Litchfield County real estate information, local events and more.


Alien Pods? Or a Gift From Thor...

Hens and ChicksI am always waiting for the mother ship to come and get me, seems I missed it yet again. I was busy doing something I am sure and missed my ride home. However, they did leave me a gift, a container of pods are here, getting ready to spew and take over all the non believers. (Can you tell I spent the better part of my youth engrossed in Star Trek???)

OK, so that's not true. These are my Hen and Chicks. They are the coolest plant ever, not requiring any work on my part at all. They can withstand drought, heaving snows and freezing temps, neglect, whatever! All I do is walk by them and say... wow!

But did you know that early Europeans planted them on thatched roofs to protect from lightening strikes? The scientific name for Hen and Chicks is Sempervivum tectorum. Translation of sempervivum is "always live", which makes sense as it is an evergreen. Tectorum means "on roofs". This little plant was somehow associated with the two gods of thunder, Thor and Zeus. Europeans believed that if they planted these on their roofs they would be protected by the gods against fires produced by lightening strikes! And it seems that is not so far fetched as Hens and chicks are indeed fire-resistant.

Now go and plant some Hens and chicks... just don't put them on your roofs. Unless of course you have one of those new fangled thatched roofs. I wonder if you get an insurance discount for having them on your thatched roof...

Or just maybe they really are alien pods.

Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County Real Estate

2017 President, Greater New Milford Board of Realtors

2017 Connecticut Magazine 5 Star Realtor


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Litchfield County Regional Office,375 Danbury Rd, New Milford, CT 06776


© Andrea Swiedler 2009 - 2017

 Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest. - Mark Twain

Comment balloon 32 commentsAndrea Swiedler • July 18 2011 09:25AM


I have never seen those before, very interesting article.

Posted by Kathy Sheehan, Senior Loan Officer (Bay Equity, LLC 770-634-4021) over 7 years ago

Andrea, They are very unusual they eventually open?

Posted by Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!, So Utah Residential, Referral & Relocation REALTOR (Prado Real Estate South) over 7 years ago

Andrea, at first I thought you were talking about the hens and chicks on your farm?  I've never seen them before and thankds for that bit of info.

Posted by Lora "Leah" Stern 914-772-4528, Real Estate Salesperson (Coldwell Banker, 170 N Main Street, New City NY 10956) over 7 years ago


I used to grow those back when I was a kid.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) over 7 years ago

Andrea - good luck with trying to talk the insurance company to give you a discount. :)

Posted by Mike Yeo (3:16 team REALTY) over 7 years ago

We've got a few Hens & Chicks planted and just love having them!  Tough little plants! :)

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 over 7 years ago


I just learned more about hens and chicks in two minutes than I did in 58 years!

Featured in the Group "Whacked!!!"

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional (Richard Weisser Realty) over 7 years ago

Kathy, they are the easiest things to grow!

Wanda, they open, but do nothing really. Just very cool looking!

Nope, no chickens here, LOL!

Steven, aren't they fun?

Mike, it's worth a shot, don't you think?

BLiz, I love them! No work at all.. my favorite type of plant!

Richard, thank you!

And for those of you that haven't seen the entire plant, here are a few shots..

hen and chicks

hen and chicks

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) over 7 years ago

I think they're alien pods!!  Ha ha never thought of that before!!

Posted by Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS 602-380-4886, Arizona's Top Banana! (Phoenix Property Shoppe) over 7 years ago


This is a poem. For me, who spent a part of my life in the Arctic, where things were going by their generic names, like trees, flowers, birds, as we did not have those, it is a poem.

I have not seen them, and everything you wrote is fascinating. Their history, and even their present name that you use.

Cool post

Posted by Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL, Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices (Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408) over 7 years ago

Hi Andrea-always enjoyed having them in my gardens. Fun facts about the roof plantings too!

Posted by Marco Giancola, Realtor (305)608-1922, Miami Beach Florida (Beachfront Realty) over 7 years ago

Anna, I am quite sure they are... they look like it to me!

Jon, these are so much fun! The name hen and chicks comes from the fact that the hen, which is the one that produces the flower, also produces the chicks that surrounds her. Of course she dies, but the chicks take over and can become hens themselves. Thank you! Glad you liked it! Especially after my previous post, LOL.

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) over 7 years ago

Wow..never heard of them, but they are cool the photos too...have a great week!

Posted by Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®, Giving Back With Each Home Sold! (RE/MAX Realty Center ) over 7 years ago

Andrea, I was completely unfamiliar with that plant, now I am wondering where is the mother ship?  LOL

Great photos!

Posted by Tony & Darcy Cannon, The C Team (Aubrey and Associates Realty) over 7 years ago

I had a bunch of those hen and chicks plants in my garden... when I had a garden. And they're definitely a pretty neat looking plant for sure.

Posted by Craig Rutman, Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor (Helping people in transition) over 7 years ago

Andrea you said "They can withstand drought, heaving snows and freezing temps, neglect, whatever!" 

Well they never met me.  Bring a plant into my house is like giving it the kiss of death ......... LOL

Posted by George Souto, Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert (George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages) over 7 years ago

Andrea- I'd forgotten all about these little plants and how much I like them.... and now.. I know a lot about them too!

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) over 7 years ago

I have never heard of these or seen them before today. They are VERY cool looking. Will have to see if Stewart's Garden Center has any (since I kill most of my plants!)

Posted by Joni Bailey, Your Huntsville / Lake Livingston Area REALTOR® (101 Main St. Realty) over 7 years ago

Marco, they are fun, and way to easy to grow! I thought it was very interesting about the roof plantings myself.

Kristin, they are cool looking, thank you! And you have a wonderful week too.

Tony, I stand outside every night looking for the mother ship. I am very disappointed that I missed it. I am looking forward to going home!

Craig, and very easy to grow, aren't they? No garden huh? Well, that gives you more time to be online, LOL.

George, I bet even you can grow them. I am sure of it! I will bet you a quarter you can....

Kathy, maybe you can get some of them and grow some! Or plant them on your roof...

Joni, you won't be able to kill these guys, seriously. Hope you find them!

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) over 7 years ago

Lol I am a huge Treckie myself and used to live for that show as a kid!

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 7 years ago

Bill, I knew there was another reason I liked you! Other than your sparkling and stellar personality that is. I was so excited, Netflix just put on a whole slew of the Star Trek series! From the original to Enterprise. I love them all!

OK, back outside to wait for the mother ship...

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) over 7 years ago

Andrea very interesting plant.  I think it is the type of plants some of my friends without a green thumb should plant unlesssof course you are George #16:)

Posted by Jennifer Fivelsdal, Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection ( JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571) over 7 years ago


How interesting!

When I went to a local organic grocery, I saw something that was so unusual, and it's called Buddha's hands. It's supposed to be a fruit. But I haven't known of a restaurant that serves it.

Posted by Pacita Dimacali, Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA (Alain Pinel) over 7 years ago

Andrea, I would love to plant some of these hen and chicks in my garden. As I am sure they are deer resistant??? and hopefully would grow in my area.

Posted by Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®, Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate (Vision Quest Realty) over 7 years ago

Andrea, Great photo - I sure didn't expect the whole plant to look like it did! 

Posted by Susan Brown (Keller Williams NE, Kingwood Texas (Humble & Atascocita too)) over 7 years ago

Wow Andrea - I've never heard of hen & chicks before.  Very informative - thanks for sharing the very interesting history to these plants! 

Posted by Karen Bernetti over 7 years ago


You are so funny!

Ann Hayden in Wildwood, MO

Posted by Ann Hayden, (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties-St. Louis Missouri) over 7 years ago

I was going to say I have never seen those buds...but after the entire plant was shown I think I have seen it. Does this plant have a scent?

Posted by Sussie Sutton, UTR TEXAS Realtors - Rep for buyers and sellers. (UTR Texas Realtors) over 7 years ago

Wow, Andrea - we have tiny "hens and chicks" in our rockery, but I don't think I've ever really noticed those little alien pods!  Great pictures...and now I'm going to wonder when the pods will take over...

Posted by Karen Hawkins, MBA - Langley & Surrey, BC (Royal Pro Real Estate Network) over 7 years ago

I was going to say I had never seen them before, but I saw your full sized pics. My parents had one of those along our walk. Haven't seen one I think since. Very cool.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 7 years ago

When it comes to plants, I’m the resident dummy. I like your hens and chicks, though, although I like barbecued ones better!

Posted by EC, JF, Double R and Zoey the Cool Cat (Russel Ray Photos) over 7 years ago

I love anything that does not require much care. If I will not find it in TX I will ask you to mail me a peice of this plant. I love the picture.

Posted by Anna Dovger, Home Staging -The Woodlands, TX (Add Value Home Staging LLC, 281-704-6607) over 7 years ago