Succulents

Guide to Sedums: How to Grow and Care for “Stonecrops”

Read our complete guide to Stonecrop Sedums for everything you will ever need to know! Tips for planting & caring for these cold-hardy succulents
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Stonecrop Sedums are low-maintenance succulent plants that come in many different colors, shapes, and sizes. They belong to the Hylotelephium genus and they can withstand high temperatures, poor soil, full sun, drought but also low temperatures and deep freezes.

Although these perennials are oftentimes neglected and taken for granted by plant growers, they still bloom annually, in autumn, and produce attractive flower buds. When planted outdoors, they make perfect groundcovers, but they are also great when planted in hanging pots, containers, or to spruce up walkways, living walls, and green roofs.

Stonecrops
Stonecrops

Other common names for the carefree, vigorous, and extremely cute Stonecrop Sedums include Ice Plant, Orpine, or simply Stonecrop. As mentioned above, there are many different types of Sedum succulents (between 400 and 500 individual species) but there are two main varieties that are very popular among plant growers: upright sedums and low-growing/mat-forming sedums.

Upright stonecrop sedums or Showy Stonecrop are also known as “border sedums” and they are perfect for rock gardens. They grow in tight, upright clumps and produce tiny pink and white that bloom in autumn and attract pollinator insects including butterflies. They reach 18-24 inches (46-61cm) in height and are great for adding a burst of color to your garden.

Low-growing stonecrop sedums, also known as mat-forming sedums or creeping sedums reach just a few inches in height but they spread quickly along the ground, in crevices, and pretty much anywhere. However, they are not invasive and they have shallow roots. They are commonly used as groundcovers and they prefer poor, dry soil. Other common uses for mat-forming sedums include crevice gardens, green roofs, containers, sandy soil, etc.

Where to Buy Succulents?

Here is our recommended online shops for purchasing succulents & supplies

  • Succulents Box

    Succulents Box currently offers more than 200 varieties of succulents (both popular and rare ones) along with 5 monthly subscription boxes.

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  • Leaf & Clay

    Leaf & Clay offer a range of hundreds of types of succulents along with subscription boxes, pots & macrame.

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  • Lula’s Garden

    Lula’s Garden offers a selection of succulent garden gift sets from small single succulents in pots to full succulent gardens.

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  • The Succulent Source

    The Succulent Source offers a huge selection of succulents, cactii and also gift sets and items for weddings.

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  • Planet Desert

    Planet Desert cater to succulent and cactii fans with a large range of plants, soil, kits and other supplies for creating your garden.

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About Stonecrop Sedums

  • Stonecrop Sedums are perennial succulents that thrive in the arid parts of the garden. They are tough and adaptable and will survive in USDA Hardiness Zones 3-10.
  • They are usually bought in small pots or containers and transplanted into the garden. It’s best to replant sedums in spring. This will give them time to adjust to their new environment before experience stressful weather such as extreme heat or freezing temperatures.
  • Growing Sedums is easy because they are low-maintenance perennials and thrive in a wide range of climates.
  • They can be planted in hot sunny locations as they don’t mind drought and heat, but they can also withstand cold temperatures and even deep freezes.
  • Stonecrop Succulents were initially found in Asia and Europe but they were brought on the other continents through trade, exploration, etc. so many of them became naturalized and can now be found pretty much everywhere.
  • You can also find many different hybrid types of Sedums.
  • Stonecrop succulents are not sensitive to pests and diseases, but they can be smothered by other plants, as they have a shallow root system. You can easily prevent this from happening by covering their soil with a mulch of pebbles.
  • It’s easy to propagate Stonecrop Sedums. All you need is to do is lay a leaf on the soil or plant a small piece of stem and wait for the roots to appear. In a few weeks, you’ll have a brand new Sedum succulent.

Sedum Hispanicum Seeds, From Amazon

Stonecrop Sedum Features: An Overview

  • The family of Stonecrop perennials is large and it includes tall spiked-flowering succulents, low-growing ones, and even trailing ones.
  • All stonecrop Sedums are rosette-shaped and produce flowers that rise above the base foliage.
  • The leaves of stonecrop Sedums are semi-glossy and thick, their stems are clothes in fleshy leaves, and in summer or autumn, they are topped with clusters of tiny flowers.
  • There are two main types of Stonecrop Sedums: upright sedums and low-growing sedums. Upright sedums grow taller and can reach up to 1-3 feet in height depending on the variety and environment. Low-growing sedums are tiny, spread quickly, and form ground mats. They have colorful fleshy leaves (copper, blue, yellow, marron, etc.).
  • The flowers of stonecrop succulents are pastel-colored, sweet, and rich in nectar with attracts butterflies, bees, moths, and other pollinator insects.
  • Sedums make great ornamental plants because their flowers remain on the plants for extended periods, sometimes even during winter.
  • They can be grown both indoors and outdoors, in containers, as groundcovers, on roof gardens and wall gardens, and they can be used in flower arrangements.
Sedums
Sedums

Growing and Caring for Stonecrop Sedums

Stonecrop Sedums are easy to grow perennials. They need well-drained soil but most species will tolerate rainy weather and cold temperatures. Extreme heat and lack of sun for extended periods can have a negative effect on the plants and make them floppy or leggy.

Whether you’re growing tall sedums or mat-forming ones, the key is to plant them in well-drained soil. Like most succulents, sedums are sensitive to wet soil which can quickly lead to root rot. Because they thrive in well-drained soil, all stonecrop Sedums can be planted in sandy soil, in rock gardens, crevice gardens, raised beds, green roofs, hillside slopes, and succulent containers that have drainage holes.

Most stonecrop Sedums love the sun and they will grow happy and healthy if they get at least 5 hours of direct sun per day. Some varieties of Sedum, such as Sedum alboroseum and Sedum ternatum prefer the shade and direct sunlight, especially accompanied by extreme heat, can damage them. It is best to know what type of Sedum you are growing and to try to protect the plants from extreme temperatures until they have adjusted to their new environment.

stonecrop sedum
stonecrop sedum

Most sedums prefer nutrient-poor soil, so they don’t require fertilization. You can apply some organic compost, but avoid chemical fertilizer as it can damage the plants. To encourage your Sedums to get sturdier and bushier foliage, you can prune them in early July, but they might get smaller flowers.

Stonecrop Sedums are versatile succulents and they can be grown pretty much anywhere. You can grow Sedums both indoors and outdoors in containers, as ground covers, on wall gardens, roof gardens, etc.

Growing Sedums in containers: All types of Sedums make awesome container plants as long as you plant them in a well-draining succulent soil mix. Tall-growing sedums look nice in patio containers, while mat-forming sedums can be paired well with taller succulents and cacti such as agave or ornamental grass-like Blue Fescue. If you plan on growing Sedums in a pot, indoors, make sure they have enough drainage holes and place them on a bright window-sill.

Growing Sedums as ground covers: Smaller varieties of stonecrop Sedums make better ground covers than tall varieties because they spread faster. But that doesn’t mean that tall sedums don’t make pretty ground-covers. They do, especially when planted along the edge of walls or sidewalks. So, it doesn’t matter what stonecrop Sedums you choose as ground cover, they are all low-maintenance, have beautiful flowers, and attract butterflies, so they are pretty much perfect.

Growing Sedums on roof gardens and wall gardens: Sedums don’t need a lot of water and they are cold-hardy so they are perfect for crevice gardens, wall gardens, and rooftop gardens. They are the go-to plant for all gardening enthusiasts who want to contribute to the millions of square feet of green roofs that have been popping up all over the world. We couldn’t be happier that this trend is catching on, because there’s nothing cuter than a roof covered in tiny succulents.

Watering Stonecrop Sedums

In general, Sedums are quite drought-tolerant and they thrive in well-drained soil. Mat-forming sedum varieties will spread quickly and they won’t need a lot of water. When grown outdoors, on rooftops or in rocky gardens, they might not need watering at all. If you grow Sedums in containers or if you live in an arid region, apply the ‘soak and dry’ technique (water the plants when the soil is completely dry).

Tall sedums like Dynomite, Frosted Fire, and Autumn Joy are less drought-tolerant then mat-forming ones. To ensure that your tall sedums grow happy and healthy, water them weekly through spring and fall (growth season). Drought won’t kill the sedums, but it might prevent them from growing.

The most drought-resistant sedums are the low-growing ones such as Sedum kamshaticum, Sedum scre, Sedum tetractinum, and Sedum album.

Regardless of what variety of Sedum you are growing, make sure you reduce the watering once the growing season is over to prevent root rot.

How to Water Succulents
How to Water Succulents: Complete Beginner’s Guide

In Conclusion

Stonecrop Sedums look awesome all year round and they can be grown in containers, as ground covers, wall coverings, in rock gardens, on rooftop gardens, and even in hanging baskets. Their flowers are long-lasting and attract butterflies and they grow and spread quickly. So, if you are a succulent lover, you must own at least one or two types of Stonecrop Sedums.

Our favorite varieties are Sedum “Black Jack” which has dark-colored foliage, Sedum “Brilliant” which has the pinkest flowers of all Sedums, Sedum “Autumn Joy” because its flowers are stunning, and Sedum “Vera Jamison” for its has purple flowers and burgundy leaves. Which one is your favorite?

Other Types of Succulents

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Miruna Secuianu

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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