Saturday, October 8, 2011

Fall Sedums

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.

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.

White Dragon's Blood, Sedum spurium 'Dragon's White' is an evergreen ground cover. 
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 spectabile 'Meteor' is 40 cm tall. It needs 60 cm of spacing and has Magenta flowers August and September. Full sun is recommended.

 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!


  1. I must found some of these . Outstanding presentation, Jennifer !
    Have a nice weekend !

  2. Lovely sunny sedum pics - what a selection, a definite on my 'must have' list.

  3. Very nice post. Loved all the different pictures. They are spectacular. And I need to remember to get some hens and chicks. I have a spot perfect for them. But the part about sedums not growing in clay makes me a little sad. :( I realized that, yes, the sedums that are growing in my garden are in sand that was brought in to fill that bed.

  4. LOVE this post! Thank you for all the great informaion!

  5. No need for apologizes, I LOVE all of this flowers shots! Nature is so beautiful! :-)

  6. I remember you teaching me about this plant years ago. I always plant a few in an old, weird ceramic container I made. Like the fellow who plants in the bits of dead coral, I love the way they get comfortable in odd places, eventually tumbling out. Jennifer I love the combo of cool pinks and greens you captured - one of the reasons I like sedum too. Happy Autumn!

  7. My favorite: Angelina, especially as it turns color in winter. But you have shown so many fascinating sedums, I may soon have more favorites. What a versatile family of plants!

  8. They are all sooo beautiful that I am wishing to grow them too.

  9. I love the sedum's thanks for showing to me the different specie's.
    Gr. Marijke

  10. An absolute gem of a post, so informative and with great pictures. Some plants work when we get a variegated form,others don't always look so good, the variegated Sedum you show is one I will be looking for.

  11. Fantastic photos and inspiring to add more sedums to the garden...... Rosemary

  12. Fabulous collection of sedums. A spectacular plant especially in fall!!

  13. I love sedums and am adding more to my garden each year. This is an amazing selection you show here. I enjoyed looking at every one!

  14. I am glad this was one post. You really highlighted the sedum and showed many ways the versatile plant is used, Loved that front yard. I don't have any of the taller varieties in my garden, but use them a lot in project designs. They are indispensable for Fall color and texture. Gorgeous photos too.

  15. I share the sedum love with you. My most special sedum moment was finding a very diminutive species growing above the treeline, next to a snowbank in the Rockies. I was not expecting that. Great post!

  16. I just happened to have my coffee when I sat to read. =) Great post!!!!! I LOVE the Dragon's Blood. I am going to ask Michael if we can get that. Love. The Coral gardens are really cool I like that. Great idea I might add. Nice shot at the end with the snow.

  17. I absolutely loved this post! With such a huge variety of these glorious plants, I could well imagine that a garden could be created using them, solely. Those little coral gardens are so beautiful. Such a great idea!

  18. Piłam kawę i podziwiałam te rośliny. Kilka mam w swoim ogródku, ale na taki wspaniały dywan nie mam miejsca. Oglądałam też Twoje wspaniałe pieski. Ja mam tylko jednego , też wspaniałego i kochanego.Pozdrawiam

  19. Sedums have such a great array of plants in their family. Love the pictures...the one of the Hens and Chicks in the coral is really neat.
    I saw a lot of the Snow on the Mountain while in Kansas this summer. Might think about getting some next summer.

  20. sedum autumn joy does live in clay soil, I have had it in my clay soil garden since july 2017 it is now nov 2017 and it is still alive.


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