Goldmoss stonecrop is ideal for greening full sun beds with nutrient-poor soils. During flowering, the perennial also delights with a multitude of bright yellow flowers. This is what matters in planting and care.
Profile of goldmoss stonecrop:
Scientific name: Sedum acre
Plant family: stonecrop family (Crassulaceae)
Other names: mossy stonecrop, goldmoss sedum, biting stonecrop, wallpepper
Sowing time: spring
Planting time: spring to autumn
Flowering period: June to July
Soil quality: stony to sandy, low in nutrients, low in humus
These information are for temperate climate!
Use in: groundcover, roof greening, group planting, planters, dry stone walls, area greening, borders, roof garden, heather garden, prairie garden, rock garden, potted garden
Winter hardiness: hardy, USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 5 (-26 °C / -15 °F)
Bee and insect friendly: Yes
Plant characteristics and classification of goldmoss stonecrop
Plant order, origin and occurrence of goldmoss stonecrop
The goldmoss stonecrop (Sedum acre), also known as mossy stonecrop, belongs to the stonecrop family (Crassulaceae). It is widespread in Europe as well as in West Asia or North Africa, but also naturalized in North America, Japan and New Zealand. It grows naturally in sandy soils on sunny hillsides, walls or rocks. And this is exactly what makes it so interesting for hobby gardeners and garden owners: goldmoss stonecrop is the ideal planting for sunny gardens with sandy, nutrient-poor soils.
Characteristics of goldmoss stonecrop
Stonecrop is a wintergreen perennial that grows only between 5 and 10 centimeters (2 and 4 in) high, but likes to be twice as wide. It spreads by crawling and forms a carpet-like lawn over time. The cylindrical shoots are closely surrounded by leaves.
The succulent leaves of the goldmoss stonecrop are slightly fleshy and arranged in 4 to 6 rows. They are green and ovate.
During the flowering period from June to July, the stonecrop is covered with an abundance of small bright yellow star-shaped flowers, which are scorpioid cymes.
After flowering, mossy stonecrop forms inconspicuous fruits in the form of capsules containing the seeds of the perennial. It tends to sow itself.
Goldmoss stonecrop – cultivation and care
In order to thrive, the goldmoss stonecrop needs a full sunny and dry place. It is mainly cultivated in the garden, but it can also be put in bowls and placed on a balcony or terrace.
The planting site should have a sandy, lean and dry soil. Stonecrop likes it low in nutrients and humus.
Planting goldmoss stonecrop
The planting of goldmoss stonecrop is possible from spring to autumn. It is best to choose a day without precipitation, when the dry substrate can be easily optimized for the needs of the plant. The easiest way to do this is with soil for succulents.
It is important to provide the soil with a gravel drainage to ensure good water drainage. The substrate should also be enriched with a handful of gravel and sand. Likewise, the goldmoss stonecrop appreciates light lime additions. A basic fertilization with ripe compost or humus is not necessary and should be avoided with regard to the optimal substrate.
Sedum acre reaches growth widths of up to 20 cm (8 in). Hence, the planting distance in the bed is about 20 cm. (8 in) Usually it is sufficient to simply place the plants on the soil. This makes cultivation on dry walls, stony garden elements and on roofs particularly easy.
Watering should be done very sparingly, natural precipitation is perfectly sufficient. Sedum acre can survive dry periods in between even in very hot summer months without problems. Only very dry stone or wall plantations require a little spray time to time.
You must be extremely careful when fertilizing goldmoss stonecrop. Too many nutrients make the shoots of the plant soft and lazy in bloom. If at all, moderate fertilization during the growth phase is indicated. Here it is best to add some liquid fertilizer for succulents once a month to the watering water, but it is not necessary.
A cut is not necessary on succulents like goldmoss stonecrop. However, one can cut back wilted flowers, stems and occasionally also proliferating runners. If the latter is the case, please cut only at the edge of the plant carpet. The sensitive leaves of Sedum acre fall off very easily. Its shapely, grassy growth could therefore suffer from pruning.
The division of the rootstock is not absolutely necessary. However, it has been proven that larger specimens of goldmoss stonecrop, which are divided every three to four years in spring, retain their vitality longer and also grow more upright.
During its fruit ripening in autumn, goldmoss stonecrop forms small follicle fruits. They are usually a reliable means of self-seeding in the garden. For controlled sowing, you can simply collect the seeds.
The seeds are sown directly into the bed in spring. As soon as the seeds have reached a size of approx. 10 cm (4 in), they can be pricked out at a distance of 20 cm (8 in).
Cuttings are best taken between April and August. Cut off shoots about 5 cm (2 in) long and place them in a container with succulent soil. Alternatively, you can also mix a standard substrate with sand and peat. Keep the soil moderately moist until rooting.
The cuttings should then – after approx. 3 to 4 weeks – be rooted. Another 2 to 3 weeks later the roots are strong enough and the cuttings can be planted outdoors.
Goldmoss stonecrop can be propagated even faster than by sowing or cutting by dividing the rootstock. Often the plant does not need to be dug up at all for this. It is sufficient to carefully separate a part of the outer plant cushion. Carefully pull the root network apart for this. The parts can then be transplanted as usual
Diseases and pests
Sedum acre is normally very resistant to pests. Mostly it is care mistakes that weaken the plant to such an extent that it becomes susceptible to diseases or pests.
Those who water their goldmoss stonecrop too much not only risk waterlogging. Root rot can also easily occur in a soil that is permanently too moist. This is especially true if Sedum acre is also placed in too much shade. Affected plants are usually quickly destroyed by root rot. For this reason, only conscientious prevention by moderate watering can help.
Mealybugs and snails
Among the pests, mealybugs and snails in particular like to attack the mossy stonecrop. Here, too, the risk of infestation is greater if the plant has been weakened by care mistakes – such as excessive watering or over-fertilization.
An infestation with mealybugs can be recognized by woolly webs in the area of the leaves and leaf axils. They spread themselves in too warm house locations at the stonecrop during false overwintering and attract attention especially by honeydew on the leaves.
Beneficial insects such as ladybugs or their larvae are the best way to get rid of the aphids. In the case of aphid infestation, immediate resettlement to the field can also help. The insects do not tolerate winter frost very well and then die.
The tasty, spicy leaves and roots of the mossy stonecrop are also a favorite food for snails. Besides household remedies such as coffee grounds or begonia liquid manure, snail fences and sawdust can also help. The latter, however, have to be spread very widely around the plants to prevent the slugs from moving forward.
Frost protection is also unnecessary, as the plant is hardy down to -26 °C / -15 °F.
Use in the garden
Goldmoss stonecrop is an almost classical planting for the rock garden. Here it feels so good at times that if you are not careful it will spread out almost too much. Garden designers appreciate this perennial plant above all as a lawn substitute for sandy and arid places where nothing else would thrive. But stonecrop is also popular for roof greening, for example garage roofs. In sunny borders, stonecrop can be attractively combined with other perennials or ornamental grasses. It is also a valuable insect and bee pasture that attracts numerous animals to the garden.
In the trade some varieties of the sharp goldmoss stonecrop are available. Sedum acre var. majus grows slightly taller than the species and reaches growth heights of at least 10 centimeters (4 in). The cushions are pale green. The variety ‘Minor’ (Sedum acre var. microphyllum), often referred to as ‘Minima’, forms low carpets, only 2.5 centimeters (1 in) high. A popular and very widespread variety for the garden is ‘Aureum’. Its leaves are more yellow in color, so that the perennial gives a very light and friendly appearance, especially during flowering, i.e. in combination with the yellow star-shaped flowers.