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If you choose to plant alpines in your garden all you have to do is give them good growing conditions and they will ask very little from you and will provide all year interest in your garden. For taking good care of your alpines, here are some thinks that need to be done, by the season, in order to help you.

Spring care for alpines
In early spring weed thoroughly and take precautions against the slugs. Most of alpines are flowering in spring so the rock features that you use should look at their best now. This is also a perfect time to add new plants into your alpines if you want to make them look more spectacular. After flowering don't forget to take cuttings if you want to propagate your alpines, by using the soft, young shoots of the new growth. Root in pots of seed compost in a well ventilated cold frame in shade. It is better to propagate your alpines regularly so when the old plants are exhausted you will be able to replace them with new ones. In this period you can give them a light feed.

Year-round Alpines Care

Summer care for alpines
If weather is dry your alpines need watering, specially the ones in containers due to the restricted volume of soil in the container, best is to give them a thorough soaking then leave them alone, because light watering just bring roots to the surface and make plants less able to manage on their own on hard periods. Keep cleaning and removing dead flowers from your alpines. To remove dead rosettes from plants just cut out the rosettes with a sharp knife without disturbing the rest of the plant.

Autumn care for alpines
In this period remove dead foliage from the plants and clean fallen leaves. Top up surface chippings, tucking them under rosette plants to help deter slugs and improve drainage round the neck of the plants to prevent rotting in winter. Pay good attention to ensure good soil coverage to avoid soil compaction in winter by heavy rains.

Winter care for alpines
Protect delicate plants from excess wet and frost by covering them with an inclined sheet of glass to deflect rain or use open cloches or for large areas use a frame light which will give overhead protection without inhibiting air circulation. Some protection from severe cold may be provided by placing a layer of evergreen branches or pine boughs over the plants.

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Sempervivum

Sempervivum, also known on their common name as Houseleeks or Hens and Chicks, are succulent evergreen perennials that produce low, compact, evergreen, flower-like rosettes of succulent leaves. The plants send out numerous offsets, and spread in this manner to form a dense colony. The parent rosettes are the hens, and the smaller rosettes that spring from them are the chicks or chickens.

Although grown for its foliage, usually used in rock gardens, hens and chicks do flower. Flowers of up to half a metre develop on the branches and their colour vary from rose to pink. The foliage of hens and chicks plants are normally green at the base and reddish brown at the tip, all with close, rigid dented edges.

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