Reflexed stonecrop is an easy to care and very versatile perennial. This is how to plant and care for it.
Profile of reflexed stonecrop:
Scientific name: Sedum rupestre; syn. Sedum reflexum
Plant family: stonecrop family (Crassulaceae)
Other names: trip-madam, Jenny’s stonecrop, blue stonecrop, stone orpine, prick-madam
Sowing time: spring
Planting time: spring or autumn
Flowering period: July to August
Soil quality: stony to sandy, low in nutrients, low in humus
These information are for temperate climate!
Use in: ground cover, roof greening, borders, grave planting, dry stone walls, apothecary garden, natural garden, prairie garden, rock garden, cemetery
Winter hardiness: hardy, USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 4 (-32 °C / -25 °F)
Bee and insect friendly: Yes
Plant characteristics and classification of reflexed stonecrop
Plant order, origin and occurrence of reflexed stonecrop
Reflexed stonecrop (Sedum rupestre) is a flowering perennial that is naturally distributed throughout Europe, with the exception of the British Isles. However, it has now become established in Ireland and Great Britain. In France, the perennial is still valued as a culinary herb, while its use as an acidic seasoning herb has been almost forgotten in other countries. The plant belongs to the large genus of sedum, which in turn belongs to the stonecrop family (Crassulaceae). The species is still known under its old botanical name Sedum reflexum.
Characteristics of reflexed stonecrop
Reflexed stonecrop is a perennial evergreen perennial whose shoots grow 10 to 25 centimeters (4 to 10 in) tall. Over time, thanks to the creeping roots loose, cluster-like cushions develop.
The gray-green, needle-like leaves of reflexed stonecrop are fleshy thickened, which provides a clear indication of their water-holding capacity. They grow to about 1 centimeter (0.4 in) long and lie close to the shoots.
From July to August, the pads of the reflexed stonecrop are in full bloom. Up to 50 small, golden-yellow individual flowers sit together at the end of the stems in umbelliferous inflorescences. Pollination of the hermaphrodite flowers is done by bees and butterflies. A popular food plant is the trip-madam for the rare mountain Apollo (Parnassius apollo) butterfly and the sweet gale moth (Acronicta euphorbiae).
Typical for the plant are the upright follicle fruits, in which several seeds are located. As they ripen, the fruits turn yellow. Often the seeds are washed out with rainwater and thus spread.
Reflexed stonecrop – cultivation and care
Reflexed stonecrop loves full sun, very warm places. Even barren and hot places are just fine for the frugal perennial.
Best suited for reflexed stonecrop are sandy to stony, humus-poor soils that have a high permeability. In no case should the soil be too moist.
The best time for planting is spring or autumn. When used in an area, calculate up to 25 plants per square meter (10 sq ft), the recommended planting distance is 20 centimeters (8 in).
The undemanding reflexed stonecrop does not require any special care measures. During prolonged periods of drought can be watered. However, allow the soil to dry out well between watering. There is also no need for fertilizing.
In the rarest cases, a plant grows too much, because most often you want to achieve that lush cushions develop. If it does become too much, you can simply divide the root ball.
Reflexed stonecrop is easy to propagate vegetatively by sticking shoots of about 5 centimeters (2 in) in length into the ground. Sowing can also be done easy. For this, sow the seeds directly in the desired location or in pots at the beginning of March.
Diseases and pests
Only waterlogging can cause problems with root rot.
Reflexed stonecrop is very hardy. There is no need for any protection in winter.
Use in the garden
With the undemanding reflexed stonecrop, dry and hot places such as rock and gravel gardens, roofs, joints and wall tops can be greened. Sedum rupestre also does well as a border plant and ground cover. The perennial can also be used for a varied design of shallow troughs or bowls with little soil volume. However, some wild herb lovers also cultivate the plant in the home herb garden. Basically, they are rather undemanding herbs that are perennial and hardy.
The following varieties of reflexed stonecrop can be found in the market: ‘Lemon Ball’ with light green leaves, ‘Chocolate Ball’ with chocolate-brown needle leaves, the yellow-leaved ‘Yellow Cushion’, which turns orange-red in autumn, its counterpart ‘Blue Cushion’ with blue-grey leaves and ‘Angelina’, whose golden-yellow leaves turn orange in autumn. Significantly smaller remains ‘Blue Spruce’ with bluish leaves. The flower color in all cultivars is the typical yellow of the natural species.
Reflexed stonecrop as a medicinal plant
Already in the Middle Ages, people knew about the healing effect of Sedum rupestre on scurvy. The reason for this is the high content of vitamin C. Trip-madam was also used to treat high blood pressure or urinary problems. Especially the contained tannins are said to have a supporting effect in the treatment of high blood pressure and arterial diseases.
Reflexed stonecrop as a culinary herb
The young shoots are preferably harvested in spring. Finely chopped, they are a tart and refreshing seasoning for spring soups, salads, sauces and remoulade. A herb vinegar made from reflexed stonecrop and lemon balm is considered a speciality. Stews and potato dishes get a piquant spicy note by the addition.
Caution: The plant loses all its aroma when dried. It is better to use the leaves fresh or frozen as a seasoning ingredient.
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