Sedum as ground cover

Creeping Sedum Info: Learn About Growing Sedum As A Groundcover

If you have a hot, dry, sunny location, groundcover sedum is a perfect match. Using sedum as a groundcover keeps other plant roots cool, conserves moisture, staves off erosion and establishes very rapidly. Plus, these pleasant little plants offer easy-care appeal and color. If you are a fan of low maintenance plants, continue reading for creeping sedum info.

Creeping Sedum Info

Sedum plants come in many shapes and sizes and are prized for their quick establishment and “set it and forget it” nature. While a little bit of care is required for baby plants, once they have been in site for a couple of months, these charming succulents can mostly be left alone. Rockeries, paths, containers and hilly areas are perfect sites for growing sedum groundcover, one of the lowest forms of the group.

Low growing sedum are also referred to as stonecrop, and for good reason. They can literally burst with life even in the cracks of a stone wall. Groundcover

sedum comes in varieties with gently rounded leaves tinged in pink to chubby spiky yellow-green foliage. It is these thick leaves that allow sedums to store water and thrive in hot, dry locations.

An outstanding surprise and contrast to the interesting leaves are the blooms. Tiny starry flowers in dense, airy clusters come in hues of yellow to pink to rise above the low lying plants, creating drama and a swirl of color.

How to Use Sedum as a Groundcover

The adaptable plants have a wide variety of uses in the landscape. They can be used as trailing plants in containers, tumbling over the edge with unconcerned glee. Sedums fit into tiny spaces around pavers, rocks, and stones, where they don’t mind the heat generated by such sun-cooked items.

Modern cultivation has seen them part of roof gardens or even vertical constructs. Small quirky displays find them planted on top of birdhouses or even dog shelters. In areas with low foot traffic, they are a great substitute for water needy sod grass and they don’t need mowing.

Tips on Growing Sedum Groundcover

Sedum plants tolerate most soil pH but prefer slightly acidic conditions. The biggest requirements are sun and loose, well-draining soil. The soil doesn’t need to be particularly fertile; in fact, sedums seem to do best in areas with low nutrient content.

If planting a carpet of these succulents, space them as far apart as the suggested final dimensions. Very quickly the plants will fill in for a full effect.

Water young plants weekly but mature specimens can do without irrigation in all but the hottest summers.

The faded flowers will usually break off once dry, but you can keep things tidy by pulling or cutting them off. Very few plants will accommodate long vacations like sedum and they will keep supplying their unique appeal for years.

Welcome To The Blog That Gives You The Plant Grower’s Perspective!

Where Do I Plant My (stonecrop) or Sedum Groundcover?

Which one of the many Sedums are we talking about? My first introduction to Sedums in the landscape came 10 years back my wife and I down sized (last child gone) to a smaller, older home. Growing around a small maple tree in front was Sedum kamschaticum. It looked good and my wife thought it was cool. Come spring the plant was covered with star shaped golden flowers. Looking around what to my wondering eyes did I see but clumps of golden yellow flowers all around the neighborhood. Somebody really likes this plant and since it is easy to grow spread it around! Here is my two cents on a couple sedums I have been watching.

Three Popular Varieties of Sedum

Sedum kamtschaticum var. floriferum ‘Weihenstephaner Gold’ is a fast growing low ground cover. A single plant will rapidly cover a 6-12” area attaining a height less than 6”. This low growing sedum has dependable, dark bronze green foliage and prolific flowering. New spring growth is a welcome, cheerful red. Prolific, star-shaped flowers are golden yellow with pinkish- orange overtones and cover the plant twice during the growing season.

Sedum spurium ‘Red Carpet’ common name Caucasian stonecrop. ‘Red Carpet’ is a low, mat forming, red-leafed sedum or stonecrop. ‘Red Carpet’ is an evergreen ground cover that grows 3-4” tall spreads to 18-24” wide. Leaves are attractive throughout the growing season. Leaves turn deep burgundy in fall-winter. Tiny, star shaped, red flowers bloom infrequently in late spring to mid-summer. Easy to grow in average, dry to medium moisture, but well drained soils with full sun. Tolerates some light shade. Drought tolerant and has no serious insect problems.

Sedum spurium ‘Tricolor’ is a low growing, ground hugging, mat-forming stonecrop (also called two-row stonecrop because leaves are in two columns along the stems)that is great for a ground cover. Tricolor leaves freature green in the center with white margins tinged with pink. Leaf color remains throughout the growing season. Tricolor grows 3-6″ tall and spreads12-18”. Tiny, star shaped, pink flowers bloom in late spring to early summer. These three sedums grow in full sun and tolerate a light shade as well as drought.

Each of the sedums shows off a different color and could be use together for a blend of color. Excellent in rock gardens, retaining wall pockets, small areas and planted in groups.

Soil: Average, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils. Thrives in sandy to gravelly soils of moderate to low fertility. Needs sharp soil drainage to perform well. Prefers moist soils with good drainage.
Light: Does best in full sun, but appreciates some protection from harsh sun and heat exposure in very hot summer regions.
Water: Medium to dry — Considered drought-tolerant once established. Over watering will impair growth.
Spacing: 1 – 2 ft.
Fertilizing: On average soil, seldom needs fertilizer. A handful of all-purpose granular fertilizer sprinkled on the soil each spring is generally all that is needed for poorer soils. If growing in rich soil, it should only be fertilized every other year. Dry granular fertilizers must be watered into the soil.
Winterizing: Does not need mulch in the winter. Remove the debris (such as the remains of showy sedums) from under and around your plants in the late fall and continue to remove any debris as it accumulates. Small animals and bugs may take home in accumulated debris during cold weather.
Maintenance & pruning: Can cut back in Autumn, after flowering. Divide in spring.

Sedum (Stonecrop) is an easy to grow group of succulents that look great in the summer and autumn garden. Here at Plant Delights Nursery, we have been growing sedum plants for over 25 years in our hot, humid, rainy Raleigh garden and so we thought we’d pass on our expert tips for growing sedum plants as well as the names of our favorite varieties of these popular succulent plants. The genus Sedum is a diverse group that includes upright tall sedums, mat-forming carpet sedums, insanely drought tolerant sedums and sedums that need to drink regularly, sun loving sedums and woodland garden sedums. So it is important to know your sedum before you plant. Some taxonomists have moved the tall sedums into the genus Hylotelephium, but tall or short, we still call ’em sedum.

A Sedum Primer – Tall versus Creeping:

For the garden, there are two main groups of sedums, tall sedums and creeping sedums. The tall sedums (mainly Sedum spectabile, Sedum telephium) have upright stems that grow from 1 to 3 feet tall depending on variety and conditions. New cultivars of tall sedums have been bred to be shorter which means they are less floppy and in better proportion to today’s smaller gardens. The stems of tall sedum are clothed in fleshy succulent leaves along their length and are topped in summer or autumn with colorful flower clusters. Tall sedums have been traditionally grown for their symmetrical form and colorful flowers, but newer varieties of tall sedum also feature colorful leaves in shades of copper, dusky mauve and dark purple.

Sedum telephium ‘Sunset Cloud’

The creeping sedums (like Sedum ternatum, Sedum tetractinum and many others) are a wildly variable group with long narrow stems that grow along the ground and form mats of colorful fleshy foliage. Traditionally, creeping sedums are grown for their colorful foliage (blue, yellow, copper, marron and more!) or for their draping form which softens the edge of containers and the rock walls that they have been tucked into. Although not specifically grown for flowers, creeping sedums do produce attractive but short sprays of flowers.

There are also a few stonecrop plants that are intermediate between tall and creeping sedums (e.g., Sedum ussuriense) but these are fairly rare and available from time to time only at specialty plant nurseries like Plant Delights Nursery.

How to Water Sedums:

Tall sedums like Autumn Joy, Frosted Fire, and Dynomite (some of our favorites) are fairly drought tolerant but you will get the largest, most floriferous plants with regular (weekly) water while the plant is actively growing (spring to fall). In very dry conditions, the tall sedums will grow much more slowly, not fill out and branch as much, and may even get spindly.

Sedum tetractinum

The best stonecrops for super dry conditions are certain creeping sedums (e.g., Sedum tetractinum, S. scre, S. album, S. kamshaticum and many others). Be careful when selecting a creeping sedum for a dry site because some creeping sedums (e.g., Sedum ternatum) do not tolerate drought. Once the active growing season is over, you should greatly reduce watering to prevent winter rot. If you are not sure whether it is time to water a stonecrop, err on the dry side…when it doubt, give it drought.

What type of Soil is best for Sedums:

No matter what type of stonecrop plant you buy you should plant it in well drained soil. Heavy wet soil is sure to rot both tall and creeping sedums alike. Their fondness for well-drained soil makes sedum plants great for raised beds, hillside slopes, sandy soil, rock gardens, crevice gardens, containers, and green roofs.

How Much Sun Should Sedums Receive?:

Sedum tatarinowii ‘Thundercloud’ PP 21,833

Most sedums like full or part sun (5 or more hours of direct sun per day). A few stonecrop species such as Sedum ternatum are woodland plants that like to grow on top of rocks in dappled shade. And some of the highly variegated sedums (like S. alboroseum ‘Lemonade’) with pale green, yellow and white foliage need dappled sunlight to prevent sunburn.

How Much Fertilizer Should Sedums Receive?:

Sedums generally prefer lean conditions so go easy on the fertilizer. An organic compost applied is best. Chemical fertilizer can lead to stretching and flopping.

How to Prune Sedum:

Sedum ternatum ‘Eclair’

Creeping sedums generally do not need to be pruned unless they grow out of bounds. Tall sedums can be tip pruned in spring to control the height but this will delay the onset of flowering. Tall sedums die back to a ground-level rosette in the winter. Many gardeners prefer to leave the dried stems and flowers of tall sedums in place during autumn and early winter as even dead, they are attractive when frost coats them. However once they have been smashed down by snow or ice, they can be pruned or pulled.

Sedums in containers:

Both tall and creeping sedums are excellent container plants provided that you use a decent potting mix that both retains water and drains it. Tall sedums look great in a patio container and creeping sedums are excellent spiller companions to tall container plants such as cactus and agave. Creeping sedums also look great tucked into the nooks and crannies of strawberry pots, pallet gardens, rock walls and wall gardens. And creeping sedums are perfect for hanging baskets too as their long stems drape down over the edge of the pot.

Sedum ground covers:

Sedum bithynicum

Tall sedums do not spread but when grown in mass plantings are beautiful and tough ground covers. Perfect for filling a hillside or fleshing out the middle of a perennial border. Creeping sedums will spread slowly but surely and make a very low ground cover for sunny spots. Perfect for containers, along the edge of walls, sidewalks, and for draping over rocks.

Sedums on wall gardens and roof gardens:

The low water requirements and spreading nature of creeping sedums make them perfect plants for wall gardens, crevice gardens and roof top gardens. Stonecrop is the go-to plant for roof gardens on industrial buildings like the 10.4 acre Ford truck plant in Dearborn Michigan or the 32000 sq ft. Toronto City Hall. And in Europe, there are literally millions of square feet of green roofs covered mostly with stonecrop plants. Most of these gardens are not irrigated and the sedum thrives only on rainfall.

Autumn Sedum and Winter Sedum:

Sedum aizoon var. angustifolium coll. #HH-03CH165

Tall sedum cultivars like Autumn Joy are renowned for their wonderful fall flower show. When much of the garden is winding down, the autumn sedums are peaking. As fall morphs into winter tall sedums dry up and are still attractive with their frost-kissed stalks. The creeping sedums can also shine in winter as some, like Sedum tetractinum have leaves that turn red or purple in the winter.

Sedums and Cut Flowers:

Tall sedums produce excellent cut flowers. Once most of the florets are open, cut the stem, strip some of the leaves at the bottom and enjoy. Tall sedum cut flowers also dry well.

How to propagate sedum:

Sedum ‘Class Act’ PP 20,125

Creeping sedums are ridiculously easy to propagate. Pull up or cut some of the stems and lay them on top of some potting soil or stick them shallowly into the potting soil. Large clumps of tall sedums can be propagated via division or via stem cuttings too. Sedum stem cuttings should be 3 to 5 inches long and the leaves should be stripped from the bottom inch or so before being stuck.

Our favorite sedums:

As for the tall sedums, ‘Dynomite’ has excellent flower color and purple leaves which makes it a favorite. ‘Frosted Fire’ has russet flowers and variegated foliage. As for creeping sedums, we like the blue foliage of S. bithynicum. S. tetractinum has nice green leaves that turn reddish in the winter. Sedum spurium has smaller leaves and is quite cute. And if you like really tiny, try Sedum mexicanum particularly its excellent yellow-leaved cultivar ‘Lemon Ball’.

So when you want to buy succulent plants online you should definitely consider using stonecrop. You’ll be happy that you did. And when you are looking where to buy succulents, please consider Plant Delights Nursery. We’ll be happy that you did…and so will you.

Sedum for Groundcovers

My recommendations of the best Stonecrops
for landscape plantings

Sedum is the very best drought tolerant plant for groundcovers – textural, colourful and hardy, Sedum, or stonecrops as they’re called, make a tapestry carpet of succulent foliage, with the added bonus of bright blooms in waves over the summer months.

Sedum is one of the very best plants for bees, attracting many pollinators and honeybees for the nectar and pollen in the starry pink and yellow or white flowers held high over the foliage.

I was astonished when my stock plants in the display garden started to bloom, and the wild bees and many butterflies flocked to them. I’ve had hours of fun watching their activities during most of July and August.

Try planting a butterfly garden to attract many of these gorgeous insects to your xeric garden.

Plant these varieties and species in the worst soil you have, and leave them alone. Requiring minimal care, they thrive on neglect.

Choose from among these Sedum for groundcovers: All are low growing and compact. They form a lovely textural carpet in only a few seasons.

Often, they root all along the sprawly stems, making them super easy to propagate to make a tapestry – simply put a rock in a strategic place (right on top of the stem where you would like the roots to emerge) and let them go to town!

Some are pretty much evergreen, others more deciduous. The deciduous ones lose their leaves in the fall, but look closely near the center of the plant – they already have new growth ready to go in the spring.

One thing that will kill this type of Sedum is poor drainage. The soil can be almost anything but water retentive. Rock walls are their favorite haunt.

Plant all one kind for major impact, or a random assortment for a tapestry. Of course there is an overlap of the different types but these do well grown in the landscape; click on the names for more information about each one.

Xeriscaping with Succulents E-Book – garden simply, without excess water, and make it lush…

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