Live forever


For my daughter’s wedding (table) decorations, even her bride’s bouquet, we used Serpevivum, a lovely plant already growing in one of the stone plant pots in our garden when we bought our house here in the South of France. It soon became my favourite next to Santolina. It is a plant that really lives forever in any condition (except wet soil and waterlogged roots), thriving on rocky, sandy soil with low fertility, its ideal growing conditions, and one that keeps on producing offsets.

1serpevivumoriginalDrying the wedding bouquet, we discovered that the Serpevivum took over and even grew in those poor conditions as you can see in the main picture.

I’ve seen one plant priced 1 euro, no need to spend that money, just separate one you can have from a friend and grow your very own specimens that will multiply and flower with ease. Don’t plant them too deeply or water them when newly planted!


Whether you call it Hens and Chicks, Houseleek, Roof House Leek, this evergreen alpine plant “Serpevivum Tectorum” is an incredibly hardy, tough, drought-resistant plant. It is native to Southern Europe and Western Asia.

“Sempervivium”, Latin for “live forever”, are not plants that really live forever, but since they produce their ‘chicks’ or plantlets, they seem to last forever. Each plant multiplies by at last 4, in a growing season, by producing little offset plantlets all around the perimeter of the ‘Hen’. These are the ‘Chicks’.


The Chicks can be snapped off and replanted elsewhere at any time. Each rosette is a separate plant (monocarpic), once the plant blooms, the mother plant dies, but is soon replaced by other new rosettes (offsets). When it blooms it creates an exotic nearly alien-like flower stalk.


Being a gardener with a “no fuss”approach, I love those plants, their care and maintenance are task free, the plants thrive on neglect. I love the way they stand out among the garden with their lovely rosettes. Literally thousands of varieties are available in all sorts of sizes, colours, forms and leaf textures.

Sempervivums are decorative evergreen ground covering plants, changing color with the seasons and each variety has its own most colourful time of the year.


These low-maintenance sun-lovers, indispensable for a rock garden, are also perfect in decorative living wreaths, a decorative edging for pots. Look how they aesthetically drape over my old teapot edge.


Some even have lovely ‘cobweb’ coverings over the plant, which give additional interest.

In traditional medicine, juice of leaves is used because of its anti-inflammatory, diuretic properties, it is used for ear-pains, for wounds treatment, burns, high temperature and epistaxis (nosebleed). Fresh leaves of this plant are used for the treatment of burns, ulcers, hemorrhoids, and other types of inflammation.

Loving these evergreen Charmers with their tough – as – nails constitution, the succulents for fuss-free garden color!


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