Broadleaf stonecrop is a vigorous ground cover for dry areas with attractive foliage and flowers. Here you can find tips for planting and care.
Profile of broadleaf stonecrop:
Scientific name: Sedum spathulifolium
Plant family: stonecrop family (Crassulaceae)
Other names: Colorado stonecrop
Sowing time: –
Planting time: spring
Flowering period: May to July
Location: sunny to partially shady
Soil quality: stony to sandy, low in nutrients
These information are for temperate climate!
Use in: roof greening, planters, roof garden, rock garden, potted garden
Winter hardiness: hardy, USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 4 (-32 °C / -25 °F)
Bee and insect friendly: Yes
Plant characteristics and classification of broadleaf stonecrop
Plant order, origin and occurrence of broadleaf stonecrop
Rather a dwarf in the more than 400 types of the comprehensive genus stonecrops (Sedum) is the Sedum spathulifolium native to western North America from British Columbia to southern California. In its area of origin, this plant species growing on stony ground is known as “Colorado Stonecrop”.
Characteristics of broadleaf stonecrop
The broadleaf stonecrop is an evergreen perennial that grows to a maximum height of 10 centimeters and forms large pads. Typical are branched fleshy shoots. At their end are leaf rosettes, which look like small wax flowers. The thick fleshy shoots characterize Sedum spathulifolium as a drought expert, because the perennial stores water in the tissue for rainless times.
The spatula-shaped leaves with entire margins are up to 2 cm long. They feel completely smooth. Depending on the variety, they are silver-green or medium-green in color, often with an additional hint of violet.
On short stems sit the yellow, fivefold star-shaped flowers, which are about 1.5 cm (0.6 in) wide. They stand next to each other in flat cymes and are in full bloom between May and July.
After flowering, follicle fruits are formed.
Broadleaf stonecrop – cultivation and care
A sunny location for Sedum spathulifolium is recommended, but partially shady locations are also tolerated. However, the perennial then does not grow so densely.
The soil should have good permeability and a rather acidic pH value. Predestined is a subsoil interspersed with stones, which can be very flat. Sedum spathulifolium can hardly be surpassed in its undemanding nature.
For broadleaf stonecrop a good water drainage should be guaranteed in any case. In order to aerate the root area, sand or gravel should be added if there is a risk of waterlogging. In the pot, the stonecrop is content with a thin layer of soil, which makes it ideal for planting unusual containers. Hobby gardeners use everything from drawers to shoes.
Once established, dryness is not a problem. Nutrients should be given sparingly in the form of a few horn shavings or organic fertilizer like compost, otherwise Sedum will not grow compactly. In case of black frost, protective brushwood should be laid over the perennial. Where it spreads too much, the runners should be cut off. Where the faded flowers are a nuisance, cut them flat off with scissors. Gloves should be worn during the care work: skin irritation is possible.
For rejuvenation broadleaf stonecrop has to be divided only after many years. If this is necessary, you can use a spade to cut it in spring or autumn. Replant in the desired location and the pieces will grow again without problems.
Cuttings of Sedum spathulifolium are very easy to root: you simply place them in a well-drained substrate and wait for roots to form.
Diseases and pests
Too much moisture promotes fungal infections in Sedum spathulifolium. At the roots, the black vine weevil can cause problems. Snails are rarely interested in the perennial.
The perennial tolerates frosty temperatures in winter without complaint.
Use in the garden
Broadleaf stonecrop is perfect for rock gardens, gravel gardens, roof gardens and all kinds of vessels. The succulent perennials find room even in the smallest wall or pavement joints.
The variety ‘Cape Blanco’ combines icy grey foliage and yellow flowers. ‘Purpureum’ looks very similar, with a typical purple hue of the outer leaves in autumn.