Do you have a garden spot that is sunny, hot and dry with poor, rocky soil? A sedum would be a good plant option for such a location. Sedums typically have fleshy, succulent foliage that allows them to thrive in such inhospitable conditions.
The genus Sedum is diverse in growth habit and has hundreds of different species documented. Some species and hybrids have a low groundcover growth habit while others grow in upright clumps 18-24 inches in height.
Sedums are usually succulents with green, gray or red leaves. The flowers are small and star-shaped and usually borne in clusters. They range in color from white and yellow to pink and purple.
The easy cultivation of sedum is a gardener's dream. Most root easily from stem cuttings. They thrive in alkaline soil and full sun and require minimal maintenance and they are water-smart.
Gold moss sedum, Sedum acre, grows only a few inches high and makes a great ground cover or rock garden plant. This plant is extremely hardy and vigorous. Sedum ‘Angelina’ is a favorite groundcover in the xeric garden. The chartreuse foliage of springtime turns golden and bronze in fall and winter. It too is very vigorous and hardy.
Of the upright varieties, Sedum spectabile ‘Autumn Joy’ is one of the best known. It grows 18 to 24 inches tall. Its fleshy gray-green leaves add a great textural contrast in the perennial garden. In autumn, flowers change from a deep pink to pinkish-bronze, then finally to copper-red. To add interest to a garden during winter months, wait until spring to deadhead the sedum.
Turquoise Tails Blue Sedum is a recent introduction from the Plant Select® program. It’s spiky succulent leaves take on a sculptural quality in a water-smart or rock garden or on a green roof.
For more information, see the following Colorado State University Extension fact sheet(s).
- Flowers For Mountain Communities
- Xeriscaping: Ground Cover Plants
- Ground Cover Plants
- Ground Covers for Mountain Communities
For information about the Plant Select® program, please refer to http://plantselect.org/
Do you have a question? Try Ask an Expert!
Updated Monday, June 15, 2015