9e57aef8bdc9d52e9a9ec8fa39ec5612

Often referred to as succulents because of their thick, moisture-retentive leaves, sedums are actually desert plants.

carolemccraysm.jpg

The tiny, abundant, star-shaped flowers appear in the summer. Later toward fall, the clustered flower heads can turn a warm brown. These form the seedpods and are especially attractive in a winter garden. With the first dusting of snow in my garden, the sedum’s flower heads are topped in white. It is such a pretty sight, and the sedum provides texture and shape on my austere winter landscape.

There are over 400 varieties of sedums. The genus Sedum is native mainly to rocky, mountainous regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Because of where they originate, they are often referred to as “stonecrops”.

photo_1_-_sedum_goldmoss_stonecrop1a.jpg

Most sedums will do just fine as far as adapting to the climate in zones 4 to 9. Planted in full sun or partial shade and well-drained soil, sedums will fit into many places in your landscape. As a ground cover, edging a border, carpeting a sloping bank, nestled into a stone wall crevice, trailing in a window box or container or filling spaces in a rock garden; these are some of the numerous roles you might find sedum can play year-round in your garden. In summer, the palette of flowers on sedums can be pale pink, dusty pink, rosy pink, pinkish-red, mauve, white and yellow.

sedum_album_baby_tearsa.jpg

A lovely ground cover is sedum acre ‘Golden Stonecrop, a wonderful golden sedum. Yellow flowers appear in spring and summer atop green succulent like foliage resembling moss. Another one to carpet the garden is Sedum spurium with a growth habit of 3 inches high. It forms a low, spreading mat of dense green foliage covered later in the summer with pink flowers topping the carpet. Both of these low growers are ideal for filling in a crevice garden with nooks and crannies hugging them, for an interesting planting in rock gardens or for carpeting sloping banks. Two more ground huggers are Sedum album chorticum, sometimes referred to as Baby Tears and growing to a height of 2 inches and Sedum album, also known as Coral carpet sedum with a height of 2-6 inches. In cold weather Baby tear’s small, bead-like foliage has a touch of pink and white flowers in the summer. Star-shaped flowers appear in early spring on Coral carpet sedum, and its mat of bright green foliage often is tinged in salmon pink—how pretty would it be trailing from a window box or terra cotta pot! If you are thinking of adding sedums to your fall garden, a good one for stunning seasonal color is Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’, a superb ground cover and carpet for a hilly slope. ‘Angelina’ goes from green to gold to a lovely orange in the fall.

photo_3_-_sedum_crystal_pink1a.jpg

Taller growing sedums are best planted at the edge of a border or walkway where they are able to remain somewhat upright. Reaching heights of about 16 inches, two upright and showy ones to consider are Sedum spectabile‘Crystal Pink’ and Sedum spectabile‘Mr. Goodbud’. ‘Crystal Pink’ is a brand new sedum from Terra Nova Nurseries with the iciest pink heads you’ll ever see. Large heads of the softest pink on shorter stems make an awesome combination with blue-leaved grasses or with echinacea. It is an improvement upon the traditional ‘Autumn Joy’ sedum because the blooms hold together stronger. Butterflies are attracted to it. ‘Mr. Goodbud’ has gained a lot of popularity among many gardeners. This dusky S. Spectabile has tight foliage and strongly contrasting colors between its light buds and dark mauve flowers. In 2006, it won the Royal Horticulture Society’s Award of Merit. 

Sedum 'Mr. Goodbud'

With a wide range of habit, color and eye-catching foliage, the choices of sedums are many. They will delight you year-round, some as early as spring when flowers appear and continue through summer till fall and lend textural interest to your winter garden. Give these garden showstoppers a try. 

Carole McCray is an award-winning garden and lifestyle writer and artist who lives, writes gardens and paints in the scenic Laurel Highlands in southwestern Pennsylvania. She won the 2003 Garden Writers Award of Achievement for her article on Native Seeds published in The Christian Science Monitor Newspaper.


Plant Care Reminders

Poinsettia tips
Shrubs Ron Vanderhoff

Poinsettia Pointers

Last year, about 41 million poinsettias were sold in the United States.
King Palm Plant Care
Trees Phil Bergman

The King Palm (Archontophoenix) Care & Use

Jungle Music Palms and Cycads is a family owned and operated business established in 1977

Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) -…

6837 Julie Bawden-Davis
Hibiscus Monthly Plant Care
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

Fuchsia (Fuchsia hybrida) - Monthly…

4687 Julie Bawden-Davis
Fucshia hybrid Monthly Plant Care Reminders
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

Jasmine - Star (Trachelospermum…

3786 Steve Brigham
Star Jasmine Monthly Plant Care
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

Gardening Articles

Fungus on Soil Wood
Fungus Ron Vanderhoff

Can Gardeners Appreciate the Fungus Amongus?

For sure, if there’s one thing a purist doesn’t want to see in their garden, it’s mushrooms!
Bill Teague
Expert Bios The Mulch

Bill Teague - Southwest

Region: Southwest

Why Garden?

3176
Ron Vanderhoff
Only two or three years ago gardening was pronounced dead. 

Beyond Bees: How many other pollinators can you identify in your garden?

9376
Metalic Sweat Bees
Did you know that 98% of our flowering plant species need animal assistance for…

Peonies in our local Southern California gardens? And the Verdict is . . .

37982
Peonies
Serious gardeners love a challenge, especially when it comes to zones, frost,…

Plant Recommendations

Salvia apiana
Plant Recommendations Susi Torre-Bueno

California Natives - Southern California

Susi Torre-Bueno's Top Plant Recommendations: Favorite California Natives.
Salvia daghestanica
Plant Recommendations Andy Maycen

Salvia - Best For Rock Gardens - Southern California

 Andy Maycen's Top Plant Recommendation: Favorite Salvia - Best For Rock Gardens in Southern California.

Bulbs - Desert of Arizona

7193 Julie and Steve Plath
Narcissus
Julie Plath's Top Plant Recommendation: Favorite Bulbs for Deserts of Arizona.

Gold Ivies - Southern California

5812 Pat Hammer
Hedera helix 'Golden Ingot'
Pat Hammer's Top Plant Recommendation: Favorite Gold Ivies for Southern California. 

Trees - Southern California by Taylor…

16336 Taylor Murphy
Cassia - Gold Medallion
Taylor Murphy's Top Plant Recommendation: Favorite Trees for Southern California.

Featured Plant Care

Calendula officinalis Monthly Plant Care Reminders

Calendula officinalis (Pot Marigold, English Marigold) - Monthly Plant Care Reminders

in Annuals
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!
Dahlia spp

How to Save Dahlias in Northern Gardens

Dahlia plants are perennials that have a limited range of hardiness, from zones 8 – 10.
Citrus & Avocado Tree Guide

Citrus & Avocado Tree Planting and Care

in Edibles
Citrus and Avocado trees are well adapted to most areas of San Diego County, from the…
Cymbidium Orchid Care

Cymbidium Orchids - Care in southern California

in Orchids
Cymbidium Orchids are so rewarding. Cymbidium Orchids come in so many colors and shade,…

Latest Articles

Edit Your Tagged Photos!

How to Edit or Remove A Plant "Tag" In Your Garden Photos

Instead of 'Tagging' your friends on Facebook, now you can 'Tag' your Plants in your…

Popular Articles

Baseball Field Maintenance

Baseball Field Maintenance - A General Guide for Fields of All Levels

in Lawn
More great baseball field resources can be found here (including a pdf version of this…
Queen Palm Care & Use

The Queen Palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana) Care & Use

in Trees
Jungle Music Palms and Cycads is a family owned and operated business established in 1977
Microgreens

What are Microgreens and How to Grow Them

in Edibles
Microgreens are tiny leafed vegetables that are grown from seed and require very little…
Kahili Ginger Plant Care

Hedychium gardnerianum (Kahili Ginger) - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

User Guides (Slide)

Popular Recommendations (Slide)