Houseleeks – something I never knew!

We grow quite a few houseleeks, or Sempervivums to be Latin about it. They are great little plants that need very little attention and seem to comfortably spread out when planted in clay pots. They also make for very useful plants when creating a green roof.

As a child I pondered if the name Houseleek (or as my dyslexia led me to believe “Houseleak”) derived its name from the fact it would have been used to plug a leak in the roof of medieval houses and huts. Well despite my inability to spell I wasn’t too far from the truth as I found out later in life that the good old houseleek had in fact been grown on roofs in Anglo Saxon times to protect from witchcraft and lightning. Its common name – Houseleek – simply means house plant (leac being ‘plant’ in Anglo-Saxon). Its Latin, Sempervivum tectorum also reinforces much of what the plant is about with semper meaning “always”, vivo meaning “alive” and tectorum “of roofs”.

So what? These are things I’d learnt and knew but it wasn’t until earlier this year that a flowering pot of sempervivum (which had been blown over by the wind) released another old English secret ….. and I’m not pulling anyones leg here this is true, meet the good old houseleek who has a little known, but somewhat longer old English common name of….  “Welcome-home-husband-however-drunk-you-be”…  

Houseleek - aka "Welcome-home-husband-however-drunk-you-be"



One thought on “Houseleeks – something I never knew!

  1. When friends move into a new home, I always give them a rooted houseleek as an extra gift. No home should be without them. The sap takes the heat and itch out of all sorts of skin irritations…. sunburn, nettle stings etc. A natural anaesthetic.

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