Sedums are part of a popular garden plant trend called succulents. (If you have seen those trendy little concrete trough gardens full of plants, then you have probably been enjoying succulents!) Succulents have fleshy, water filled leaves that make them drought resistant and heat tolerant. At TGG we love sedum plants because they are the only succulents other than hen and chicks (which are also very cool BTW) that are cold hardy in most areas and can survive the winter. So let’s learn how to grow and care for sedums!
How to Grow Sedum Plants
Sedum plants, aka Stonecrop, thrive in full sun, low to average water, and most importantly, well drained soil. There are larger varieties growing to over two feet tall and wide for the flower bed and border. There are old cottage garden favorites, such as “Autumn Joy”. There are ground cover varieties that come in bright greens, grays and reds and can spread quickly, blooming in early summer, such as “Angelina”. And everything in between! They are fantastic container plants, and thrive in almost any garden. Sedum plants have succulent leaves that range from tiny needles to larger and fleshy, from gray to green to purple to blue, and even variegated! Butterflies & bees love them. And best yet, they are perennials so they come back year after year.
To grow sedum plants to look their best, here are a few tips from the pros:
- Always, always use a well drained soil. If you are planting them in containers, add either some shredded bark or sand to make the soil mix very porous. If your soil is heavy in the garden, either amend it, or grow them in raised beds and containers.
- Choose your containers to match the feel of the plants. If you are going for a succulent garden look, think concrete, stone or simple round bowls to match the contemporary vibe these plants give off. Don’t let that stop you from using them in any style garden though, this is a great way to update!
- Although they can definitely go for periods of time without water, I find if they are in well drained soil, they look the best with average watering, allowing them to slightly dry out in between.
- They do not require heavy fertilizers or rich soil. In fact, if you over fertilize, your plants will grow floppy with lots of stem, but fewer leaves and flowers.
- They can take some afternoon shade, but be careful with the taller varieties, as they will flop over if they don’t get enough sun.
- Speaking of taller varieties, in the spring when the plant is about six inches high, pinch off the top of the main stems. This will force the plant to grow more compactly, addressing that flopping over prob I previously mentioned.
Once you get sedum care down, try out some varieties of hen and chicks to plant with them. They enjoy the same water and fertilizer requirements and make great companion plants for sedums. The Latin name for these (so you know you are buying the right succulent) is Sempervirens. This photo from ‘Sunset‘ shows how great they look together in containers.
Did we mention? The taller varieties make good cut flowers too!
There are more sedum varieties than we could count, but we are going to feature some of our favorite cold hardy sedum plants that will thrive in almost any garden.
Creeping Sedum Plants
Sedum Angelina is one of our favorite sedum plants, and we have used it in every garden we have made in the past 10 years. It is tough as nails, a gorgeous chartreuse green with yellow summer flower stalks, and covers an area quickly growing 6 inches tall to 2-3 feet wide. It tolerates poor soil, drought, heat and is deer resistant. Zones 3-11, Angelina sedum doesn’t mind afternoon shade either! One of the best performing plants in our garden. And, it is great in containers too! Photo by ‘Monrovia‘.
Sedum Acre is a pretty creeping sedum plant that blooms with a bright and sunny yellow flower in spring and summer. This deer resistant plant is drought tolerant and loved by butterflies. Zones 3-9, this evergreen sedum grows 3 inches tall and 18-24 inches wide. Containers, rock garden plant or ground cover.
Blue Spruce Sedum
The Blue Spruce sedum is a favorite because of its fine, needlelike foliage. A wonderful drought tolerant ground cover, its striking blue color offers a nice contrast in the garden. Zones 3-11, it gets pretty yellow flowers in early summer, and grows 5 inches tall and 18 inches wide. From ‘Monrovia‘.
Dragon’s Blood Sedum
One of the most popular sedums for containers, this creeping sedum plant is also great as a ground cover. 4-6 inches tall and 24 inches wide, the leaves are green with a red margin. Pretty red flowers bloom in summer, and in fall the leaves turn a brilliant red. Evergreen in zones 3-9. Photo by ‘Monrovia‘.
Upright Sedum Varieties
Photo by ‘Landscape Design Associates of Westchester‘.
Sedum Autumn Fire
One of the newest sedum varieties to catch our eye, Autumn Fire starts out in summer with rosy red flower heads that age in fall to a deep copper. If you are looking for a plant for your fall garden to make a fuss over, this is the one! Hardy zones 3-11, with long lasting flowers that are also great dried. 24 inches wide and 18 inches high.
Sedum Autumn Joy
This is the iconic sedum variety planted in gardens since the famous garden designer Gertrude Jekyll used them back in the late 1800’s. The fast growing Autumn Joy sedum is as tough as they come, and grows well in zones 4-11. The flower heads start out a pretty pink, then age to rosy red in the fall. These look amazing throughout winter if allowed to stay in the garden, and the birds love them. Grows up to 24 inches high and wide. Make sure this one has full sun to prevent flopping over of the stems and flower heads.
Sedum Hot Stuff
Hot Stuff is a more compact sedum plant than Autumn Joy, but with the same upright growth. Growing only to less than 12 inches high, these sedum plants have sturdy stems that don’t flop, and gorgeous pink flowers from summer through fall. Zones 4-10, evergreen in more mild weather zones. Great for containers or the flower bed. From ‘Monrovia‘.
So grow sedum plants and enjoy an update to your garden spaces with a plant that can’t be beat! We think you will also love our posts on Sedum Projects & Succulent Planters, and Alternatives to Grass : Front Yard Landscaping Ideas!