DIY: Growing Hens and Chicks in a Shallow Tray

succulents in shallow tray on coffee table

I've loved succulents for years now but never had hens and chicks until my Mom brought some home this summer. They're perfect for a little coffee table display on my outdoor porch, and then I'll transplant them into the greenhouse to survive our cold winter.  

Hens and chicks will do well in shallow dishes, so I appropriately repurposed the bottom of an old watering tray for chickens as my container.

I filled it with potting soil and a little sand,  planted the plants so that the roots were covered, and then filled the rest of the container with some moss and small rocks. 

Most succulents, including hens and chicks (Sempervivum) are hard to kill, so for those with black thumbs: these are for you. Sempervivum literally means "live forever" because they grow and propagate so readily. 

how to grow succulents in a shallow tray. DIY repurposed succulent tray.

As the chicks (the babies on the runners) grow, I can just pull them off and plant again. The chick will begin producing its own babies after only one season. The hens will live for about three years and then die, but by then I'll have many more already thriving. 

Hens and chicks:

  • prefer full to part sun (I grow mine in full sun)
  • grow best in zones 4-8, but may need shelter in harsh winters
  • need good drainage
  • are drought resistant, so don't overwater, but make sure you give them enough water during summer heat
  • will grow a tall center stalk that blooms before the plant dies

I challenge you to add some green to your porch or deck with these interesting and beautiful plants. Get creative with a repurposed or antique container and smile every time you pass them by.

Good luck!