Sempervivum Arachnoideum Care: 9 Simple Strategies

Sempervivum arachnoideum – Cobweb hens and chicks – are easy maintenance succulents that offer interesting visual appeal without much work during the summer in USDA hardiness zones 3 through 11. If you provide a neutral 7 pH, well-draining sandy soil, and full sun exposure, you can enjoy cobweb succulents that grow to their mature height of 6″ to 18″ wide and 6″ to 12″ tall.

red sempervivum arachnoideum in rocks

I’ve enjoyed the easy maintenance of these plants for several years. The coolest thing is to grow them in my kids’ shallow rock garden decorated with “pet rocks.” It looks awesome next to other rock-loving succulents when they start changing colors. Check out these easy care tips for an Sempervivum arachnoideum.

sempervivum arachnoideum

Table of Contents

close up of sempervivum arachnoideum

How to Care for Sempervivum Arachnoideum?

Sempervivum arachnoideum are simple yet gorgeous rosette succulents that you can grow as indoor or outdoor low-growing plants for your borders.

Plant Your Spiderweb Succulent in Well-Draining Soil

Hen and Chick plants are partial about their soil. Although they can tolerate any medium, they prefer gravelly or sandy soil that’s easier to drain. 

You can treat heavy soil with perlite, sand, gravel, or pumice to improve drainage and allow for better aeration. Instead, use a succulent growing medium for indoor potted plants.

Choose a Location in Full Sun to Partial Shade

Hen and Chicks do best when you grow them in full sun to get optimal coloring. But they can also tolerate half shade. 

The best position for indoor plants is in a south-facing window. However, you will need to rotate the plant every couple of days to give each side equal sunlight for even growth. A sign your plant isn’t getting enough sunlight is the leaves appear stretched out, or the rosette is less compact. 

Sempervivum arachnoideum ariel view with pink flower

They Need Average Warm Temperatures and Humidity

The preference for average temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit is a popular reason for choosing a spider web succulent as a houseplant. But they can also survive higher temperatures. 

Cold temperatures won’t cause them to die. But they may experience stalled or stunted growth if the temperatures drop too low. In addition, freezing temps can cause them to become semi-dormant. 

They can also tolerate various humidity levels, doing as well in dry climates as in mid to medium humidity. But too much moisture can be harmful due to the plants not liking a lot of water.

Avoid Overwatering a Spider-Succulent Plant

Cobweb succulents won’t require a lot of water.

Mature plants can survive several weeks without watering and only once weekly in the summer.

Reduce watering to once every three to four weeks in the winter. Young transplanted plants will need watering as the soil dries out to become established. 

Wait until the top inch of soil dries out before you water the plants again. Then add enough water that it starts to drain out of the bottom of the pot. Avoid getting water on the plant and pour it onto the soil at the base. Afterward, empty the saucer or collection tray below the pot of water.

Sempervivum arachnoideum with webs and water droplets

A Slow-Release Fertilizer Is Appreciated but Not Necessary

Because Hens and Chicks prefer neutral, poor soil, it’s not necessary to fertilize them. However, some people like to add fertilizer to boost growth. Use care, so you only add a little. And dilute the solution by half and apply with spring and summer irrigations.

Cobweb houseleek plants do best in a 70:30 growing medium with a neutral pH of 7. But you can use a low-nitrogen mix formulated for cactus and succulent plants. Also, look for brands with beneficial soil microbes and a slow-release breakdown. 

What Pots Do Cobweb Succulents Prefer?

Hen and Chick plants do best in shallow pots that allow for well-draining. And because they do better dry than wet, the best pot material is clay. Ceramic and terracotta are two types of clay pots known for the ability to wick water, preventing the soil from staying wet and avoiding rot. The difference between the two materials is the temperature at which they are baked.

In terms of size, it’s up to personal preference. To form a cluster colony, you can grow a Cobweb plant in individual pots. 

Or you can grow several plants together in a large pot. Hen and Chicks also look and perform great when planted with mixed succulents or put into a small rock garden.


sempervivum arachnoideum in clay pot

How Do I Propagate Chicks and Hens?

You can propagate a spider succulent by separating the baby plants from the adult plant or by seeds. To propagate Cobweb plants, you’ll need to cut the Chick (the offsets) from the Hen (main plant). Again, it’s best if you can keep the roots attached.

Create a shallow hole using a trowel to transplant your offsets. First, spread the roots and then add the soil to the hole up to the crown. Then lightly compact the soil around the roots. Next, apply light watering on the earth, letting it dry out completely before watering again.

When growing from seeds, apply them on the top of a succulent or cactus growing medium. And then, lightly dampen the soil before putting it in a sunny location. The seeds should germinate into seedlings in three weeks.

sempervivum arachnoideum chicks and hens

Do Hen and Chicks Need Overwintering?

If you’re growing Hens and Chicks outdoors, there’s no need to provide winter protection. But you want to keep the ground clear of debris like mulch and leaves to avoid wet conditions. You do not have to remove snow from your plants, as the roots won’t rot in frozen ground.

Allowing the soil to stay wet at any time – but especially in the cool conditions of winter – can cause rot. In addition, potted Hen and Chick plants are not as tolerant of temperature extremes and require shelter during the winter or brought indoors.

What Can Affect Cobweb Plants?

Potted Hen and Chick plants that grow in greenhouses, indoors, or in moist conditions are at higher risk of developing problems with pests and diseases.

The most common pest culprits are aphids or mealybugs. One way to treat them is to soak a cotton ball or q-tip in rubbing alcohol and swab the bugs you can see. Or you can also use neem oil or an insecticidal soap as a general pest preventative.

Due to poor drainage and prolonged moist conditions, hen and chicks can also break out in fungal leaf spots. Root rot is also a possibility. Again, keeping your plants dry is the best preventative. 

What Are Some Problems and Solutions?

In most cases, you won’t have any problems growing Hens and Chicks. However, when you run into an issue, it’s likely due to improper care – typically incorrect watering. 

sempervivum arachnoideum in bloom 
side view

Mushy Soft Texture

If you’re noticing that the leaves are wilting and turning soft, it’s probably that you’ve added too much water. Unfortunately, overwatering frequently leads to the plant rotting from the roots up. 

Once the roots start to rot, there’s no saving the plant. Your best course of action is to remove the plant from the ground and try to keep any chicks before discarding the damaged parts. If your plants continue to rot, the cause could be that the soil isn’t properly amended. You may need to add gravel or sand for better drainage.

Dying of Rosettes

Mature hen plants will naturally die away between four and six years after planting. So it’s necessary to remove them after dying. And the rosettes – hens – have a natural tendency to die back if it has produced flowers that turn into seeds. So most Hen and Chicks plants are unlikely to flower with proper care. 

If your plants produce flowers, it could signify that you’ve given them too much water or were too heavy with the fertilizer. Putting your Cobweb succulent plant in darkness after being in bright light can also cause flowering. 

FAQ About Caring for Sempervivum Arachnoidem

Do you cut back Sempervivum?

Sempervivum plants do not require cutting back or pruning. 

Is Sempervivum an indoor or outdoor plant?

Hen and Chicks can be indoor or outdoor plants.

What do you do with the Sempervivum in the winter?

Sempervivum plants can tolerate being left outdoors during winter if you clean the ground. However, potted plants will need shelter or brought indoors in cold weather.

How often should I water my Sempervivum?

Hen and chicks require infrequent watering as needed when the soil dries out. It can be once a week or every two weeks in the summer. And during winter, stretch it out to every three to four weeks or longer. 

Use These Care Tips to Get Happy, Healthy Hen and Chicks

Sempervivum arachnoideum can grow in various conditions indoors or outside with minimal assistance. They love full sun, but they’ll survive with shade as long as you get the temperature correct between 65 and 75 degrees F. These plants don’t mind if you don’t give them fertilizer, but they will care if you give them too much or too strong a dose. 

The biggest concerns are to choose a well-draining coarse soil, the proper moisture-preventing pot, and proper watering, only as needed. 

Enjoyed this Sempervivum arachnoideum plant care guide?

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Sara Trimble
Sara Trimble was the lady who could kill a cactus. Today, she’s the fun and fabulous expert plant mom who rocks at growing the coolest, trickiest plants. Her favorites to grow are orchids, roses, succulents, and luscious vines. Sara has grown – and killed – hundreds of plants and she shares her green-thumb successes and failures to help other plant murderers discover correct plant care. In her spare time, she raises four kids, two dogs, and a husband.

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