Hens and chicks turning red are usually due to succulent stress in one way or another.
This is often caused by growing conditions or environmental factors that your plant is not used to or prepared for.
Here are the main causes of your hens, chicks or leeks turning red and what you can do about it.
Hens and chicks thrive in temperatures in the 60s and 70s.
When temperatures exceed this range, they can stress your succulent and cause your house leek to release anthocyanins, a pigment in the leaves that can cause your plant to turn red.
This usually only happens when your plant has been stressed and intense heat can certainly do this.
When your hens and chicks are left outside in less than ideal temperatures, or during a heat wave, you can expect to see signs of sunburn, such as brown or crusty leaves or leaves or red tips.
In either case, you need to consider where you are planting and the weather each day.
Although hens and chicks will turn red from high heat, this does not mean that the end of the plant is just red, it is best to avoid any real damage that may occur.
If you find the temperature is out of range, move your home indoors for now and grow near a window or under a grow light.
Once the temperature has returned to a more comfortable level, you can resume growing outdoors as before.
Otherwise, you risk sun damage which can scorch the leaves and eventually peel off.
Transplant shock can be another culprit for hens and chicks turning red, as it is a major stressor for plants.
Again, when succulents are stressed, they tend to activate anthocyanins in the leaves, resulting in red leaves or tips.
Unfortunately, transplant shock is very common and hard to avoid, so the chances of it happening are quite high.
If your hens and chicks only turned red after transplanting or transplanting, this is likely the cause.
Some other signs or symptoms of transplant shock may include the following.
- Your hens and chicks are hanging
- slow or retarded growth
- the leaves fall
When it comes to transplanting shock in hens and chicks, you usually have nothing to do but wait and your succulent will recover on its own.
This can take several weeks to several months, so be patient.
However, there is anecdotal evidence that adding Epsom salt to the soil will help the plant recover faster.
In general, let the appearance of your home do its thing, but keep checking to see if the plant has changed in the meantime, as red leaves or tips aren’t that bad, especially after transplanting.
Hens and chicks can be infested with a variety of pests, but spider mites in particular can leave red spots after eating the leaves.
Unfortunately, spider mites are very small (1/50th of an inch), so they can be quite difficult to spot if you’re just looking for the insects.
When it comes to these parasites, you usually have to rely on looking for symptoms to know if you have a parasite problem.
Some other signs or symptoms of spider mites may include the following.
- Cobweb material on the leaves
- hanging leaves
- rolled up leaves
- Holes in the leaves
- Leaves are sticky (honeydew remains)
- Bronze or yellow markings
- The leaves turn white or pale.
- yellowing of leaves
- brown leaves or tips
In general, there can be a real risk of your chickens and chicks turning red due to mite infestation and you will need to remove these pests to prevent further damage.
If it’s mites, you may be able to tap the leaves and place a sheet of paper underneath to see if anything falls on them, just to be sure.
Either way, if you suspect you have really nasty mites or infestations, there are a few things you can try to get rid of them quickly.
- Give it water with a little pressure to vaporize them.
- A cotton swab soaked in alcohol to rub the leaves
- You can spray the plant with insecticidal soap to get rid of it.
- You can use neem oil spray to kill them and prevent them from coming back.
Although hens and chicks are hardy succulents and can survive in zones 3 to 8, their leaves can still turn red when faced with cold stress.
It can also happen when the temperature suddenly drops, such as during a cold front, as this can cause at least a small amount of stress.
Similar to how people can experience heat shock as if traveling by plane from a hot continent to a suddenly cold continent within hours.
It would shock you.
The same goes for succulent hens and chicks.
As for the leaves of your hens and chicks turning red from cold temperatures, nothing needs to be done until they suffer frost damage, such as turning black, brown, or crusty.
Otherwise, you can enjoy the different colors.
If you notice damage starting to occur, simply bring your succulent indoors where it can thrive in a good temperature range.
lack of watering
Finally, one of the main causes of red leaves in hens and chicks can be attributed to lack of water.
When you expose your succulents to drought, you can expect them to change color due to light stress.
Although it won’t harm the plants, you still need to be careful not to stay underwater for too long or it will become a problem.
So if you’re giving your hens and chicks less water than usual, that’s probably the cause of the red leaves or tips.
If you don’t want your hens and chicks to blush from lack of water, water more frequently to avoid dry conditions.
Water only as soon as you notice the soil is dry.
You can check if it is dry by touching the ground.
If the top inch or two is completely dry, you can water, otherwise you can hold out a little longer.
Keep in mind that watering frequency can change depending on the temperature or the seasons, so it’s best to check the soil before giving your succulent anything to drink.
Will the red sheets return to normal?
In fact, your hens and chicks will return to normal over time and the stress will dissipate as long as you reduce the stressor and continue to provide good care.
By now you’ll realize that red leaves on hens and chicks isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it could mean something is stressing the succulents.
As long as this stress does not cause serious problems for the plants, you can enjoy the red leaves of your hens and chicks!