How to Grow and Care for Sedum

Featuring colorful foliage and pretty flowers, this perennial is easy to grow and drought-tolerant.

sedum in a container

Jo-Ann Richards

A diverse group of plants, sedums come in myriad shapes, colors, and sizes. 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. With so many species and varieties available, sedums can be found in bloom three seasons a year. 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. And the best thing: Sedum is easy to grow and requires very little. maintenance.

Sedum Overview

Genus Name Hylotelephium (formerly Sedum)
Common Name Sedum
Plant Type Perennial
Light Part Sun, Sun
Height 2 to 36 inches
Width 14 to 48 inches
Flower Color Orange, Pink, Purple, Red, White, Yellow
Foliage Color Blue/Green, Chartreuse/Gold, Gray/Silver, Purple/Burgundy
Season Features Colorful Fall Foliage, Fall Bloom, Summer Bloom, Winter Interest
Special Features Attracts Birds, Cut Flowers, Good for Containers, Low Maintenance
Zones 10, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Propagation Division, Seed, Stem Cuttings
Problem Solvers Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Groundcover

Where to Plant Sedum

Sedum can be planted in any location with plenty of sun and well-draining soil that is slightly acidic or neutral.

There are two main types of sedums: creeping or upright. The creeping types are great as groundcovers in rock gardens and growing through cracks in walls. Many creeping sedum types will root wherever they have soil contact and can easily spread to fill a space. Upright sedums tend to form tight clumps of foliage and don’t spread; those can be planted as specimens or in small groups.

How and When to Plant Sedum

Sedum can be planted in the spring or fall. In northern climates, wait until the danger of frost has passed. If planting in the fall, do it early enough in the fall so that the plant can get its roots established before the ground freezes.

Dig a hole that is at least twice as wide as the root system and has the same depth. Place the plant in the hole and backfill it with the original soil. Gently tamp it down so that the crown (the spot from where the stems grow) is just at soil level and not below. Water it well and keep it moist for the first few weeks until the plant has adapted to its new location.

The spacing depends on the variety and growth rate. Tall sedums should be spaced 1 to 2 feet apart and low-growing creeping sedums 6 to 12 inches apart.

Sedum Care Tips


These plants need as much sun as you can give them. If they are in too much shade, they are prone to weak 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.

Soil and Water

Sedums are quite undemanding in terms of soil, which can be poor and gravelly. The best soil pH is slightly acidic to neutral (6.0 to 7.0).

The plant is drought-tolerant thanks to its succulent leaves and stems in which it stores water for the future. The biggest detriment to sedum is too much water, and poorly draining soil, which causes the roots to rot.

Temperature and Humidity

Many sedums grow over a wide range of zone and are both cold-hardy in subzero winters as well as tolerant of hot summer weather. As long as there is good air circulation between plants, high humidity is generally not a problem.


Adding nutrients to the soil is not required. On the contrary, in soil that is too rich, or contains excess nitrogen (which can be runoff from a nearby lawn that is overfertilized), growth will be leggy at the expense of flowers. If the soil is poor, amend it with compost in the spring.


Sedum requires no pruning other than removing old growth early in the spring before new growth emerges to keep the plant looking its best.

Potting and Repotting Sedum

Because sedums have shallow roots, they lend themselves to container planting. Choose a container with large drainage holes that fits the root ball plus at least 2 inches to accommodate future growth. Fill it with a well-draining potting mix or succulent potting mix. To prevent tall sedum varieties from toppling over, plant them in a container made of terra-cotta or other heavy material. Remember that potted plants, unlike plants in the landscape, need more frequent watering and fertilization.

Once the roots fill the pot or grow out of the drainage holes, repot it in a large pot with fresh potting mix.

Pests and Problems

Sedum is rarely bothered by pests and diseases. Wet, soggy soil, however, might cause crown rot and in very humid conditions it could get powdery mildew. The plants may attract slugs and snails. Deer, on the other hand, tend to leave sedum alone.

How to Propagate Sedum

Sedum can be easily propagated from stem cuttings or division. Either method is also the way to produce a plant that is true to type (seeds from cultivars won’t). For stem cuttings, cut a 4- to 6-inch piece from a healthy stem and strip off the bottom leaves. Insert the cut end in a 4-inch pot filled with sterile potting mix and keep it well watered in a location with bright light but out of direct sunlight. Water it well and keep it evenly moist. Wait until the cutting has grown into a strong healthy little plant before transplanting it in the landscape.

Sedum seeds are tiny and should be pressed into the surface of a moist potting mix, but not covered, under bright indirect light. Keep the soil most until the seeds germinate. As with cuttings, wait until the seedling has grown into a strong little plant before hardening off and transplanting it in the landscape.

Types of Sedum

Angelina Sedum

Angelina sedum
Peter Krumhardt

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

Autumn Charm Sedum

Autumn Charm' sedum
Marty Baldwin

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

Autumn Joy Sedum

Autumn Joy' sedum
Jerry Pavia

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

Frosty Morn Sedum

Frosty Morn' sedum
William N. Hopkins

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

Golden Japanese Stonecrop

Ogon Makinoi's sedum
Jason Wilde

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.

Purple Emperor Sedum

Purple Emperor' sedum
Richard Hirneisen

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

Gold Moss Stonecrop

Sedum acre
Andy Lyons

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

Cliff Stonecrop

Jason Wilde

Sedum cauticola is a Japanese species with lovely silvery, blue-green leaves and pink-purple flowers in autumn. It grows 2 inches tall. Zones 5-9

Variegated Kamschatka Sedum

Variegated Kamschatka sedum
Kritsada Panichgul

This Sedum variety has lustrous green (with a flush of pink), spoon-shaped leaves frosted with white along the edge. Its bright yellow starry flowers bloom from summer into fall, gradually becoming orange. It grows 4 inches tall. Zones 3-8

Sedum Companion Plants


Marty Baldwin

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.

Russian Sage

russian sage silver-leaf plant
Peter Krumhardt

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.

Black-Eyed Susan

black-eyed susan
Perry L. Struse

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

Extra-Easy Sun-Loving Garden Plan

garden illustration
Illustration by Gary Palmer

Fill your garden with color from easy-care favorites such as purple coneflower and yarrow.

Beautiful Bird-Friendly Garden Plan

garden illustration
Illustration by Mavis Augustine Torke

This prairie-style garden is filled with low-maintenance plants that provide flowers and seeds for a host of birds and butterflies.

Corner of Grasses

Corner of Grasses Garden
Illustration by Mavis Augustine Torke

Create an exquisite corner garden with ornamental grasses. The distinct heights in the garden plan make a dramatic statement in the landscape.

Drought-Tolerant Garden Plan

garden with fountain
Peter Krumhardt

This informal mixed garden bed features drought-tolerant trees, evergreen shrubs, perennials, and annuals.

Summer Cottage Garden Plan

Summer Cottage Garden Plan
Illustration by Mavis Augustine Torke

Stately delphiniums are the backbone of this colorful cottage garden plan.

A Simple, Late-Summer Perennial Garden Plan

garden illustration
Illustration by Mavis Augustine Torke

Seven perennials and one annual provide colors and textures throughout the growing season. A decorative birdbath adds a focal point.

Beginner Garden for Full Sun

Privacy Garden
Illustration by Mavis Augustine Torke

This easy-care, sun-loving design is a great introduction to perennial gardening.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is Hylotelephium the same as Sedum?

    Hylotelephium is a new name for a number of plants in the Sedum genus, including many popular garden plants with large succulent leaves and thick roots. Since botanical name changes take time, you'll still find both names, such as Sedum "Autumn Joy' and Hylotelephium 'Autumn Joy' for the same plant commonly referred to as sedum.

  • Is sedum annual or perennial?

    Sedums for gardens are usually perennials but there are also numerous sedum species that are tropical. non-winter hardy plants. They are either grown as annuals or succulent houseplants, such burrow's tail (Sedum morganium).

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles