The sedum, also known as stonecrop, belong to the family of the stonecrop family. Their flowers are quite different, because there are about 600 species of stonecrop worldwide. However, the fleshy, water-storing leaves look very decorative.
Profile of sedum:
Scientific name: Sedum
Plant family: stonecrop family (Crassulaceae)
Other names: stonecrop
Sowing time / Planting time: spring or autumn/fall
Flowering period: June to August
Location: full sun to sunny
Soil quality: nutritient-poor, dry, stony, sandy
These information are for temperate climate!
Use in: beds, borders, stone garden, plant in groups, container
Winter hardiness: hardy
Bee and insect friendly: Yes
Plant characteristics and classification of stonecrop
Plant order, origin and occurrence of stonecrop
Stonecrop (Sedum) belong to the family of the thick leaf family (Crassulaceae). There are around 400 species that are predominantly found in the temperate and subtropical zone of the Northern Hemisphere. However, individual species can also be found in Central Africa and South America. The largest variety of stonecrop is in North America, followed by Asia. Many cluster-forming garden varieties and hybrids have arisen from the livelong (Sedum telephium).
Characteristics of stonecrop
Stonecrops are annuals, perennials and more or less succulent plants. They grow creeping or bushy with heights of up to 60 cm (24 in).
The fleshy, rounded to spatulate leaves are alternate, opposite or whorled, depending on the species. They serve as water reservoirs and make the plants a true drought specialist.
The flower colors of the umbrella-like, pinnate umbels for the high varieties vary from silvery white to shades of pink to deep dark red. The blossoms of the livelong varieties are also magnets to butterflies, bees and other insects.
The small flowers of the carpet-forming species appear in white or yellow from June to August. The variety ‘Fuldaglut’ (Sedum spurium) even shines carmine red. Even in dry, sunny locations, the plants reliably form beautiful carpets of leaves and flowers. Many small-sized Sedum species are wintergreen and also color their leaves in autumn, such as the white stonecrop ‘Coral Carpet’ (Sedum album), which changes from green to an intense coral red, or the shade-tolerant ‘Weihenstephaner Gold’ (Sedum floriferum), their Leaves show a reddish brown coloring.
Stonecrop – cultivation and care
The correct location depends on the particular variety. But what almost everyone has in common is the preference for sunny locations, here they thrive best. That makes them perfect for rock garden planting. A few varieties also feel comfortable in partially shaded or light locations. A warm place in front of a south-facing house wall is also very good. They get along well even with extreme heat and intense sunlight.
In the wild you can find them stonecrop exclusively in dry mountainous regions, steppes, on dunes or poor grasslands with dry, stony to sandy soils. The soil should also be well-drained. The stability of the plants decreases on moist and excessively fertilized soils.
Stonecrops are planted either in spring or, like most perennials, in late autumn. To do this, they are placed in the soil at intervals of 15 to 20 cm (6 to8 in) and watered regularly. They grow quickly and grow splendidly the following year.
Stonecrops only need to be watered when newly or re-planted. The flowers can withstand dryness for a long time.
Stonecrop requires very little care. At the beginning of the growing season, a conventional slow release fertilizer can be worked into the soil. However, an excessive supply of nutrients favors leaf growth to the downside of the flowers.
There is hardly a plant that is as easy to propagate as the stonecrop. With all types, you simply cut off a piece of the cluster or carpet in the spring and put it back in at the desired location. To green the roof, a few sprouts are sprinkled on the leveled roof substrate by the goldmoss stonecrop (Sedum acre) and then watered. Even in the flower vase, the flower stems usually take root after a week. In addition, some species seed itself.
The tall stonecrops are usually only cut back in spring because their seed heads are very decorative in winter. Carpet-forming species do not need a cut.
The plants are at their best if you keep them short – so avoid regular compost and fertilizer doses and do not water excessively even when it is dry.
Diseases and pests
Carpet-forming species sometimes suffer from wilting disease (Verticillium). Generously remove dead parts and replace the soil before replanting. Taller species are easily affected by gray mold (botrytis) if the location is too humid. Powdery mildew can also occasionally occur. One of the most common pests is the weevil: the beetle eats bay-like hollows in the fleshy leaf margins.
Many varieties of stonecrop are hardy and can easily winter in the garden. As soon as the first frost sets in, the above ground shoots die off and slowly dry up. In spring, you can simply cut off the dry brown-colored branches just above the ground, the plant will sprout again.
Use in the garden
The carpet-forming varieties of stonecrop are very suitable for green roofing, dry stone walls or rock gardens. A classic duo for the greening of gravel areas and wide pavement joints are the yellow flowering goldmoss stonecrop (Sedum acre) and the wild thyme (Thymus serphyllum). Because of their frugal nature, carpet-forming species are also popular for grave design and can also be easily kept in plant trays and flat plant bowls. The flowers of the cliff stonecrop (Sedum cauticola) are extremely popular with bees and other insects. The broadleaf stonecrop (Sedum spathulifolium) can hardly be surpassed in terms of its undemanding nature.
Taller stonecrops are also in popular as bed perennials for cottage and prairie gardens. In spring, they not only have an attractive budding, but also show off their best with their seed heads in late autumn. They like to be planted in small groups and combined with asters, coneflowers and ornamental grasses such as switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) or reed grass (Calamagrostis). Perennials with elongated inflorescences such as veronica form wonderful contrasts to the plate-shaped stonecrop flowers.
Taller stonecrops are also suitable for planting containers and are excellent cut flowers. In autumn wreaths, the flowers can be wonderfully included with hydrangeas, clematis or rosehips. They dry and then last a very long time.
Stonecrop for green roofs and rock garden
The genus Sedum comprises around 400 species, which mainly occur in northern latitudes. However, some species have long been indigenous in our gardens. They are characterized by an attractive lush flower and colorful foliage. The ornamental leaf rosettes are an adornment even without flowering, since the leaf colors can range from gray-green, green, yellow to copper red to silvery shades, depending on the type.
Most species and varieties bloom from June to August in white or yellow. The variety ‘Fuldaglut’ (Sedum spurium) even glows in carmine red. Even in dry or sunny locations, the plants reliably form beautiful carpets of leaves and flowers. Many small-sized Sedum colors in autumn again in attractive colors, such as the variety ‘Coral Carpet’ (Sedum album), which changes from green to an intense coral red.
Stonecrop for the perennial bed
Taller stonecrops are very suitable for perennial beds: they not only have an attractive bud in spring, but also show off their best with their late-autumn seed heads. Depending on the variety, the livelong (Sedum telephium) forms up to 10 cm (4 in) wide umbrella-like flowers from July to October. There are now varieties that bloom in bright pink, white, light red or bright dark red. They are often planted in small groups in the perennial bed. Tall stonecrops can be combined particularly well with ornamental grasses and perennials with elongated, upright inflorescences. These form wonderful contrasts to the plate-shaped fatty hen flowers. Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), reed grass (Calamagrostis) and Veronica are suitable partners, but also daisies such as autumn asters and coneflowers.
A particularly valuable late bloomer that grows to around 25 cm (10 in) tall is cliff stonecrop (Sedum cauticola) with its crimson bloom that lasts from September to October. The variety has reddish shoots and blue pruinated, reddish-edged leaves. In autumn, stonecrop also become magnets for butterflies and other insects. Tall stonecrop like the carpet-forming species prefer sunny, well-drained locations. The stability of the plants decreases on moist and excessively fertilized soils. Even after flowering, tall stonecrop have an elegant effect: Covered with ripe or snow, they ensure a noble appearance in the garden even in winter. Therefore, you should only cut the old shoots at ground level in spring.
Stonecrop for pots and tubs
Because of their undemanding nature, stonecrop are also very decorative in planters. It can also be used to beautify unusual containers such as old shoes, pots or milk churns. An old table, on which a thin layer of soil is applied, can also serve as a platform for Sedum. It is important that the water drainage is guaranteed. For this reason, all vessels should be provided with holes in the bottom or an adequate drainage layer. The smaller species such as Sedum ewersii ‘Nanum’ or Sedum floriferum ‘Weihenstephaner Gold’ are particularly decorative in vessels. Together with houseleek species (Sempervivum), wild, jagged miniature landscapes are created on large-pored lava stones.
The tall stonecrop is a grateful container plant for occasional gardeners, because it can withstand several days of drought and can easily spend the winter months outdoors. However, it needs a permeable substrate with a high proportion of sand and should be fertilized very sparingly. If the nutrient supply is too much, the shoots become soft and bend slightly in the wind.