Sempervivum or Houseleeks - Alpine Plant Shop

Sempervivum - or 'Houseleeks'

Pronounced Semper-VEE-vum or Semper-VIE-vum, enthusiasts just call them 'Semps'.

Sempervivum or 'Houseleeks' are fascinating plants. We are huge fans and intend greatly increasing the number of varieties we offer in future. We can't grow enough! Newly bred varieties in recent years have renewed interest and they are increasingly popular with people gathering huge collections of varieties. We 'only' have about 300 - but there nearly 5,000 named cultivars!

Sempervivum are easy to grow, even by complete novices and at the same time offer enough of a challenge to the more experienced in growing them really well. They grow as leaves clustered together in rosettes; each of these rosettes will produce 'baby' rosettes and all will grow together to form handsome clumps. A collection of different varieties grown together with their different shapes and colours enhances the overall effect. Read more

Plants in this Group:

Semp leaves are ever-changing in colour - some start the year green, become intense red or purple then change again as winter approaches - these ever-changing colours are a major attraction of houseleeks. Leaf colour not only varies according to season but also with rainfall, amount of light, temperature and nutrition.

In some varieties, the rosettes develop a covering of fine hairs (cobwebbing) especially in drier conditions and others have fine hairs on the edges or tips of the leaves. These tiny hairs (cilia) can give the leaves silver edges or cover the entire leaf making the plants appear silver. Many forms show amazing symmetry in the shape of their rosettes. These plants offer so much!

As well as well as a multitude of ever-changing colors, the plants come in a wide range of shapes and sizes - from ones with broad, shiny leaves to ones with tiny, hairy leaves clustered so tightly they form very neat little mounds.

As succulent plants, they tolerate hot, dry conditions easily and need very little in the way of feeding - the name Houseleek derives from when they were commonly grown on house roofs. They are ideal in troughs and containers of any kind and a collection of varieties grouped together in terracotta pots makes a lovely feature. They also do well growing in a stone wall.

Some of the older, central rosettes, will extend in summer and thrust skywards to produce an ornate, architectural flower spike. Unfortunately, the flowers themselves can be rather dull in comparison - though some would disagree and some varieties have such as the smaller cobwebbed types have very beautiful flowers. Flower stalk will die after flowering - this should be removed but the plant will persist as the rosettes and 'baby' rosettes fill the space. Detached rosettes root easily.

We supply all our 'Semps' as established plants in 9cm full depth pots, grown slow and hard in gritty compost containing loam; as they should be. We believe all are accurately named and are naturally sent with a proper label. Our plants aren't cheap but they are well grown and excellent value.

Because Semps are so easily grown, they do tend to be abused. Many places want to sell small plug plants, usually grown quickly in a peat compost and dubiously named, if named at all. Some nurseries offer them as dry plants with soil and roots removed - in fact, this is the way most enthusiasts exchange plants - but we prefer to offer properly grown, established plants, showing their best colour and offering the quickest possible growth when planted up. Very often you will receive a good group of several rosettes growing in each pot, depending on variety and season. 


We also offer a collection of 8 different plants and multiples thereof - details here.

Delivery only £8.95 for most orders.