Sempervivum heuffelii “Lemon Sky” is a cold-hardy succulent that can easily brighten up any outdoor garden or indoor living space with its scintillating lemon-yellow leaves that have pink-tinged tips. Over time and given enough sunlight, you might see the pink-colored tips turn purple.
Lemon Sky also goes by the names Hens and Chicks and Houseleeks because they produce offsets or pups that you can use to propagate the species. Similar to other varieties of Sempervivum heuffelii succulents, Lemon Sky will produce the offsets through division.
Hens and Chicks is also a monocarpic succulent which means the plant will die after it blooms. It will take 3 to 4 years before Lemon Sky can produce flowers. You can expect the small, yellow-colored flowers to present themselves in the late summer to early fall.
Sempervivum heuffelii Lemon Sky is from the genus Sempervivum and belongs to the Crassulaceae family. Its rosettes can reach a maximum height of 3-inches (7.6cm) with a width of 4-inches (10cm).
You can find Lemon Sky growing in the Balkans and Carpathians in Europe. However, it’s been theorized that Lemon Sky and other species of Sempervivum heuffelii were naturalized in North America, particularly Wisconsin.
Also known as: Lemon Sky, Hens and Chicks, and Houseleeks
Plant Family: Crassulaceae
Origin: Balkans and Carpathians in Europe; parts of North America particularly in Wisconsin
Height: 3-inches (7.5cm)
Exposure: Up to 6 hours of partial or direct sunlight; avoid the afternoon sun to protect the leaves from burning.
Water Needs: Drought-tolerant; follow the “Soak and Dry” method where you only water between dry periods.
Soil Type: Cactus mix or succulent soil with added 50% perlite, pumice, coarse sand, and lava rock to speed up soil drainage.
Soil pH: 6.6 to 7.5
How to Grow and Care for Sempervivum Heuffelii “Lemon Sky”
If Santa Claus decided to become a horticulturist, he would certainly have Sempervivum heuffelii Lemon Sky on the top of his list.
Lemon Sky is a succulent that’s tolerant of both drought and frost conditions. Thus, if your region experiences temperature drops to as low as-30°F (-34.4°C), you don’t have to worry about Hens and Chicks growing in the cold outdoors. Sempervivum can find itself under a blanket of snow and it will do just fine.
In addition to being resilient against hot/dry and cold/frosty conditions, this durable and beautiful succulent plant is easy to grow and care for.
Sempervivum heuffelii Lemon Sky will do well under partial or full light conditions. To help Hens and Chicks achieve the max beauty of its colors, it would be best to expose the succulent to direct sunlight. However, avoid the afternoon sun as the scorching rays will burn the leaves.
You can grow Houseleeks in an outdoor succulent garden or indoors as a houseplant. Plant Hens and Chickens in an area in the garden that gets up to 6 hours of partial to full sunlight.
Keep in mind that the ready availability of sunlight and the richness of the soil in an outdoor garden will provide a better environment for growth for Lemon Sky compared to conditions inside your home.
If you decide that you want Hens and Chicks to light up your living space, you must position the pot near a window that assures your succulent regular sunlight for up to 6 hours per day.
Get a Grow Light and place Lemon Sky under it for 6 hours every day if the availability of sunlight indoors is a serious concern. Lack of sunlight will put Lemon Sky in a state of etiolation where its leaves will stretch out and wither.
Sempervivum heuffelii Lemon Sky stores water in its leaves and stems. That’s why it’s able to survive long periods without water.
If there’s one rule that you must always remember when growing succulents is to never water them until the soil is 100% dry. Watering while the soil is moist will cause the plant’s roots to rupture and rot.
Fungi can easily develop under moist conditions. Once the roots have rotted away, the fungi can find their way inside Lemon Sky.
Use the “Soak and Dry” method when watering succulent plants. Check the soil’s level of dryness by inserting your finger or a stick an inch deep. If it feels bone dry, then you can give the soil a thorough soaking.
Don’t water the plant directly as this will make Lemon Sky retain more water. Only water the soil.
Fertilizer is not necessary although it might be valuable for succulent plants that are grown indoors because the soil might be lacking nutrients.
Choose an organic succulent fertilizer and dilute it to only a quarter of its original strength. Fertilize once a month during the growing seasons which are spring and summer for Sempervivums.
Pot and Soil
If you’re looking to grow Sempervivum heuffelii Lemon Sky in a pot, choose one that’s made of either unglazed ceramic or terracotta. These types of pots are ideal for succulents because they help remove moisture from the soil faster.
The next item on your checklist when shopping for a pot is the right size. Most Sempervivum succulents are sold in pots that measure 2-inches (5.08cm) in width. Get one that’s slightly larger to allow the roots room to grow in the soil.
Finally, make sure the pot has a drain hole at the bottom to let excess water run out.
You can plant Hens and Chicks in cactus soil or potting soil mixed with 50% gritty materials such as coarse sand, pumice, perlite, and lava rock to help improve its quality of drainage.
How to Propagate Sempervivum Heuffelii “Lemon Sky”
The best way to propagate Sempervivum heuffelii Lemon Sky is by using the offsets that it produces.
Unlike other Hens and Chicks types of succulent plants where you simply pull out the pups from the soil, the procedure of removing the offsets from Lemon Sky is a bit different.
Step 1: Use a sharpened and sterilized knife or garden shears to separate the clumps of offsets from the rosettes growing from the main plant. For a better chance of successful propagation, keep the roots with the stem intact with the offsets.
Step 2: Allow the offsets to grow calluses over a 2 to 4-day period.
Step 3: Plant the calloused offsets in well-draining soil.
Step 4: Lightly water the soil and move the pot near a window that gets 4 to 6 hours of sunlight. You can also use a Grow Light.
Step 5: Once the roots have fully taken hold of the soil, water only when the soil has gone completely dry.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Sempervivum Heuffelii “Lemon Sky” Toxic to Cats and Dogs?
Sempervivum Heuffelii “Lemon Sky” isn’t included on the list of plants that are toxic to cats and dogs found on the website of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
Why Is My Sempervivum Heuffelii “Lemon Sky” Dying?
Sempervivum heuffelii Lemon Sky can tolerate dry and frosty conditions but once you overwater the soil, you put it at the risk of dying due to root rot. You must also be on the lookout for disease-carrying pests.
If you see yellow-blackish spots on the leaves, check if they feel mushy. Discolored and mushy leaves are telltale signs of an infection taking place.
Cut off the infected sections with a sterilized knife to stop the infection from spreading. Once this is done, do the same to the roots.
Give the plant 1 to 2 days to rest and recover in a clean and dry area while you prepare a new pot. Fill the pot with fresh cactus soil and repot Lemon Sky. Don’t water right away. Give the succulent 2 to 3 days to get used to its new environment.
Aphids, vine weevils, and other scale insects are natural predators who are out to eat the leaves of Houseleeks and drink its sap. These pests also leave behind substances that can contaminate your succulents.
You can wipe off the waxy substances from the leaves by using a cotton ball soaked in 70% isopropyl alcohol but a mild insecticide or fungicide might be more effective. Spray the plant with diluted neem oil to keep pests away.
If you’re growing Lemon Sky indoors, make sure the plant gets enough air circulation otherwise it will develop molds.
Once you see molds growing, cut off the infected sections and move Hens and Chicks to an area with better air circulation.
Yes. Monocarpic succulent Sempervivum heufelii “Lemon Sky” will produce yellow-colored flowers after 3 to 4 years then die shortly thereafter.
Last Updated on June 9, 2022 by Sofia Lara