Hot Chicks for Your Garden
Nothing gives Grumpy greater pleasure than introducing his adoring fans to wonderful, new plants destined to make them giddy with joy. I therefore present these stunning improvements on an old favorite, hen-and-chicks: Chick Charms.
Created by plant breeder extraordinaire, Chris Hansen, Chick Charms are super cool for a number of reasons. First, they're succulents. Everybody loves succulents nowadays. Second, they're carefree, heat and drought tolerant, cold-hardy (down to -20 degrees F.), and can be grown indoors or outdoors provided they get bright light. Finally, unlike the original hen-and-chicks (Sempervivum tectorum) that came in colors like gray, green, and burgundy, Chick Charms offer a wide range of spectacular colors and color combinations that change with the seasons. Just look at the photo above. Why would you ever buy those awful spray-painted succulents when now you can buy the real deal?
This particular Chick Charm, ‘Gold Nugget,' just won the Gold Medal as Best New Perennial for 2019 at the prestigious IPM Plant Show in Essen, Germany. As the months pass, its spiraled rosette of leaves changes from bright green to brilliant gold with red edges. Like its siblings, it grows 2-3 inches tall and 8-12 inches wide. Baby plants – "chicks" – form around the rim of the mother plant, the "hen." Just detach and plant a chick to start a new plant.
WATCH: How To Propagate Succulents
Outdoors, grow Chick Charms in rock gardens, dry gardens, cracks and crevices, as edging or ground cover, or in containers. They're hardy in USDA Zones 3-9. Indoors, try them in planters like the hypertufa trough above. They like full sun (6+ hours a day) to part sun (4-6 hours a day). Excellent drainage is essential, especially for plants in containers (drainage holes are a must, as is potting soil formulated for succulents). Let the soil go dry between thorough waterings. Fertilize them with general-purpose liquid houseplant fertilizer diluted to half-strength three times in summer at monthly intervals. Neither deer or rabbits will eat them. Neither should you.
Look for Chick Charms in home and garden centers this spring. Garden Crossings is a good online source.