Sedums or stonecrop are extremely attractive additions to any garden. These drought-resistant succulents are known for their thick leaves, fleshy stems, and clusters of star-shaped flowers that brighten up a garden especially in the fall.
Furthermore, they’re so easy to grow that even novice gardeners can successfully propagate them in the garden. Today, we’ll be taking a deep dive into planting and caring for sedums in your garden.
Let’s get started!
What are Sedums
Sedums are leaf succulents found primarily in the temperate to subtropical climates of the Northern Hemisphere. However, they can also be found in the Southern hemisphere in Africa and South America being most diverse in the Mediterranean, Central America, Himalayas, and East Asia
They are extremely resilient plants. They can withstand high temperatures, poor soil, full sun, and drought but also low temperatures and deep freezes.
There are two main types of Stonecrop Sedums: Tall sedums and creeping sedums.
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Tall or upright sedums grow taller and can reach up to 1-3 feet in height depending on the variety and environment. Because of their height and tight mass of tiny flowers, they make for attractive borders and great additions to pollinator gardens.
Meanwhile, creeping or low-growing sedums are tiny, spread quickly, and form ground mats. They have colorful fleshy leaves (copper, blue, yellow, maroon, etc.). This makes them a great option as a ground cover along paths, in rock gardens, or cascading down stone walls.
Sedums have semi-glossy and thick leaves with fleshy stems. They are topped with pastel-colored flowers that are rich in nectar. This makes them attractive to pollinators like butterflies, bees, and moths.
Common Uses for Sedums
Sedums are typically cultivated as ornamental garden plants because of their attractive appearance and inherent hardiness. Some of the most popular varieties used in gardens include Herbstfreude (Autumn Joy – I have these in my drought resistant garden area), Bertram Anderson, Matrona, and Ruby Glow.
Some stonecrops including Sedum reflexum, also known as “prickmadam”, “stone orpine”, or “crooked yellow stonecrop”, are occasionally used as a salad leaf or herb in Europe, including the United Kingdom. The same is true for Sedum divergens, also known as “spreading stonecrop”, which was eaten by First Nations people in northwest British Columbia. The plant is used as a salad herb by the Haida and the Nisga’a people.
It’s important to note, however, that the juice from the stems and leaves may irritate the skin if handled excessively.
Sedum is also a popular option for green roofing and is often preferred over grasses. This is because they are very shallow-rooted and so they don’t need a lot of growing medium in order to thrive.
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How to Plant Sedums
Sedums thrive best in full to partial sun. Taller varieties need full sun for best blooming while creeping varieties will grow just fine in partial shade.
Make sure that the soil is well draining with a neutral to slightly alkaline pH. Avoid wet and heavy clay as this can lead to root and stem rot.
Tall sedums should be placed 1 to 2 feet apart while low-growing varieties can be spaced 6 to 12 inches apart depending on how quickly you want to fill an area.
They are best planted in the spring after the last frost. You can plant transplants until late summer if you’re in northern areas. If you live in a warm climate, plant them in spring or fall.
Sedum Care Tips
As succulents sedums are very drought tolerant. However, they do need to be well-watered especially if they are newly-planted.
When it comes to fertilizing, sedums can tolerate low-fertility soils. A 1-inch layer of compost during planting and annually in the spring is enough to keep them strong throughout the season.
Use bark mulch to keep weeds away. You can also use gravel to help maintain soil moisture while keeping it well-drained.
Sedums are relatively safe from pests and diseases. However, you need to make sure that the soil is well-drained to prevent root and stem rot. They may also be infected by powdery mildew so it’s important to space them apart properly to keep the leaves dry and to increase air circulation.
Do you grow Sedums? What do you grow and which is your favorite? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts.
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