(Hen and Chicks, Roof House Leek) Family: Stonecrop
Perennial succulent with edible leaves that are used for treating sore throat and cooling infection. These are cold hardy, extremely drought tolerant, highly attractive--I grow them a lot in the cracks of the rockwork here on the farm, and they prosper and bring great joy. I don't know why people don't grow them more. These ones are classic. Press small seed into surface of potting soil and keep moist until germination. You can grow them closely together in a pot until they swell sufficiently to separate and plant out.. They are hardy to USDA zone 4.
How to Grow
Common Houseleek (Hen and Chicks) (Sempervivum tectorum) Semper = Always, Vivum = Living. Probably the commonest of outdoor hardy succulents, this plant has been closely associated with human habitation since antiquity. Requiring little or no soil and storing water, nutritive and medicinal energy in its plump leaves, it is the mainstay of the "living roof" and is said to protect the house from lightning and fire, which does indeed make sense. I find them pleasant to chew, slightly lemony and definitely astringent to the mucous membranes. They are an antiinflammatory treatment for sore throat and infection. I used to bring some in my pocket when I went on lecture circuit, to tighten the mucous membrane in case I suffered from minister's sore throat. Externally, the juice may be applied as a sort of second rate aloe, effective for treating sunburn, old burns, stings of insects, and if applied to the temples, sometimes an effective treatment for headache. Relatively challenging to grow from seed. The seed is tiny, and good horticultural technique is a prerequisite. Relatively easy to grow from a cutting, you just nestle it down into any crack and it'll take hold. By the way, it won't make your house "leek." The word leek has an ancient origen meaning houseplant. Keep these little succulents close to home. They are really sweet companions.