Succulents are unique plants that create amazingly intricate flowers, adding attractive detail to any type of garden. Sedums are a type of succulent that are often cultivated in gardens throughout the US, as their hardiness and ability to adjust to different levels of moisture makes them the ideal, low-maintenance border or flower garden filler. Sedums’ robust but subtle stems and foliage pop out of the ground in late spring, topping themselves with starry flowers during late summer and fall. Learn all about growing sedums and adding these gorgeous and versatile succulents to your flower garden in our plant profile.
Types of Sedum
Different varieties of sedum abound, but all are characterized by their fleshy, pale green leaves. Sedums are a great option for any garden, as they do well in pots or the ground, are easy to care for, attract butterflies and make exceptional cut flowers and decorations. Low-growing varieties are great for rock gardens or ground cover in drier areas – we recommend Cape Blanco, Lidakense and Angelina varieties as colorful, trailing options that are very hardy. Taller varieties are ideal as borders or for adding splashes of unique color in perennial flower gardens. Our favorites are the Dazzleberry and Thundercloud varieties, both of which grown between 8 and 12 inches tall, producing dark pink and white blossoms.
Sedums require well-drained soil in order to ward off fungal diseases that they are prone to acquiring. This is especially important if you live in a moist or damp climate, or an area that experiences high humidity in the summer. Choose a site with full sun or only a small amount of shade, as sedums love sunbathing, especially during their blooming months.
As perennials, sedums should be planted in the spring. Space them according to the type of variety you are planting, but make sure to get them at least a foot deep in the ground. Sedums multiply by the root, so you don’t try to fill in your plot when planting, as this will give the plants less growing room. Place a couple of cups worth of compost at the bottom of the hole and gently place the plant in the hole. Make sure the top of the root ball is level with or slightly lower than the level of the ground, and gently fill in the hole with soil. Water well immediately after planting.
Most varieties of sedum are fairly low maintenance, but they do benefit from additional nutrition. Apply a thin layer of compost in the spring, followed by a slightly thicker layer of mulch to retain moisture and control weeds. Sedums should be watered in the summer if rainfall is less than ½ inch per week for optimum health, but they can survive drought. Sedums are easy to divide and spread around your garden – do this in the spring by lifting plants carefully with a garden fork, separating them into clumps and re-planting them in a pot or open patch of ground.
Image: Eric Hunt.