Hauswurz: Unpretentious mini perennials

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House sprouts (Sempervivum) are very special plants: they have a very short stem axis with closely superimposed leaves, which are arranged rosette-like. Only the flower stalk dares to bloom from the leaf rosette. Thanks to this structure, house roots can reduce evaporation to a minimum and survive long periods of drought. The characteristic rosettes have helped the rock garden plants to poetic name: The perennial breeder Karl Foerster, for example, they also called stone roses.

The most well-known representative of the Hauswurze is the Dach-Hauswurz (Sempervivum tectorum). People believed that their magic powers were reverberating. So it was considered safe protection against lightning. Charlemagne even decreed that every farmer on his roof should have such a plant. The roof house washes were not only lightning rods, they also held straw and thatched roofs and masonry crowns together.
An efficacy against numerous diseases was said to the plant as well. Pastor Kneipp advised to take a tea from Dach-Hauswurz for stomach ulcers, nausea and blood cleansing. Even today, the so-called aloe vera of the north is popular as a medicinal plant: The fresh juice should have a cooling, analgesic, anti-inflammatory and wound-healing effect.

Survival in the mountains

Houseleek perennial

The house root comes out with very little water and nutrients. It can quickly form tight mats

The Hauswurz spreads by daughter rosettes and can form larger mats in a relatively short time. Its botanical genus name means "everlasting" - it probably stems from the fact that the perennial plants retain their leaves in winter and thrive even under extremely poor growing conditions. The distribution area of ​​the various rhizomes is limited almost exclusively to the mountainous areas of the northern globe such as Pyrenees, Alps, Balkans and Carpathians. There, the plants usually grow in rock crevices and live on their own dead plant parts.

Houseleek clay bowl

House sausages of different colors and shapes can be combined well with each other. Pots, bowls, crockery - the thick-leafed plants can be planted in every vessel, only good drainage of water must be taken care of

Diverse quick-change artist

Anyone who has taken a liking to the Hauswurz, is fast becoming a passionate collector, because the variety and variety of the robust thick-leaf plant is huge. In total, about 200 species were described, of which only about 60 species are botanically recognized. In addition, there are now over 3000 varieties. The house roots vary in growth form, rosette size and leaf color and there are rosettes with or without hair.
Noteworthy is the play of colors of the house sausages in the course of the year. Most leaf rosettes show the most beautiful colors in spring, with the reddish tones dominating. In the summer heat, the colors are paler and in autumn most rosettes are greenish. The biggest influence on the coloring but has the altitude. The higher the location, the more intense and luminous the colors are. In addition to the variegated rosettes, the house shrubs in summer also show attractive flowers in various shades of red, pink, yellow, cream and even white.

Location and use

Domestic wall

House sausages are real hunger artists. Even cracks in the wall are populated by them

The robust house root loves the sun. If it is too shady, it loses its typical shape and stretches towards the light, the plant forms fewer daughter rosettes and does not bloom. Domestic sausages are ideal for rockeries, roofs, wall joints and masonry crowns. Even tuff and limestone can be excellently planted in their cavities and depressions with various home-root species and varieties. Combine Hauswurze with partners who have the same or similar location requirements. Good partners are low fat hen, cowbell, starvation, cat paw, creeping thyme, small grasses or various types of saxifrages.

Houseleek planting bowl drawing

Sempervives are very modest in terms of soil conditions. Especially important is a good water permeability of the substrate

Of course you can also put home-made sausages in a variety of vessels, such as pots of clay or terracotta, enamel dishes, tin cans or even old wooden or leather shoes. But you have to make absolutely sure that the water can pull off, because waterlogging tolerates the thick-leaf plant not. First fill in the planter with sufficient drain holes and then place a layer of gravel or expanded clay. So that the holes do not get muddy later, it is best to cover this drainage layer with a piece of fleece. The exhaust holes can also be secured by potsherds.Add about one-third of gravel, lava, sand or grit to the commercially available container potting soil. For a more intense leaf color, you can also add a handful of mature compost. But beware: too much organic fertilizer leads to monstrous rosette growth. The plants are mastig, spongy and hardly bloom.

Propagation of house root

Houseleek with flowers

Most house shrubs bloom in the third year. After flowering, the rosette dies

House roots are monocarp, which means that the rosettes die off after flowering. However, young people are taken care of: the plants multiply through the formation of subsidiary rosettes, which sit at the foothills of at least two-year-old rosettes. For a varietal propagation, you only have to remove the daughter rosettes and put them in small pots with soil. After a very short time, the plantlets grow roots and grow. An increase by sowing is possible, but quite elaborate, besides, the offspring vary greatly in color, shape and size - but just this variety is one of the reasons why many hobby gardeners appreciate the house roots so much.

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