- The Sedums in a nutshell
- The word of our Expert
- Species and Varieties
- Care tips
The Sedums in a nutshell
- Sedum is perfect for creating a maintenance-free dry garden! It grows quite well without fertilizer or watering, even in very poor soil.
- Its late flowering brings color in early fall, when the garden begins to run out of flowers.
- Sedum flowers offer a great diversity of color. Discover the superb pink blooms of Sedum spectabile, yellow Sedum reflexum or white Sedum album!
- Grow upright varieties such as Sedum telephium in beds or borders, and groundcover ones (Sedum spurium, Sedum reflexum, etc.) as ground cover.
- Very robust, Sedum offers exceptional resistance to drought and temperature variations!
THE WORD OF OUR EXPERT
Sedum is an exceptional plant for its resistance to drought , temperature variations as well as diseases and parasites. It is a plant that could be described as very autonomous . She manages on her own and lives quite well even if the gardener does not take care of her! Cuttings are extremely easy to make. It has become the reference plant for green roofs .
Very fashionable , Sedum is becoming a plant of choice for composing urban gardens, green
roofs or water-saving gardens . It responds to current concerns in terms of ecology and urban gardening. Easy to grow, it occupies the space left free by other plants, in barren areas with superficial soils, and makes it possible to green and color these places even in the middle of winter (for evergreen species).It is a succulent plant offering a great diversity , both in its forms and its colors! Its port can be
upright or carpeting , its flowers are available in pink, white or yellow , and depending on the variety, its leaves are more or less blue-gray, yellow-orange or purple. It is possible to mix the species to obtain a particularly colorful and varied set! The leaves often take on red or bronze tints in the fall, which makes them very decorative, even when flowering is over.Sedum can be used as well in the composition of beds (like Sedum ‘Matrona’) or borders , as in the constitution of rockeries or green roofs . It can also bring a touch of color to an old stone wall!
Sedums have a wide range in the Northern Hemisphere . Many species are found on the American continent, such as the beautiful Sedum palmeri which comes from Mexico, or Sedum lanceolatum , which can be found in Canada and the United States. Sedums are also present in Asia, in eastern China as
Sedum spectabile , and around the Mediterranean as Sedum album , via the Balkans and Carpattes. They are also found in North Africa.Sedum belongs to the Crassulaceae family , which has about 1,500 species of mostly succulent plants. In this family we find Kalanchoes, Crassula and Houseleeks. These succulents, commonly called ” succulents “, have adapted to life in an arid environment by storing water in their tissues, which gives them a “puffy” appearance. Their metabolism makes them particularly adapted to drought. Their stomata (organs regulating gas exchange) open at night, because the temperature is lower there, and close during the day, which prevents water loss.There are more than 400 species of Sedums, and many varieties. They are closely related to the genus Hylotelephium , which is sometimes used as a synonym of Sedum. In France, there are about thirty species, including Sedum acre , Sedum rupestre or Sedum album , which generally grow on low walls , in riprap or dry lawns , in a sunny situation .
We can distinguish two main categories of Sedum:
- The small creeping Sedums , with a carpeting habit. They follow the shape of the ground, and often measure 10 to 15 cm in height. During flowering, we thus obtain beautiful carpets of small starry, yellow, pink or white flowers. This is the case of Sedum acre or Sedum spurium . Most of these Sedums are used in green roofs. Their leaves are often small, elongated and evergreen. They can take on various colors (purple, yellow, red, green, etc.), which makes them remarkably decorative.
- Large Sedums with an erect habit . This is the case of Sedum spectabile , which can reach 60 cm in height under good growing conditions. They are mainly used in beds and borders. They bear generally wide, flat, toothed leaves.
Flowering generally appears late , starting in August. She is so generous that creeping Sedums sometimes seem to disappear under a carpet of brightly colored flowers! On upright Sedums, the flowers are grouped in dense, flattened inflorescences. Even after flowering, the dried inflorescences remain decorative in shape.The flowers take the form of small stars. They usually have five petals , five sepals and ten stamens. The bloom can be white , pink or yellow . The shades of pink are varied, the color is more or less pronounced and goes almost to red ( Sedum ‘Dragon’s blood’)! The flowers, in particular those of Sedum spectabile , are melliferous , they attract butterflies and bees with their nectar.
The leaves of Sedum also take various shapes, but are always fleshy and relatively thick. Indeed, Sedum is a succulent plant (or “fatty plant”): its leaves allow it to store water in order to resist drought. Their shape varies: they can be wide and flattened , as in Sedum spectabile , or small and imbricate , as in Sedum acre , or even cylindrical and elongated, as in Sedum album . The leaves of Sedum spectabile are 10 cm long, against only 3 mm for Sedum acre !
The leaves of the majority of carpet sedums are evergreen , or semi-evergreen , that is to say that the plant retains its foliage in winter if it is mild. Those of erect varieties, such as Sedum spectabile , are usually deciduous .
There is a great diversity in the colors of the foliage ! There are varieties with silver foliage ( Sedum spathulifolium ‘Cape’Blanco’), burgundy ( Sedum ussuriense ‘Turkish Delight’), bicolor , or even tricolor ( Sedum spurium ‘Tricolor’ )! More generally, the leaves tend to change color depending on the conditions: they can turn red by water stress, or simply when autumn arrives. This quality deserves to be exploited. Thus, by combining various species, you can obtain a patchwork effect with many colors!
The roots of Sedum are shallow , which makes it particularly suitable for green roofs. It can thus grow with little substrate. It is for this reason that it is found in nature on walls, roofs, rocks, cliffs… It is satisfied with little!
Sedum is a remarkably hardy plant . It generally supports both very low and very high temperatures. Many species are hardy down to -15 to -20°C . It requires sun and significant drainage . Indeed, it does not support stagnant humidity, which risks rotting its roots. It is wind resistant and withstands spray well.
Sedum has medicinal properties , especially Sedum spectabile . In the event of an insect bite, take a small leaf, remove the skin film and rub it on your skin. It will quickly relieve the wound. Its juice promotes the healing of wounds, relieves burns, inflammation, warts and hemorrhoids.
Sedums used as ground cover, such as Sedum acre, can almost replace lawns. Areas with superficial, dry soil and a sunny exposure can thus be easily vegetated! This explains why Sedum is so commonly used to green roofs.
SPECIES AND VARIETIES
There are over 400 species of Sedum, and horticulturists have created countless varieties . Twenty-eight of them have been awarded an Award of Garden Merit by the Royal Horticulture Society (RHS).
- Flowering period August to Nov.
- Height at maturity 50 cm
- This upright sedum bears large inflorescences composed of mauve-pink flowers, which take on more pronounced hues and turn bronze in the fall. Its foliage is bluish green.
Sedum Matrona – Stonecrop 9cm bucket
- Flowering period August to Oct.
- Height at maturity 60 cm
- Sedum ‘Matrona’ is a remarkable variety with an upright, vigorous and robust habit. Its purple stems and purple-veined green leaves contrast nicely with its pale pink blooms.
Sedum reflexum Angelina – Stonecrop 9cm bucket
- Flowering period June to August
- Height at maturity 15 cm
- Ground-covering variety with starry yellow flowering and rapid growth. It bears leaves of a magnificent green-yellow color taking on an orange-red tint in the fall, and which remain decorative in winter.
Sedum spectabile Carmen – Autumn Stonecrop 9cm bucket
- Flowering period August to Oct.
- Height at maturity 50 cm
- Sedum spectabile ‘Carmen’ is a fairly tall variety with purple-pink flowers and bluish-green foliage.
Where to plant?
The planting location depends on the type of Sedum you have chosen. Thus, if you plant a tall variety , with an upright habit, install it in beds or along the path . On the other hand, if you have chosen a small upholstered Sedum , you can place it in a rockery , on a low wall , on a paving or on a green roof . You can also choose to plant your Sedums in pots, and create a composition by combining various species. Sedums have a very superficial rooting and an often carpet-like habit, choose a pot that is sufficiently wide and shallow. This will prevent your plants from being too cramped.
Sedum requires direct sun . It will be happy if you install it against a south-facing wall. It also needs very well-drained, dry and porous soil. If it is heavy, add gravel or coarse sand to allow drainage. It may even be slightly chalky, but should not be too rich. Sedum tolerates wind and spray very well.
The Sedum requires almost no care . Perfectly resistant to drought, it generally does not require watering . However, if it is planted in a pot and not exposed to rain, you can water it very moderately. Sedum also has few nutritional needs , it grows well in poor soils , fertilizer inputs are unnecessary. Watering, like adding fertilizer, could on the contrary make it larger, less compact and more fragile.
It is rarely attacked by pests or parasites, except gastropods (snails and slugs) and caterpillars, which can nibble the leaves. If you grow your Sedums in pots, their roots can be attacked by vine weevil ( Otiorhyncus sulcatus ). However, these attacks remain fairly infrequent, and Sedum is rather resistant. The only point to watch out for is the risk of root rot, if the environment is too humid.
Sedum, like most succulents, propagates naturally vegetatively , from a single leaf or stem touching the ground. Cuttings are therefore very easy. You can also propagate it by seed or clump division. If you leave the flowers withered, the Sedum will tend to reseed itself naturally.
Sow sedums preferably in the spring. The fineness of the seeds makes the operation a little delicate, less easy than for other species.
The seedbed must therefore be very fine , because the seeds are small. Mix these with sand to facilitate sowing and arrange them as evenly as possible. You don’t have to cover them with soil, but you can tamp them lightly so that they are in good contact with the substrate. Place the pot in a bright place and at a temperature between 20 and 25°C. Water gently from time to time. The seeds will sprout in a few weeks.
Sedums offer such a diversity of shapes and colors that many combinations are possible! It is especially necessary to choose plants that have the same needs : dry, draining soil, and sunny exposure. Generally, rock plants or alpine plants are very suitable: Stemless Gentians, Bellflowers, Helianthemums or Saxifrages. The Houseleek ( Sempervivum ) is a plant that goes well with the upholstering Sedums! If you choose to plant your Sedums on a low wall, you can combine Sedum album or Sedum spurium with Campanula muralis !
The Sedum can also easily integrate a Mediterranean, dry, predominantly mineral garden. It will go well with Lavender, Thyme or Santoline. You can add some elegant grasses: they will bring lightness alongside the Sedums whose foliage is more massive.