow Hens and Chicks in Shells

Little shells planted with hens and chicks make an interesting garden feature. The fleshy rosettes have a wonderful, textured appearance; some types are covered with a gossamer webbing too.

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Unique Shell Planters DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Succulent alpines are a group of plants that really allow you to be creative. Tolerant of drought, they flourish in thin, poor soils, and will grow in nooks and crannies that are too small for other plants. All they need is a free-draining soil and shelter from heavy rain.

When to Plant: Spring
At Their Best: Spring to fall
Time to Complete: 30 minutes

Materials Needed:

  • hens and chicks (Sempervivum)
  • soil-based potting mix for succulents
  • spoon
  • large seashells

Clean the Shells

Wash the shells you plan to use with hot soapy water, or soak them for an hour in baby-bottle sterilizing solution.

Pack Shells With Soil

Using a spoon, fill the shells with the potting soil and tap it down. Water the plants well before planting them. To do this, stand them in their pots in a bowl of water for 15 minutes, take them out, then allow them to drain.

Seashell PlanterEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Plant the Houseleeks

Remove the hens and chicks from their pots and plant them carefully in the shells. Use the spoon handle to push more soil between the plants and to cover the roots. Water well and set the shells on their sides so that rain will drain away freely.

Plant Houseleeks in ShellsEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything

© 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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