I apologize in advance, because this is a bit of a long blog post. Maybe I should have divided it into two posts, but for some reason I really wanted to keep this whole family of plants together.
So, go grab a coffee and prepare to settle in to see this long string of pictures.
Sedum/Stonecrop is a broad group of plants that have thick, fleshy succulent-like leaves. Most bloom in August/September and on into October. I happen to think that they are indispensable plants to have in the garden for late summer/early fall interest.
Let's start from the bottom and work our way up. Groundcover varieties of sedum work
perfectly at the feet of taller plants.
Even when they are not in flower, the colorful foliage of these groundcovers provides an interesting counter note for other flowering plants such as these yellow alliums (Private garden in Mississauga, Ontario on the left).
And when in flower, they play well with others. On the right, Dianthus 'Tiny Rubies' and the popular Sedum florifererum 'Weihenstephaner Gold', which has yellow star-shaped flowers in late spring. (same private garden in Mississauga, ON)
Dragons Blood, Sedum spurium 'Dragon's Blood' Full sun. Max. 10 cm high. Spacing 30 cm.
Full sun. Max. 10 cm high. Spacing 30 cm.
In my garden, I have a growing collection of groundcover sedums in a small, sloped rock garden that has sandy soil, blazing sun and no extra water available from a hose. Interesting to note: my Dragon's Blood is a deeper burgundy color and smaller rosettes than the one pictured above, which was growing in an always-warm greenhouse.
The genus name 'sedo' means 'to sit' and refers to the manner in which many species like to live on stoney ledges in the wild. Poor soil and good drainage are ideal. Sorry Tammy, they do not tolerate clay soils.
Full sun. Max. 10 cm high. Spacing 30 cm.
Like all sedum, Russian Stonecrop (Sedum kamtschatka) a drought resistant.
Sedum rupestre 'Angelina' in Edwards Gardens, Toronto.
Many varieties of sedum are deciduous, but some varieties like this one are evergreen. This sedum looked terrific paired with low blue-green evergreens at Edwards Gardens.
Sedums look especially attractive when different leaf colors and shapes are mixed together to form a tapestry.
Back in July, I showed you Heather Bradley's back garden. This is her front garden. The grass has been replaced with a collection of evergreens, groundcover perennials and sedums. No lawn mover required!
Now, on to a quick look at the group of sedums know as "Hens and Chicks."
Hens and Chickens (Sempervivum 'Gamma') has furry blue-green leaves.
If this is a plant group that is of interest, you may want to check this book out. The photography is spectacular: The Jewel Box Garden by Thomas Hobbs.
Hens and chicks don't seem to be hardy in my northern garden. Thomas Hobbs, who lives in milder British Columbia, brings his into a cool greenhouse for the winter. I don't fuss over my hens and chicks and prefer to buy a few new ones in spring.
When in bloom, hens and chicks make me think of underwater coral. And speaking of coral...
The next few shots are tiny coral gardens created by Joe Covello. He and his wife Kathy often find small clusters of coral on the beaches when vacationing south of the Canadian border. After filling the tiny crevices in the coral with sand and fine gravel, Joe plants little succulents to create his miniature gardens.
Because this is a long post, I am going to show only one favourite sedum on a mid-scale, before we move into the taller varieties. Sedum 'Sieboldii' has attractive rosettes of blue-green foliage and clusters of pink flowers in late fall. Spacing 30 cm. Full sun or partial shade is recommended.
Here is Sedum 'Sieboldii' at the feet of a fall-colored Heuchera. (This is the Spargette's garden in Brampton, Ontario shown here.)
A bed of mixed Sedum at Edward's Garden in Toronto
Taller sedum come in a wide array of colors, as you can see here. The foliage ranges everywhere from blue-green to deep burgundy. Bees and butterflies love them.
Sedum 'Purple Emperor' has purple/burgundy leaves. It is recommended that you pinch back by half in June so the stems do not flop to the ground when the plant is in flower.
Sedum Matrona. Sun or part shade (mine is in part shade). It is tall at 60-76 cm tall. Spacing is 24 cm.
Sedum 'Rose Glow' has blue-green foliage and large pink flower clusters. This shorter
vareity of sedum has a maximum height of 10 cm tall. Plant it in full sun.
Only reaching 30 cm tall, Sedum X 'Stardust' is a shorter variety than 'Meteor' or 'Autumn Charm' . It needs 30 cm of spacing and has white starry flowers in late summer. Full sun is again recommended.
Sedum 'Autumn Charm' is 35-45 cm tall and has grey green leaves with edges serrated with butter yellow. Flowers are light pink. Full sun and well drained soil.
Heading towards the end, I wanted to show you a few pictures with taller sedum in combination with other plants and in the context of a garden.
I saw this interesting combination in a garden in Malton, Ontario. Here sedum is mixed
with annual Snow-on-the-Mountain, Euphorbia marginata.
Isn't this variegated foliage great?
In Brain Folmer's garden in Walkerton, Ontario he has combined sedum
and yellow Rudbeckia.
Love those burgundy stems!
Here Brain Folmer has mixed sedum is with Persicaria amplexicaulis 'Golden Arrow.'
I add to my collection of taller sedum every year. Though they prefer sun, many of my plants put up with a fair amount of shade.
Pinching back the taller varieties really helps preventing them from flopping over when in flower.
I leave some of the flower stocks for winter interest.
Phew, we're done!
Have a great weekend! To all my Canadian friends, have a great Thanksgiving!