Are you ready for the rich colors and beautiful foliage of the fall season? Will your garden explode in fireworks of gold, copper, deep reds, and rich oranges, or will it fizzle out with barely a spark when the summer blooms fade?
Whether you’re dreading the end of summer, or you’re simply looking for something new and exciting to brighten up your fall space, look no further than Sedum. Sedums are succulents that look incredible and add visual interest all year, but just wait until they burst into fall color to truly appreciate this garden gem.
In this Spotlight series, we highlight plants, trees, and shrubs that have something special to offer – whether they’re easy to care for, add a unique seasonal flair, or are simply a delight to glimpse from your yard or window. Today we’re talking about Sedum, a plant that is all three! Find out what makes this plant so special and why you’re absolutely going to want it in your yard.
A Rainbow Of Visually Fascinating Plants
If you look up synonyms for “succulent” you’ll come across words like juicy and luscious. And those are perfect ways to describe this endearing plant. The word comes from the Latin “sucus” meaning juice or sap – a fitting meaning since their distinctive leaves store water to help them survive drought, giving them a delightfully plump appearance.
Sedum’s ability to grow in desert-like conditions is one of the things that makes it so perfect for a garden. It will thrive in those parts of your yard that get too much sun and never enough water, where nothing else seems to grow, turning the most desolate spots into something distinctly gorgeous.
Another name for Sedum is Stonecrop, as they can grow in little more than a shallow, rocky spaces, spreading along the ground, cropping up in crevices, and cascading playfully down stone walls.
They come in a rainbow of colors from pink and red, to maroon, green, white, yellow, blue-gray and purple. Many varieties present multiple hues, giving these plants exceptional depth and visual interest. Some even change color as the seasons change, from pink and white flowers in summer, to bright copper and red in fall.
Even without flowers, their unique foliage makes them one of the most identifiable plants in your garden.
To accompany their colors, they boast appropriately charming names, like Bronze Carpet, Blue Spruce, Purple Emperor, Coral Reef, and the aptly named Autumn Fire. In fact, there are somewhere between 400 and 500 different varieties of Sedum. That’s a lot of awesomeness to choose from!
Care & Maintenance
Sedum are incredibly hardy plants, perfect for beginners or those without a speck of green in their thumb. Just about the only thing Sedum needs is a good amount of sun and some of the worst soil you can throw at them – sandy, gravelly, loamy and generally the type that spells doom for most other plants!
Do be sure the soil is well-drained. These drought-surviving plants don’t do well in wet clay soil or spots that stay moist most of the time. If the weather is exceptionally hot and dry, you can water them once a week, but otherwise they can be left to bloom and sun themselves all summer and into fall.
They don’t require fertilizer and grow quite well in poor soil – soil that is too rich, on the other hand, can actually thwart their appearance.
Feel free to remove broken stems, but pruning is not otherwise necessary. You’ll actually enjoy these plants more if you _don’t_ prune them. After they bloom, the flowers will form attractive seed heads through fall.
They’re essentially unbothered by pests and disease, though aphids may enjoy drinking the fluids from the leaves. If you notice this problem, try containing it naturally by introducing another insect – the ladybug. These insects are not only beneficial to your garden but they’re just as charming as the plants they protect.
Why We Love It
Hardy and drought-tolerant… interesting foliage and colorful flowers… varieties that grow tall or spread wide… what’s not to love?
But Sedum isn’t done pleasing! In addition to being excellent ground cover and breathing beauty into previously forgotten spaces, it also grows well in containers. Adorn porches, patios, pool areas, even a sunny kitchen window.
Sedum is just as excellent as a cut and dried flower, too, outlasting many other blooms in a centerpiece or decorative arrangement.
Propagating them is easy – simply place a four-to-six inch stem cutting into potting mix, keep it moist for a few weeks, and as soon as it roots you can move it into the ground or another, larger decorative pot.
As if that isn’t enough, Sedum also attracts all manner of garden wildlife. Birds, bees, butterflies, and of course ladybugs, will frequent your garden, bringing life, beauty and enjoyment.
And remember how we mentioned that if you don’t prune them, you will be rewarded with visually interesting seed pods? It turns out this is a treat for birds, too. Species from Goldfinches to Chickadees will flock to your yard to enjoy winter dining, adding yet more charm to your cold-weather landscape.
It’s hard not to love Sedum, in its myriad varieties, from the upright clumps that produce large flower heads, to the low-growing varieties that wind along pathways and between stones. And while it is an exceptional four-season choice, we especially love it during fall, when varieties like Autumn Fire really put on a show.
If you want to know more about this plant, or suddenly have a burning need for a bit of succulent in your yard, contact us for consultation. We’ll listen to your ideas and dreams, and evaluate your space, the soil, drainage, sun, and more. Then we’ll put together a plan for bringing four seasons of beauty and joy to your yard.