Our gardens are graced with many kinds of succulents that were originally native to Europe. These include familiar stonecrops as well as houseleeks.
Also called hen-and-chicks, all of these European perennial species are noted for their fleshy foliage arranged in neat rosettes. As it matures, each rosette produces pups or new rosettes, attached to the mother by slender stems. When a rosette is mature enough, it will produce tall flower stalks. Borne in terminal clusters, the blooms can have as many as 15 or so petals. It is common for houseleeks to hybridize on their own.
The European species of houseleeks include the following.
Cobweb houseleek (Sempervivum arachnoideum) is common in the Mediterranean
region as well as in Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and Austria where it grows in rocky places. Blooming from July through September, it has rose red blossoms.
Houseleek (Sempervivum tectorum) features pale red blossoms with colorful purple filaments. It blooms from July through August. This species is found in the mountains as well as the lowlands on rocky sites. This is frequently grown on rooftops and walls. It occurs in Spain, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, and the former Yugoslavia.
The mountain houseleek (Sempervivum montanum) grows in rocky places in the mountains of Spain, France, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania, and the former Soviet Union. For the most part, the mountain houseleek has purplish-red blossoms though they can sometimes be yellow. These open from July through August.
Yellow houseleek (Sempervivum grandiflorum) is pretty much restricted to the mountains of Switzerland and Italy where it grows in rocky places. Blooming from July through September, this perennial features yellow blossoms with a touch of purple at the base. The filaments are also purple.
Another houseleek (Sempervivum wulfenii) is found in the Alps. From July through September, this species has vivid yellow flowers. They have purple filaments and a purple spot at the base.
Orpine (Sedum telephium) is also called livelong. This plant is found throughout Europe mostly in rocky places and woods. From June through September, this plant has lilac or purplish-red blooms. In rare cases, these flowers can be white.
Hairy stonecrop (Sedum villosum) is one of the few succulents that can take damp soils. This is found in wet fields, bogs, and marshes over much of central and northern Europe. Most of the time, this will behave as a perennial. However, it can sometimes be a biennial. The lilac or pink blossoms open from June through August.
Thick leaved stonecrop (Sedum dasyphyllum) is native to much of southern Europe. Elsewhere, it has naturalized in northern regions as well. Its lovely white blossoms have tinges of pink.
English stonecrop (Sedum anglicum) is found in Western Europe and the British Isles. It grows in dry or rocky sites.
White stonecrop (Sedum album) is found throughout most of Europe. This perennial grows in rocky places, and is often cultivated on rooftops and walls. Blooming from June through August, the flowers are mostly white. Occasionally, they will be pink.
Alpine stonecrop (Sedum alpestre) is found in the mountains of southern and central Europe. It has yellow blossoms that usually open from June through August.
Stonecrop (Sedum acre) is also known as wall pepper. This perennial features delicate stems with tiny leaves. These grow in the form of a mat. Found throughout most of Europe, this grows in rocky and sandy places. In June and July, the vivid yellow blooms open.
Sedum ochroleucum is a perennial that is most common in southeastern Europe and the Mediterranean where it occurs in rocky places. This plant features whitish-yellow to yellow blooms that appear from June through August.
Sedum sediforme grows in the Mediterranean region and Portugal. A vigorous plant, this has delicate yellow or whitish-green blossoms.
Rock stonecrop (Sedum reflexum) is found over most of Europe in rocky places. This has prostrate stems and yellow flowers that open from June through August.
Sedum tenuifolium is native to the Mediterranean region. This has yellow blooms with red veins. These open from spring through the early summer.