Sedums are succulent plants with thick, fleshy leaves that are winter-hardy throughout most of the United States.
Nicknamed “stonecrop,” several versions of this 400-species family are popular garden plants because they’re low-care, seldom bothered by bugs or animals, and attractive both for their flowers and leaf colors. Most also do well with limited water.
Sedums come in two main types – bushy, upright perennials that typically flower pink or magenta in late summer to early fall, and creeping types that typically flower yellow in late spring or early summer. Most do best in full sun, but a few prefer shade and damper conditions, such as the U.S. native creeper Sedum ternatum, which flowers white in spring.
Types to Try:
- If you go with an upright type, ‘Autumn Joy’ is the classic that produces clusters of bubble-gum-pink flowers in late summer on 2-foot-tall plants. ‘Purple Emperor’ and ‘Matrona’ have dark leaves, and ‘Neon’ and ‘Brilliant’ are compact types.
- If you go with a creeper, ‘Angelina’ is one of the best for its succulent, needle-like foliage that’s gold all season and red-orange all winter in most climates. SunSparkler® ‘Firecracker’ is a showy magenta-bloomer with bronze foliage, ‘John Creech’ is a pink-bloomer with green leaves that turn burgundy in fall, and Sedum kamtschaticum is an orange-bloomer with green leaves.
- The main killer of sedums is soggy soil, so pick a well drained spot in the first place and be careful not to overwater.
- To keep upright types from flopping from the weight of their flowers, trim plants in half in May. They’ll look “chopped” for a couple of weeks, but they’ll bloom heavier and without flopping later.
- Sedums are fairly light feeders. Fertilizing once or twice a year (spring and/or early fall) with an organic-rich fertilizer is usually enough.
- Cut upright types to the ground after fall frost or before new growth begins in spring. Many creeping types are evergreens that need only occasional trims or divisions to keep them neat and in their assigned space.