A diverse group of plants, sedums come in a myriad of shapes, colors, and sizes. They often can tolerate very dry conditions, thanks to their succulent leaves and stems. With so many species and varieties available, sedums can be found in bloom three seasons a year.
There are two main types of sedums: creeping or upright. The creeping types are great as a groundcovers in rock gardens and growing through cracks in walls. Many creeping types of sedum will root wherever they touch ground and can easily spread to fill a space. Upright sedums tend to form tight clumps of foliage and don’t spread. This sort of sedum can be easily divided in spring to make more plants.
Sedums come in a rainbow of colors. The foliage ranges from needle-like to broad, rounded, paddle-like leaves. Along with many different shapes, there are also a number of foliage colors. Standouts include bright chartreuse-gold; wonderful tricolor leaves with pinks, creams and greens; and even deep, shiny, almost-black leaves.
Related: 17 Top Sedum Varieties
As far as flowers go, sedum blossoms are multipurpose. Bees and butterflies love the flowers, making this plant perfect for pollinator gardens. On taller blooming varieties, the dried bloom stems add winter interest to the garden. Just be sure to remove old growth early in the spring before new growth emerges to keep the plant looking its best.
Sedum Care Must-Knows
Sedums are drought-tolerant and can stand up to hot conditions. Because these perennials have succulent leaves, they can store water for future. However, their biggest downfall is too much water, which will cause them to rot.
These plants need as much sun as you can give them. If they are in too much shade, they are prone to rot and stretched out growth that will cause the upright types to flop over. More sun is also better for foliage color. Brighter light intensities bring out deeper colors in the leaves and promote better flowering.
Breeders have been crossing sedums with another genus called Orostachys. This has created a new hybrid known as Sedoro.
More Varieties of Sedum
Sedum 'Angelina' is a quick-growing groundcover with golden, needle-like leaves that turn orange in fall. It grows 4 inches tall. Zones 6-9
This variety shows off rose-pink flowers in late summer and autumn and lovely white-edged foliage. It grows 15 inches tall and wide. Zones 4-8
Sedum 'Autumn Joy' is a classic. Its 2-foot-tall stems carry gray fleshy leaves and are topped with green broccoli-like heads of flower buds that open pink and turn rusty red by fall. Zones 3-8
Sedum 'Frosty Morn' bears stunning, silver-edged gray-green leaves and clusters of pink flowers in fall. It grows 1 foot tall. Zones 3-9
Sedum makinoi 'Ogon' has mats of small, pink-flushed gold leaves on creeping stems. Yellow green flowers are produced in summer. This is a fine groundcover plant in rock and crevice gardens. It grows 8 inches tall and is hardy in Zones 7-9
This Sedum variety bears rich purple foliage and clusters of pinkish-purple blooms in late summer and fall. It grows 2 feet tall. Zones 3-7
Sedum acre is an evergreen that grows 2 to 3 inches tall and has dark green foliage with yellow flowers in summer. Zones 4-9
This variety is a Japanese species with lovely silvery, blue-green leaves and pink-purple flowers in autumn. It grows 2 inches tall. Zones 5-9
Sedum Companion Plants
Like so many grasses, fountaingrass is spectacular when backlit by the rising or setting sun. Named for its especially graceful spray of foliage, fountaingrass also sends out beautiful, fuzzy flower plumes in late summer. The white, pink, or red plumes (depending on variety) continue into fall and bring a loose, informal look to plantings. This plant self-seeds freely, sometimes to the point of becoming invasive.
With its tall, wispy wands of lavender or blue flowers and silvery foliage, Russian sage is an important player in summer and fall gardens. It shows off well against most flowers and provides an elegant look to flower borders. The aromatic leaves are oblong and deeply cut along the edges. Foot-long panicles of flowers bloom for many weeks. Excellent drainage and full sun are ideal, although very light shade is tolerated. Plant close to avoid staking, since the tall plants tend to flop.
Add a pool of sunshine to the garden with a massed planting of black-eyed Susan. From midsummer, these tough native plants bloom their golden heads off in sun or light shade and mix well with other perennials, annuals, and shrubs. Tall varieties look especially appropriate among shrubs, which in turn provide support. Add black-eyed Susans to wildflower meadows or native plant gardens for a naturalized look. Average soil is sufficient for black-eyed Susans, but it should be able to hold moisture fairly well.
Garden Plans for Sedum
Fill your garden with color from easy-care favorites such as purple coneflower and yarrow.
This prairie-style garden is filled with low-maintenance plants that provide flowers and seeds for a host of birds and butterflies.
Create an exquisite corner garden with ornamental grasses. The distinct heights in the garden plan make a dramatic statement in the landscape.
This informal mixed garden bed features drought-tolerant trees, evergreen shrubs, perennials, and annuals.
Seven perennials and one annual provide colors and textures throughout the growing season. A decorative birdbath adds a focal point.