Caucasian stonecrop is a beautiful ground cover for rock garden and roof planting. This is how to care for the flowering perennial.
Profile of Caucasian stonecrop:
Scientific name: Phedimus spurius; old Sedum spurium
Plant family: stonecrop family (Crassulaceae)
Other names: two-row stonecrop
Sowing time: spring
Planting time: spring to autumn
Flowering period: June tp August
Location: sunny to partially shady
Soil quality: gravelly to loamy, low in nutrients, low in humus
These information are for temperate climate!
Use in: ground cover, roof greening, group planting, dry stone walls, overgrowing, roof garden, natural garden, rock garden
Winter hardiness: hardy, USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 4 (-32 °C / -25 °F)
Bee and insect friendly: Yes
Plant characteristics and classification of Caucasian stonecrop
Plant order, origin and occurrence of Caucasian stonecrop
Caucasian stonecrop (Sedum spurium) is also called two-row stonecrop. The low ground cover originates from the Caucasus, northern Iran and Asia Minor, where it grows on rocks and meadows at altitudes of up to 3,000 meters (9,450 ft). In the meantime, however, it has also naturalized in other parts of Europe. Since 1995, the species is no longer botanically assigned to the genus Sedum, but to the genus Phedimus of the stonecrop family (Crassulaceae). The correct Latin name is therefore Phedimus spurius. However, this classification has hardly been accepted in the trade. Mostly, the plant is therefore still found under its old name.
Characteristics of Caucasian stonecrop
Phedimus spurium is an evergreen, undemanding ground cover with a growth height of about 15 centimeters. It grows perennially and herbaceously and forms many low-lying and creeping shoots, with which it quickly weaves a dense plant carpet. Some of the shoots will re-root on their own. Caucasian stonecrop is fully hardy and tends to overgrow.
The fleshy, glabrous 3 cm long and 1 cm wide small stem leaves of Caucasian stonecrop are arranged opposite and are usually on short stalks. Their shape is obovate, but sometimes spatulate or round, and they often have a notch at the upper end of the leaf blade.
There are many different varieties of Caucasian stonecrop with white, pink and red umbel flowers. These appear in corymbs, which can have up to 30 individual flowers. The opulent flowers of Sedum spurium appear between June and August and attract numerous bees, bumblebees and moths.
After flowering, Caucasian stonecrop forms bald, brown capsule fruits, which stand together erect at the base. They have a size of five to nine millimeters (0.2 to 0.36 in).
Caucasian stonecrop – cultivation and care
Caucasian stonecrop is suitable for sunny to partially shady locations. However, in the shade the foliage does not color so intensively. Naturally the plant likes to settle in cracks in walls, on rocks and in dry grasslands.
As a subalpine plant, Caucasian stonecrop prefers a fresh but nutrient-poor, well-drained and rather dry soil without waterlogging. Gravelly-loamy soil with a neutral to alkaline pH is optimal.
For an area-wide planting, you will need about 15 plants per square meter (10 sq ft), set with about 20 centimeters (8 in) of planting distance.
Sedum spurium is absolutely easy to care for and weatherproof. During the growth period a little complete fertilizer can be administered monthly. For a rich new shoots the old inflorescences should be removed.
Division every two to three years keeps the flowering mood of the plant active. When dividing, remove weak shoots and roots at the same time.
Sedum spurium spreads in the garden all by itself. If necessary, simply cut off parts of the plant and replant it in a new location. Cuttings are also easy to cut from the mother plant and take root without any problems. Seeds can be sown directly on the spot.
Diseases and pests
Rarely observed on Caucasian stonecrop is an infestation of mealybugs and scale insects. In easily accessible places, slugs like to attack the ground cover.
Caucasian stonecrop is fully hardy, there is no need for any measures for overwintering.
Use in the garden
As a ground cover, Caucasian stonecrop is well suited for bed edges and rock gardens, wall and roof plantings and at the edge of a wood. Sedum spurium has been classified in some countries as an invasive species due to its extensive spread. Therefore, make sure that two-row stonecrop does not grow out of the garden or spread wildly, for example, through composting.