by Ken Lain, the mountain gardener
Most gardeners remember their grandmother’s tall Autumn Joy growing in the Most gardeners remember their grandmother’s tall Autumn Joy growing in thehottest parts of the garden. Their joyous cousins spread and creep with the same sizzling blooms that make Sedum the ideal plant for gardeners that want less water and responsibility but still want the same beauty of a cottage garden.
Sedum is basically like cacti without all the thorns comprising close to 500 species known as Sedum or Stonecrops. Although all sedums flower, they’re usually grown for their foliage, which comes in exciting shades of green, blue, gold, and reds not found in most other plants. They store moisture in their leaves and grow well in arid mountain locations.
Top 10 Sedums grown as stunning groundcovers.
#1 Angelina Sedum is a gold leaf sedum that is tinged in bronze when the weather turns cold. Dainty gold flowers appear through summer. The 5″inch plant mats and covers in dry locations, rock gardens, containers, and hanging baskets, and its color contrasts nicely with dark foliage plants.
#2 Blue Spruce Sedum is named for the blue foliage resembling evergreen shrubs. This fast-growing plant produces a blanket of small yellow flowers throughout summer. It grows perfectly as a transition between low-sprawling evergreens, such as juniper and yews. Grows to ankle height and enjoys the hottest windiest spots in the garden
#3 Cascade Sedum is a perennial species that blooms with yellow flowers in the midsummer heat. The leaves are green but show a red tinge in full sun. Individual plants spread several feet in irregular patterns from the crown. The variety is striking in light shade, growing 4″ inches tall.
#4 Coral Reef Sedum, also called a ‘ Chinese Sedum’, is one of the few with warm golden foliage. Growing just 2″ inches tall, the light-colored foliage looks fantastic next to darker-colored sedums. Miniature white and pink flowers appear in July and August. Aggressive greenery creeps and spreads down embankments and rock gardens but looks equally handsome planted at the edge of a container.
#5 Japanese Sedum has silver leaves with distinctive red edges and hot-pink flowers that appear in Autumn. The plant is perfect for brightening the dark corners of a landscape. Many gardeners refer to this beauty as the ‘October Sedum.’ Standing just 3″ inches tall, and grows anywhere in the garden, especially in the summer heat.
#6 Mongolian Sedum is an excellent groundcover plant that blooms in late summer in shades of pink. Stunning leaves are blue and often trimmed in late Autumn before it hibernates underground for winter. Super tough in dry crusty soil and growing just 5″ inches tall, the perfect Sedum for Rock gardens.
#7 Murale Sedum is a sedum cultivar with bronze foliage and pink flowers that bloom in early summer and attract butterflies. It has a similar growth habit as the rest of the species but is a slightly smaller plant overall. Growing just under ankle high, the creeps through rocks as a groundcover. The species was found in Siberia, so you know it’s cold hardy for mountain gardens.
#8 Purple Emperor Sedum has plum foliage and pink blooms that are striking when planted with other sedums. Growing a foot tall, it grows well when filling pockets in rock gardens and sunny border gardens. Grows in full sun but blooms a ridiculously long time when planted in shade gardens.
#9 Siberian Sedum has deep green leaves and golden yellow flowers in late summer. The 4″ inch foliage turns an attractive bronze in Autumn. It’s a reliable, fast-growing plant used to fill spaces in rock gardens or chinks in stone walls as well as blanketing sunny areas. This Sedum was found in Siberia, so you know it thrives where lesser Sedums fail.
#10 White Sedum has white flowers and green foliage that turns reddish in Autumn. It blooms in summer and is an excellent ground cover for thin, poor soils or rock embankments. Drought conditions may turn the foliage pinkish, but this species has excellent tolerance for dry conditions. Loves blistering hot sun and grows 3-5″ inches tall. White outshines the rest in light shade.
Until next week, I’ll be helping gardeners grow more fragrant gardens here at Watters Garden Center.