Most creeping and low growing forms make good evergreen groundcover and carpeters in path cracks, along path edges or in the rockery. The taller forms are good for late colour in the borders.
Attractive to bees and butterflies.
Family: Crassulaceae (stonecrop
or orpine family)
Botanical Name: Sedum
Common Names: Stonecrop, Golden Moss, Wall Pepper
Foliage: Thick fleshy, succulent, evergreen leaves, in shades of green, red, silver-grey and purple, depending on variety.
Flowers: Masses of tiny star shaped flowers in pink, yellow or white (depending on variety), appear on stout stems from spring to summer.
Flowering Period: Spring to summer.
Soil: Well-drained gritty soil (chalk, clay, sand or loam). Any pH.
Conditions: Full sun. Best in a south or east facing aspect, in a sheltered location. Drought tollerant.
Habit: Spreading, low growing.
Type: Evergreen perennial.
Origin: North America
Hardiness: Most forms are fully hardy in the UK. However, some species are semi-tender, so check plant labels carefully before buying.
Suitable for rock gardens, scree or gravel beds, pots, containers, wall crevices and alpine troughs.
Requires very little care and attention if the soil is well drained and plenty of sunshine is provided. Feed weekly when in flower. Protect from excessive winter wet.
Remove dead flowers and tidy-up any stragley foliage in the autumn.
Susceptible to rust. Can be affected by whitefly, aphids and red spider mite.
Propagate by seed or cuttings.
One of the easiest of all plants to propagate, simply break off a non-flowering piece and root in a well drained gritty compost.
There is a large range of sedums available, in varying forms, leaf shapes and colours. The following list is not extensive but lists some of the most popular forms available from garden centres.
S. acre (stonecrop) this evergreen succulent carpeter provides a spreading mat of light green fleshy leaves, covered with bright yellow flowers, from early to mid Summer. Height to 2in (5cm), spread 1ft (30cm).
S. cauticola 'Coca-cola' has silver grey foliage topped with soft pink flowers from mid-spring into summer. Height 8in (20cm), spread 1ft (30cm).
S. kamtschaticum var. floriferum 'Weihenstephaner Gold' has small rossets of serrated leaves covered with bright yellow flowers in summer. Height to 6in (15cm).
S. pulchellum (Lime stonecrop) forms a mat of light green fleshy leaves, above which appear stems of glistening pink flowers from mid Summer to early Autumn (long flowering season). Height to 6in (15cm).
S. reflexum (syn. S rupestre) (Yellow Stonecrop) provides a loose groundcovering mat of evergreen blue-green fleshy foliage, often flushed purple in winter. Stems of bright yellow flowers appear from early to mid Summer. Height to 10in (25cm).
S. rubens 'Lizard' produces a mass of low growing fleshy leaves with a hint of pink. Small white star-shaped flowers appear from late Summer to early Autumn. Height to 4in (10cm), spread to 12in (30cm).
S. spathulifolium 'Cape Blanco' (spoon shaped leaf sedum) provides a carpet of small rosettes with fleshy silvery green leaves. The golden yellow flowers appear in late spring to mid Summer. Height to 2in (5cm), spread 12in (30cm).
S. spathulifolium 'Purpureum' (spoon shaped leaf sedum) provides a low mat of small rosettes with fleshy grey leaves tinged with purple. The golden yellow flowers appear in late spring to mid Summer. Height to 2in (5cm), spread 12in (30cm).
S. spectabile is a group of larger border sedums (lately reclassified as Hylotelephium spectabile). Produces large succulent rosettes of fleshy leaves above which redish-pink heads of tiny flowers (up to 8in across) appear from August to September. Height to 24in (60cm), spread 12in (30cm).
S. spurium Tricolor is a low spreading carpeter with small green fleshy leaves, splashed with pink and edged with white. Hosts clusters of pale pink star-like flowers from Summer to early Autumn. Height to 6in (15cm), spread 16in (40cm). Very Hardy.
S. Sunsparkler Firecraker provides a low compact mound of fleshy cherry red leaves, covered with clusters of tiny pink star shaped flowers from late Summer to early Autumn. A semi-hardy trailing variety that is good for containers and hanging baskets. Height 6in (15cm), spread 18in (45cm).
S. tetractinum 'Coral Reef' produces a mound of low growing green leaves that turn reddish in cold weather. White to soft pink flowers apprear from early to late Summer. Height to 6in (15cm), spread 18" (45cm).
S. Variegatum an attractive ground cover evergreen perennial, with green foliage egded in yellow. Clusters of yellow-red flowers appear in Summer. Height to 4in (10cm), spread to 10in (25cm).
S. x hybridum 'Chocolate Ball' is a redish bronze coloured succulent with a low growing spreading habit. Tiny bright yellow flowers appear above the foliage in Summer. Height to 4in (10cm), spread (30cm).