Succulents

Autumn Joy Stonecrop Guide: How to Care for Hylotelephium ‘Herbstfreude’

Read our guide to Autumn Joy Stonecrop for everything you’ll ever need to know! Tips for planting & caring for Hylotelephium ‘Herbstfreude’

Prized for its abundant clusters of pink flowers, Hylotelephium ‘Herbstfreude’ (‘Autumn Joy’) enjoys lots of popularity worldwide. This plant is a hybrid cultivar created by crossing two gorgeous species – Hylotelephium spectabile and Sedum telephium. And the result? An absolutely fabulous and very easy-going flower that has all it takes to be your next lifetime companion!

Many gardeners know ‘Autumn Joy’ stonecrops by their previous common name Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’. Although these plants were formerly included in the Sedum genus, they now belong to the Hylotelephium one. They are native to several regions of Europe and Asia but can grow in almost any environment as long as it mimics their natural habitat.

About Autumn Joy Stonecrops

  • Due to their exquisite appearance, the Royal Horticultural Society has granted ‘Autumn Joy’ stonecrops the prestigious Award of Garden Merit. Twice!
  • Their pink and showy blossoms are highly interesting, but not only for the human eye. Very often, they attract hummingbirds and also some other species of pollinators like bees and butterflies.
  • As it turns out, ‘Autumn Joy’ stonecrops have no toxic effects on humans or animals if touched or ingested. You can grow them safely around your kids or furry friends without thinking about their health. In fact, the leaves and roots are actually edible.
  • They play a big part in traditional herbal medicine. The fresh or crushed leaves have laxative and diuretic properties. They also work as excellent treatments against skin conditions, such as itchy rashes, pimples, dermatitis, or warts.
  • These plants provide colour and contrast in several landscape decorations including rock gardens, borders, and beds. They look at their best if you plant them in groups or en masse. Likewise, they are great as cut flowers in various flower arrangements.
  • ‘Autumn Joy’ stonecrops make for nice-looking companions to many other species, such as Aster ‘Monch’, Black-Eyed Susan, Coneflower, Culver’s Root, Dahlia ‘Honka’, Feather Reed Grass, Lavender, Mexican Feather Grass, Mountain Fleece, Reed Grass, Russian Sage, Salvia ‘Mainacht’, or Spotted Joe-Pye Weed.

Autumn Joy Stonecrops Features: An Overview

  • This cultivar belongs to the Crassulaceae family that consists of numerous species of flowering perennials. Autumn Joy Stonecrops share this family with other common ornamentals, such as Aeonium, Crassula, Kalanchoe, Cotyledon, Echeveria, or Sempervivum.
  • ‘Autumn Joy’ stonecrops are hardy flowering perennials. These plants grow at a pretty fast pace and can reach from 1.5 to 2 feet (46-61 cm) in both height and width.
  • Their clump-forming foliage contains many thick, fleshy, rounded, succulent, and green to blue-green leaves that grow on long, thick, upright, succulent, and green to pink stems. Like all succulent parts, both leaves and stems can store large amounts of water.
  • In general, ‘Autumn Joy’ stonecrops bloom from summer through fall (August to November). During this period, they produce lots of clustered buds that resemble broccoli.
  • After a few days, their dense clusters of buds will produce a generous number of tiny, star-shaped flowers. The blooms usually come in various shades of pink at first, then turn into a lovely rich rose with time. In autumn, the blooms will exhibit attractive coppery-rust tints as they begin to dry off.
Autumn Joy Stonecrops
Autumn Joy Stonecrops

Growing Autumn Joy Stonecrops

Autumn Joy’ stonecrops will have the time of their life if you are growing them under bright and direct light exposure. Because of this, you should find a spot for them where they can receive at least six hours of full sunlight all year round. Shady locations may cause your plants to get somewhat leggy and produce fewer flowers. However, they will benefit from this kind of lighting condition if you live in a region with very hot summer days. Especially during the harsh afternoon sunlight.

When it comes to temperatures and humidity, ‘Autumn Joy’ stonecrops can tolerate a wide range of conditions. In general, these flowers are cold-hardy in the USDA zones 3 to 9. During the winter months, ‘Autumn Joy’ stonecrops go dormant and can easily overwinter on their own. They can also do well in extremely hot and dry conditions.

What makes these plants even more charming is their ability to avoid most major issues like fungal diseases or pest infestations. Their fleshy, succulent leaves may present an attraction to some intruders like mealybugs or slugs. If you notice any suspect presence on your ‘Autumn Joy’ stonecrops early, you will be able to make their lives more simple. You can simply handpick the pests and, in severe cases, apply an organic product like neem oil to prevent any future surprises.

Planting Autumn Joy Stonecrops

The perfect time to plant your ‘Autumn Joy’ stonecrops is only after the last threat of frost has passed, usually in spring. During this season, they are most vigorous and will settle in their new environment much easier. Once you have planted your new specimens, make sure you water them well until the substrate looks damp on the surface.

‘Autumn Joy’ stonecrops tend to grow and spread at a pretty fast pace, so they can easily overcrowd with time. But do not worry! You can prevent this from happening by planting each of your buddies at a distance of at least one foot (30 cm) from the other ones. This process will also help you provide your plants with good air circulation and also protect them from diseases.

When it comes to their growing medium, ‘Autumn Joy’ stonecrops are not picky. These friendly plants will thrive in any gravelly or sandy soil as long as it has very good drainage. Still, they can grow just fine in loamy, well-draining substrates, but only if you do not allow them to have their feet constantly wet.

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Since ‘Autumn Joy’ stonecrops can withstand poor soils, spoiling them with fertilizers is not usually mandatory. But if your soil lacks nutrients and you think a lot about the overall health of your plants, a little fertilizing did not hurt anybody. Lightly feed your beloved flowers with a balanced fertilizer once every year in spring. Try to avoid feeding these plants in excess because this could result in a somewhat leggy appearance.

When your ‘Autumn Joy’ stonecrops begin to look all helpless and sloppy, you might want to equip yourself with some good old pruners. In late spring, many gardeners typically prune off the stems of their plants to limit their growth and promote a cute, tidy, and bushier overall growth. Once their leaves start to dry off, usually in autumn, you can also remove the stems if you do not care too much about the winter interest they might provide.

Watering Autumn Joy Stonecrops

Like most species of succulents, ‘Autumn Joy’ stonecrops do not require too much water to grow healthy and happy. In fact, these beautiful plants have great tolerance to drought for long periods once they settle in their new environment. This feature is a favourite among gardeners, making them excellent ornamentals even for beginners or forgetful growers.

If you live in an area with regular rainfalls, your flowers will do just fine without any extra effort on your part. Likewise, during the heat of the summer months, spoiling your ‘Autumn Joy’ stonecrops with water only once every two weeks will be everything they could ask for.

As a general rule, it is always better to under-water your succulent plants rather than to give them too much moisture. It is important to remember that ‘Autumn Joy’ stonecrops do not appreciate soggy substrates or waterlogging. Moreover, over-watering these plants may result in root rot with time. If you want to make sure you are doing your best, we suggest always checking their soil in-between waterings. Once the substrate has dried out completely, you can give your plants a nice, refreshing drink.

Propagating Autumn Joy Stonecrops

Making more of these spectacular flowering ornamentals for you, your family members or your friends is as easy as a walk in the park. ‘Autumn Joy’ stonecrops are extremely friendly when it comes to propagation through division or stem cuttings. They respond well even to gardeners that are at the beginning of the journey. And the best part – both methods will give you great results in a very short time.

If you want to propagate your ‘Autumn Joy’ stonecrops by division, keep in mind that they should be mature and have at least one foot (30 cm) in height. Moreover, dividing these plants is quite different compared to other species. Before getting to the actual process, you will have to cut your plants back at about 6 inches (15 cm) above the soil level in spring. After this, water them for a few days before dividing.

Autumn Joy
Autumn Joy

Once this period has ended, you can dig your plants out of the soil, then divide their roots into two or three sections with bare hands. Replant the clumps absolutely wherever you want and water them well to help them settle in their new spot.

To propagate ‘Autumn Joy’ stonecrops using cuttings, make sure that you have healthy stems on your plants. Take cuttings of about 4 to 6 inches (10-15 cm), then plant them in a container filled with soilless potting mix. With regular watering and lots of light, the cuttings should develop a healthy root system in a few months. Once this happens, you can transplant them in their permanent locations.

In Conclusion

Now that you have become more familiar with ‘Autumn Joy’ stonecrops, all you have to do is add them to your indoor or outdoor plant family. After this, they will basically thrive with little to no effort on your part. Believe us, these flowers have their way to fill your heart with lots of joy and your mind with many good memories!

Miruna is an experienced content writer with a passion for gardening. She is the proud owner of an outdoor rose garden and an indoor collection of tiny succulents. She bought her first succulent 10 years ago - an adorable Echeveria Setosa. Now she owns more than 100 succulents and cacti of different colors, shapes, and sizes. Miruna is a versatile writer and, as you might have guessed, her favorite topic is gardening. Contact miruna@gardenbeast.com

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