Sempervivum, aka Houseleeks, and Hens and Chicks, have been known and written about for thousands of years. These succulents are native to the mountains of Europe and the Mediterranean. They were once considered sacred in ancient mythology of the Nordics and Romans. The flowers on these plants are very striking and were thought to resemble the beards of the gods. Jovibarba, a close relative to the sempervivum, has particularly showy bell-shaped flowers, and its latin name translates to “Jupiter’s Beard”. In the early AD years (23-90) sempervivums were used to treat a number of skin and intestinal aliments. Because of their alpine nature the sempervivums are very frost resistant and have no problems here in Orange County and other Southern California gardens. Ideal for rock gardens, planters, even as a ground cover.

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