Sedum is a large group of plants encompassing ground covers suitable for rock gardens right up to 3 feet tall busy specimens. They are usually succulent annuals, or evergreen or semi-evergreen biennials, perennials, shrubs or sub shrubs. Many are very hardy for the outdoor garden and other more tender species can be grown as house plants in northern climates.
When you have a difficult site like I do, and you find a plant that does well, it’s difficult not to seek out every different species of that plant that you can find to incorporate into your garden. Sedums love a hot, sunny, dry, well drained site which is exactly what I have. I even have the slightly alkaline soil they prefer. Given these conditions they are a very easy plant to grow and in some cases can even become a bit problematic.
Over the years I have collected several different varieties for my garden. They now pop up here and there, not always by my own design.
Sedum kamtschaticum is a great ground cover or rock garden plant. It has dark-green scalloped leaves and yellow-orange flowers.
Sedum ellacombianum is another great ground cover with bright lemon-yellow blooms in late summer. Works well in border fronts, wall gardens or rock crevices.
Sedum Vera Jameson is a mid size sedum and has gray-green leaves tinged with purple. It spreads and looks good in containers or rock gardens. Growing in barrel above.
Sedum telephium Matrona is a border variety and grows taller than most other varieties. With deep gray-green foliage edged in pink and masses of soft pink flowers in the fall, it’s a real winner.
Sedum spectabile Brilliant has flashy broad clusters of bright pink, small starry flowers. Makes a great butterfly plant.
Sedum Mr. Goodbud is quite a new introduction. It has very large heads of light purple buds wich contrast with the dark purple flowers. This is a more compact variety and excellent for mass plantings.
Sedum Autumn Joy is a classic variety which will never disappoint. A border variety it produces enormous dusty-pink flower heads which ripen to a rich bronzy-red. I leave them standing all winter for winter garden effect and also for the birds.
Sedum spurium John Creech forms a very low mat and works well between flagstones. With rounded deep green leaves and small clusters of mauve-pink star shaped flowers in summer it is great for massing as a lawn substitute.
Sedum rupestre has cylindrical, pointed gray green leaves with upright woody stems. In summer it produces terminal clusters of star shaped yellow flowers and is best used in rock gardens.
Sedum acre is one I wish I had not introduced into my garden. A vigorous mat forming evergreen perennial it can spread like wild fire. I am fighting it constantly as the least little bit you leave behind will come back to haunt you at a later date. Buyer beware on this one.
Sedum rupestre Angelina is another new variety. I was immediately attracted to its golden-yellow leaves which add a nice punch to the rock garden. I have not however been able to grow this successfully. Each year a small, rather pathetic patch of it returns but never does more than that. It is sold as a zone 3 plant but I tend to question it’s hardiness.