If you look at your garden every year at this time and think it’s a little bare, you need to start planting sedum plants. A fabulous easy plant to grow that does wonders to fill in the fall flower scape. Often called stonecrop, sedums are actually succulents. With thick fleshy leaves filled with water they are exceptional drought tolerant plants.
There are many low growing varieties which make great ground covers or rock garden plants, and taller species growing to about 2 feet tall or more for the perennial border. They have very attractive flowers and leaves, some of which are yellow toned or variegated.
I particularly like the taller varieties of sedum spectabile. They form an upright round clump of beautiful thick fleshy blue-green leaves. The plants form a tidy clump and do not spread and are generally pest free. Sedum flowers are large flat heads of pink, red or white blooming at the end of summer straight through to frost.
Sedums looks great when planted in small groups or as a small hedge. They prefer light sandy well drained soil of poor to average quality. They love full sun but will tolerate light shade. Sedums have very low water needs, are easy to divide and super hardy to zone 3. Sedums are a long living plant, which grows on difficult sites, all the while attracting bees and butterflies into your garden. What more could you ask for in a plant?
Some varieties are showier than others and I have my favorites. Sedum Autumn Joy is a long time winner, very reliable with masses of pink flowers that mature to a salmon pink in late summer and fall. The blooms then turn to a rust red and stay intact right through winter. I never cut them down in fall as they really give the winter garden a lift. They even look good with dollops of snow sitting on top.
‘Brilliant’ is a little shorter and has a more yellow green leaf. The flowers are a little flashier, a bit of lavender in the pink. ‘Carmen’ comes in at about 2 feet tall with bright rosy red flowers and ‘Meteor’ has burgundy red blooms. A bit different is ‘Star Dust’ with white flowers and ‘Variegatum’ with green and yellow leaves and pink flowers. A relatively new cultivar is ‘Mr. Goodbud’. Although not as tall the light purple buds contrast with the dark mauve flowers making it very showy in the garden.
My favorite is Sedum telephium ‘Matrona’. Taller than most other varieties it has deep grey-green foliage with an edging of pink and large clusters of soft pink flowers. A real knockout with ornamental grasses.
About the only way to kill a sedum is with kindness or soggy soil. Too much feeding or watering will be of more harm than good. Plant sedum in light well drained soil and lots of sun and they will do the rest.