Hen and Chick Plant Dying? Here’s What to Do

Hens and chicks are typically easy to care for. As they grow in tight rosettes, they tend to maintain a neat appearance without much effort. These plants don’t require frequent watering, pruning, or deadheading. If your hen and chick plant is drying, I’ll explain how you can save it. 

Some of the reasons why your hen and chick plant is dying include overwatering, underwatering, seasonal dormancy, insufficient lighting, and pests and diseases. If you recently moved the plant or repotted it, it might be going through transplant shock.

When hens and chicks plant is unhealthy or dying, you’ll tell from a number of signs.

  • The leaves of the plant may appear droopy, wilted, and limp.
  • The plant may turn brown or yellow or appear dull and fading.
  • Stems, leaves, or roots getting soft and mushy.
  • The whole plant looking shriveled, wrinkled, and smaller than usual.
  • The plant may emit a foul smell indicating severe rot.

Why hens and chicks plant is dying

There should be nothing to worry about when hen and chick plant dies after blooming. It is part of this plant’s lifecycle and you can’t stop or prevent the natural process.

However, if your plants are looking unhealthy, the following are issues that may be causing it.

Underwatering or poor drainage

The hen and chick plant is a succulent, meaning that it can store water in its fleshy stems and leaves. This succulent needs less watering and soil that drains sharply. Overwatering can cause root rot and other fungal issues that may kill the plant.

Like other overwatered succulents, hens and chicks plant may shrivel, wilt and die when the soil remains consistently wet. Excess water in the soil fills up all the air pockets thus depriving roots of oxygen. This makes them rot, which stops the plant from receiving important supplies.

How to fix

If you suspect overwatering, carefully examine the plant to determine the extent of the damage. Remove the plant from the soil and cut off all the damaged sections. Use a clean pair of scissors or pruners. Let the plant dry out for a few hours and repot it in fresh and well-draining soil.

When potting or repotting hens and chicks plant, makes sure to use a pot with drainage holes. Growing succulents in containers without drainage is one of the leading causes of root rot. Do not use an oversized pot as it may also retain excess water than what the plant needs.

Seasonal dormancy

Hen and chick plants are super cold hardy, with many varieties all the way down to U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zone 3. However, these plants stop growing and enter semi-dormancy when the temperature drops below 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

During a cold winter, plants grown outdoors may appear like they are dying but they always wake up again in spring. It’s only the outer leaves of the plant that are drying out while the inner ones are well-protected from the effects of frost. So, there is nothing you should worry about.

What to do

When the succulent enters winter, cut back on watering. You may just water it once per 4 weeks to keep it alive. If you’ve grown your hens and chicks in containers, you may bring them indoors. However, keep them in a bright location but away from cold drafts and any source of heat.

Dormancy is an important process in succulents and other plants. It makes them prepare adequately for the upcoming growing season.

Transplant shock

Hens and chicks spread pretty fast and one way to keep them healthy is to keep thinning them out at least on a yearly basis. This involves removing some of the offshoots and planting them in separate containers.

If transplanting is not done well, your plants may experience transplant shock. However, with the right care for your hens and chicks, everything should resume to normal in a couple of days.


The best time to transplant hens and chicks plant is during the growing season, in spring or early summer. Before dividing the plant, it’s important to water it adequately. When planting the pups, use well-draining soil and place them in a place with bright indirect light.

It’s also important not to overwater the new plants or place them in direct sunlight. This can cause stress and make the plants look like they are dying. If you are introducing new plants to the sun, do it gradually over time until they acclimate to the new light conditions.

Insufficient sunlight

The hen and chick plants thrive in full sunlight. As with green plants, sunlight is essential for photosynthesis. If the plant is not receiving enough light, it may become weak and leggy or even die if it’s not able to produce enough sugars for survival.

How to fix

If hens and chicks are growing tall, move the pot to a location with bright light. A south-facing window can be a perfect spot but protect the plant from intense afternoon sunlight. You may also add some artificial grow lights to supplement the natural light.

The most important thing is to ensure that your succulent is getting at least six hours of direct sunlight each day.


While hens and chicks are drought-tolerant, they still need some water to survive. If the plant is extremely dehydrated, it will start to shrivel and even die. Underwatering can also make the succulent drop leaves, or turn yellow and crispy.

What to do

The best way to revive your underwatered succulent is just to water it gradually until it recovers. If the plant is not showing any recovery inspect the soil for compaction or root damage and repot the plant in fresh potting soil. Be sure to remove any parts that are severely damaged.

Pests and diseases

Insect pests might also be the reason your hen and chick plant is dying. They can suck sap out of the leaves and stems of the succulent, causing it to weaken. Some of the most common pests on this plant include mealybugs, scale insects, spider mites, and aphids. 

How to treat

Inspect your plant for signs of pests. Check carefully and you might see small brown spots or scale-like insects on the plant. White cottony fuzz on the succulent is also a sign of infestation, particularly with mealybugs.

Isolate the infested plant to prevent the spread of pests to other plants. Treat the plant with neem oil or insecticidal soap. Be sure to follow the instructions on the product label carefully. You may need to reapply the treatment to completely get rid of the pests.

Final thought

Hens and chicks are beautiful plants to add to any garden. Although easy to grow and maintain, a few errors such as underwatering, overwatering, and insufficient lighting may affect the health of the plant and cause it to lose its vigor.  if your plant is dying, take immediate action to look into what’s causing it and fix as needed.

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