GGW Plant Pick of the Month Round Up–Sedums

– Posted in: Garden Plants

Quite a few of you chimed in with good things to say about sedums–December’s Plant Pick of the Month. I spent a day this week looking for new sedums as I walked up and down the miles of aisles at the gigantic Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show (MANTS) in Baltimore, Maryland. Although ‘Angelina’ promises to continue her prominence, I didn’t see any new exciting cultivars  among the offerings of perennials, shrubs, and other plants.

I did see ‘Angelina in quite a few containers, but mostly she was used for immediate effect rather than long-term practicality. The picture here shows ‘Angelina’ combined with various hens-and-chicks (Sempervivum spp.) that she will completely smother after only a month or so of growth. Still, it makes a nice combo in the moment!

Of course our own Nancy Ondra posted some gorgeous pictures of sedums in her post Stonecrops Rock, including  ‘Purple Emperor’  with Rosa glauca. I was sorry to hear this combination fizzled out, since it’s quite an eye-catcher! (Too bad ‘Angelina’ can’t lend some of these other sedums a bit of her excess vigor!)  Nancy’s pictures of  ‘Angelina’ with all manner of other plants are really inspirational. And even though she says they’re similar, I’m going to try  ‘Autumn Fire’ along with ‘Autumn Joy’ on my hillside shrub border next spring. Thanks for sharing Nancy!

Benjamin reported that he’s started a sedum collection, because they make such great ground covers and look  neat in the process.

Frances, another sedum afficinado, grows ‘Angelina’ along with a number of other sedums. Her post sings the praises of great garden plants like sedum ‘October Daphne’. She also gives much-deserved homage to ‘Autumn Joy’, a workhorse cultivar that adds interest to beds and borders from mid summer into winter whether planted in great drifts or as a specimen.

Gail agreed with me that Sedum ternatum is a perfect little native. What’s not to love about a ground cover that thrives in well-drained to dry soil and shade? It’s still not commonly found in the wholesale catalogs I picked up at the MANTS show, but some native plant specialists have it. I also found one cultivar, ‘Larinem Park’, listed. They didn’t have plants available at the show, but it’s described as being a compact, floriferous selection.

ESP shared “before” photos of a really promising use of sedums in the garden: A waterfall of sedums that is part of a much larger water garden overhaul.  Watch this site for an update once the plants fill in. It should be lovely!

Cameron suggested a great combination for ‘Angelina’ by planting it under her Japanese maple. Its yellow leaves contrast with the red maple’s leaves in spring, and it glows especially brightly in winter. My main patch is combined with yucca ‘Bright Edge’ in full sun, where both plants provide winter-long color.

Pam actually has found ‘Angelina’ does best in her Austin, Texas, garden with some afternoon shade, and I’m also going to try some clumps (I do have quite a few, since ‘Angelina’ is a  spreader!)  in other lightly shaded spots. I certainly have enough ground to cover and I think a bit of shade will benefit even drought tolerant sedums if the weather is hot and dry come summer.

Josh reports losing ‘Angelina’ in winter, but suspects it was due to the harsh weather. We’ve had an unusually rainy fall and winter thus far, and I’m sure my plants would be history if they were in a less well-drained spot. He also mentions S. cauticola as a favorite clumping species that features blue-green foliage. I spotted a cultivar of this species in one of the catalogs I picked up at MANTS. Watch for ‘Lidakense’,  with blue-green leaves that turn reddish bronze in winter and bright rose-pink flowers in summer.

Mr.  McGregor’s Daughter reports having control issues with S. kamtschaticum. Many of us can sympathize, I’m sure! Her post also helped eliminate one sedum from my “Plants I have to grow” list, and that’s ‘Black Jack’, which has a serious reversion problem.

Dave put up a great post on sedums, starting with how easy it is to propagate them, especially the ground covering ones like ‘Dragon’s Blood’. He also mentions ‘Autumn Joy’ along with another one that I had in my Pennsylvania garden, ‘Blue Spruce’. Thanks for the reminder, Dave. I’ll be adding a plant or two this spring! I love the blue-green color and the texture of this low-growing sedum.

I know I’m going to continue trying out new sedums along with old sedums in new spots. I hope readers will as well. They’re great additions for any garden that’s gone wild!

Barbara Ellis

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Darla January 9, 2009, 4:22 pm

I believe I have that sedum you posted in your photo, if so, it’s in several places one in a hanging basket with other plants, wherever it breaks and falls to the ground it grows. Mine is supposed to flower yellow, haven’t seen that yet. I had some blue spruce sedum that I think I overwatered. Will be looking for that one again, loved the blue tint of the leaves.

Blue Spruce is certainly worth finding again! In my Pennsylvania garden, I had a patch of it in a small raised bed that was quite well drained. It was combined with a couple of different thymes plus sempervivums. The whole area was underplanted with tiny bulbs like some of the smaller fritillarias. As for exposure, this site was shaded during the hottest part of the day, so the plants survived even if the weather was really dry.

Pam/Digging January 10, 2009, 2:18 am

Coincidentally, I just posted a photo of a gorgeous, succulent-filled stock tank this afternoon. It contains a few sedums, and I noticed that it only receives morning sun. That seems to be the key in Austin.

What a great combination, and certainly a perfect container! I really love large containers for their bold effect. They’re easier for me to maintain because they don’t need watering quite as often as smaller ones. A spot in morning sun probably makes the combo even easier to take care of, since it won’t dry out as often. I love spots with some afternoon shade in my own garden, because even here in Zone 7 on the Eastern Shore, so many full-sun plants fry on summer afternoons during dry weather.

commonweeder January 10, 2009, 3:35 pm

This is a beautiful and useful post. I love photos that I’ve seen recently (Horticulture Mag.?) of a group of sedums planted together, but as with any mixed planting I don’t understand how you handle things when they all start bumping into each other. This is probably a real newbie question, but I am mystified.

I generally let plants grow together–the results can be quite beautiful. I do keep a close eye on all participants, though, and make sure they’re all playing nicely together. I step in if one plant seems to be overwhelming the combination and the other plants aren’t withstanding the competition. Sometimes all I need to do is trim back part of one plant; other times, I move the aggressor to a new spot or divide it. Depending on the habit of the plant, you can redirect stems with stakes or other implements, too.

Becky Robert January 13, 2009, 4:31 pm

Sedum makes a great plant for green roofs as well. Check out our favorites at

Catherine January 15, 2009, 5:49 pm

Pretty photo! I love sedums, & succulents, very pretty mix here!
Love your site, and the title~Gardeing gone wild~fanastic! 🙂
Happy New Year, Happy Gardening!

ryan July 5, 2009, 8:53 pm

I guess I’m a little late to the party, but I posted about Sedum spathulifolium at

I like this idea of collecting posts from a variety of blogs. there are so many sedums, for instance, and I’m often looking for information about unfamiliar ones.

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