Years ago when our area was going through a drought, we started researching xeriscaping, and buying drought-tolerant plants. One of the plants we purchased was an ‘Autumn Joy’ sedum. We love these plants for their end-of-summer enthusiasm. In August, just when most other garden flowers are looking a little bedraggled, mounding sedums spring into bloom.
Sedums are non-native perennials, great for hot, sunny rock gardens and dry slopes; they store up water in their succulent type leaves. While they love full sun, they’ll tolerate a little shade. They grow just fine in average to poor soil as long as it is well-drained. Give them sunshine and dry feet and they will be happy.
Plant them in the spring after the threat of frost has passed. Water daily for the first few weeks, then as needed during dry spells. Once established, they truly are low maintenance. Except for cutting armloads of blooms to enjoy in bouquets, there is no need to trim them back at any time. Leave the entire plant for winter interest in the garden. Sedums die back to the ground over the winter. In the spring, simply gather up the dried stems and toss them on the compost pile.
I have three different varieties of sedums in my garden. The Autumn Joy and pale lavender sedums are mounding varieties and grow to about 18 inches tall.
Sedums are an important food source for pollinators, because there are fewer floral options in late summer and into early fall. While they are rabbit resistant, deer will nibble on them from time to time. Free-loaders.
The yellow variety was a gift, but I believe it’s a ‘Kamtschaticum‘. This semi-evergreen ground cover blooms in late spring, much earlier than the mounding varieties. Once it’s finished blooming, you’re left with a carpet of glossy, green leaves. Even though it has a spreading habit, it’s easily controlled. Kamtschaticum is tough as nails and thrives in the harshest conditions. I’ve had this variety in a hanging basket on the garage for several years and it rains seeds down into the gravel below. Now I have a nice patch of sedums growing underneath in my hot, dry, gravel driveway!
Sedum is easy to root in water. Simply take a cutting, strip off any leaves below the water line, place in water in a clear container. I like to use small mason jars or good ol’ drinking glasses. Keep an eye on the water level and replenish as needed. It may take several weeks before you see roots. Either transfer to a pot when long roots form, or transplant directly to the garden in early fall.
Our neighbor, Ronnie propagated sedums by snipping off a stem, dipping the cut end in rooting hormone and planting it directly into the ground. He had a fairly good success rate with this method.
Established sedums should be divided in spring every three to five years. Dig up the plant and slice the root system into sections using a clean, sharp knife. Replant immediately without letting the divisions dry out.
Whether you enjoy them in your flower beds or bring them inside in bouquets of cut flowers, sedums are sure to charm you. Have you planted these beauties in your garden?
To shop the post:
‘Autumn Joy’ Sedum / ‘Brilliant’ Purple Sedum / Yellow ‘Kamtschaticum’ Sedum / Mud Gloves – my favorite gloves for gardening / Kate Spade Larabee Dot Creamer – NLA, but there are some available in other colors on eBay
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