Hens and chicks, also known as the Sempervivums are hardy plants. They are popular among gardeners due to their ability to reproduce by their shoots.
Although these are low-maintenance plants, you may get caught in a situation where Hens and chicks start to turn white.
Let’s get to know: Why Hens and chicks are turning white?
Hens and chicks turn white when they are stressed in any way. The most common cause for their white and pale appearance is sun stress. The other reasons for it are watering issues, poor soil, fungal infection, etc.
A few years ago, I had a hens and chicks plant, I used to care for it a lot but it started to appear pale and white. That’s when I decided to keep them in bright light for a few days till it gets back to normal. Eventually, the plant was healthy and fine.
Now, let’s get to know the possible reasons for Hens and chicks turning white.
Top 7 Reasons why Hens and Chicks turn white
It is important that you take care of them correctly and understand their requirements. Here are the 7 reasons:
1. Sun stress
The most common reason for Hens and chicks turning white is that they are sun-stressed. When you expose the plant to direct sun for a longer duration that causes harm to plants.
Their tissues get damaged and in order to protect themselves, the plant turns white by releasing chemicals and reducing photosynthesis.
Sometimes it is very difficult to treat the extreme sunburned plant.
How to Fix:
- You must keep them in bright light for a week or give them indirect sunlight till they get back to their natural appearance.
- Hens and chicks need direct sunlight for 3-5 hours daily, avoid keeping them more than 5 hours in sun.
- If they are planted outdoors, keep them under a cloth shed, it will save a lot of your efforts.
2. Watering Problems
When you do not water the Hens and chicks correctly, that can cause them to turn white. You must avoid overwatering or underwatering them, just understand their watering needs so that they do not turn white.
When you water them excessively, that can cause rotting in the plant and white appearance can be the early signs of it.
When you water them less frequently, that can cause dry leaves and a pale appearance. Therefore, understand the watering needs and water them correctly.
How to Fix:
- Use the soak and dry method to water them. It means water only when the soil is completely dry, this is one of the best ways to water them and understand their watering needs.
- Avoid watering on the leaves of the plant, which increases the humidity of the plant and causes rotting. Water directly into the soil.
- You can water them once a week too, if you are not a fan of the soak and dry method.
3. Wrong Potting Soil
Having good soil is very important for any plant’s healthy growth. When Hens and chicks are planted in poor soil, it stays damp all the time, which causes damage and root rot.
When they are planted in such soil they might turn white and pale, this type of soil retains a lot of water in it. So, you should always consider having fast-draining soil.
This type of soil flushes away all the excess water and retains just moisture in it. It also has a lot of nutrients for the healthy growth of plants.
How to Fix:
- Consider buying a good quality fast-draining soil, it has good drainage and will avoid any rotting.
- You can also use a homemade potting mix, to make a homemade potting mix take ⅓ portion of each soil, perlite, and cocopeat and mix them.
4. Pest attack
A pest attack is the worst thing to happen for a plant. The most common pest that attacks the Hens and chicks are the Mealybugs.
These are a tiny white creature that makes their home on the plant leaves and stems. Mealybugs feed on the plants and slowly eat up the whole plant. It is quite difficult to save plants from these bugs, early detection is the key.
Mealybugs can be the reason for the white appearance of your plant. They are contagious so you must isolate the infected plant immediately.
How to Fix:
- Consider applying pesticides or alcohol rub on the plant till the mealybugs completely vanish.
- Isolate the plant immediately as they spread rapidly from one plant to another.
- Early detection is the key, therefore you must inspect the plant every week
- Do not forget to look for the blind spots such as under the leaves or at the stem and plant joining. These are the most vulnerable places.
5. Fungal infection and Rotting
When the Hens and chicks are overwatered they are prone to fungal infection and rotting. When the plant has a fungal infection then the infected area of the plant turns white.
This is the early sign plant shows that it needs to be taken care of. This happens with rotting also, when the plant is overwatered or kept in poor soil, it might get root rot, and the plant turns white.
How to Fix:
- Apply fungicide on the infected area to treat fungal infection. Make sure to avoid chemical-based fungicides.
- Avoid overwatering them, use the soak and dry method for watering the Hens and chicks.
- Keep them in a good potting soil that drains faster.
- For root rotting, make sure to cut the rotted roots. To know more make sure to visit:
6. Lack of nutrition
Plants need all the essential nutrients to grow healthy and beautiful. When they do not get those nutrients they might start to appear pale and white.
This is an indication, that you need to provide them extra nutrients and for that, you must fertilize them.
Soil is not capable of giving the plant all the nutrients, so fertilizing the Hens and chicks is very important.
If your Hens and chicks are turning white then make sure to first check all the above reasons before coming to this one.
How to Fix:
- Consider fertilizing Hens and chicks once a month at least.
- Use organic fertilizers as the chemical ones damage the plant.
- Avoid fertilizing them during winters, always fertilize them right before their growing season.
The last reason could be that it is happening naturally. Sometimes, it is just the nature of the plant or a season when they turn pale or little white.
If you are taking care of all the needs of the plant, and do not find any of the above reasons, then Hens and chicks might be turning white naturally.
Do not worry about it, they will get back to their normal appearance within a few days or as soon as the season changes.
Hens and chicks turn white mainly when they are going through stress. You must take care of them correctly and understand their needs. Look for the above-mentioned reasons and take appropriate action to treat the plant.
I hope you found this information useful. Do share it with others.