Master Gardener: Steadfast Sedums

By Carol Bray
Isanti County Master Gardener

If you’re just starting to garden or if you are redoing your flower garden and have a full or part sunny location, sedums are plants you will want to consider.  Sedum, sometimes called stonecrop, is a genus of about 400 species of leaf succulents, from the northern hemisphere. (Who knows how many cultivars?!) They vary in growth habit from groundcovers to shrubs. Sedums are sometimes referred to as “succulents.” The U of MN Extension explains that the word “succulent” refers to the broad category of plants that’s thick, fleshy leaves and stems hold water. They grow in poor soil with little water.

Aijoon sedum in flagstone patio.

Generally speaking, there are two groups:  low-growing (usually early bloomers) and tall-growing (usually late bloomers).  These tough perennials can be grown in Zones 3 through 10 with great success. They can be itty bitty sedums, such as Sedum Acre to some quite large sedums such as ‘Black Jack’ or Sedum ‘Mediovariegatum.’

On a personal note:  I purchased Sedum Aijoon years ago and this small, yellow flowered sedum can be invasive. I took advantage of its invasiveness by putting a couple of plantings in the cracks of a small flagstone patio. The Aijoon is growing like crazy and replacing the weeds that liked to grow in-between the flagstones. It’s quite lovely. Sedums are terrific for rock gardens.  I have a very mini rock garden—a small rock with crevices with little sedums growing in the crevices. This “rock garden” is fun and a real conversation piece.

“Sedum Rock Garden”

Some sedums greatest attributes are their foliage which can vary from almost white to almost black. Plus, there are many variegated leafed sedums. I cannot sing sedums’ praises enough. They bloom in a rainbow of colors and if you select the correct sedums their blooms will bookend the garden season. Finally, the bees love the sedum’s bloom.

For more information, visit the U of M Ext. website at www.extension.umn.edu or call the Isanti County Master Gardeners at 763-689 1810. You can also visit us at Isanti County Master Gardeners.

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