The sedums as a group are among the top performing perennials in the garden. They are heat and drought tolerant, easy to grow, and spread “nicely” without becoming invasive. Their succulent foliage adds interesting texture to the perennial garden and many cultivars have foliage with brilliant fall color as an added bonus. The broad, flat flower heads of the taller varieties not only provide beautiful fall color but also remain steadfast and attractive in the garden as a wonderful winter accent. Shadows from flower heads add interest when snow is on the ground.
There are two main types of Sedum - the tall forms such as the ever-popular Sedum 'Autumn Joy' and the more prostrate forms such as Sedum 'John Creech' and Sedum spurium 'Splendens' which make excellent ground covers. The low-growing species are exceedingly well suited for rock gardens and rock walls. Their attractive foliage cascades gracefully over rocks and into nooks and crannies between stones.
Flowers of the taller forms undergo an amazing metamorphosis of color through the summer and fall. The large broccoli-like flower heads of Sedum 'Autumn Fire' begin as light green buds, change to pale pink as they begin to open, transform to a deeper and deeper rose color, and finally mature to a rich bronze in the fall. Talk about a changing landscape - with just one species! Sedum 'Neon' certainly lives up to it's name with vibrant neon pink blooms that light up the garden!
Color comes from more than just the flowers. Sedum foliage comes in a great variety of colors. Sedum 'John Creech' and Sedum kamschaticum are a beautiful bright green, while Sedum spurium 'Splendens', and Sedum spurium 'Bronze Carpet' have reddish foliage that becomes even richer red in the fall. The succulent jade green leaves of Sedum 'Autumn Fire' are beautiful in combination with their dusty pink flowers in late summer. There are even variegated forms such as Sedum 'Tricolor' and Sedum kamschaticum 'Variegatum'. A newer cultivar, Sedum 'Angelina', has very interesting needle-like chartreuse foliage that turns a lovely reddish-orange in the cool temperatures of fall.
Ornamental grasses make wonderful backdrops for sedums. The combination of different textures is very striking. Sedum also works well in combination with Rudbeckia (Brown-eyed Susan), Echinacea (Coneflower), Perovskia (Russian Sage), and Phlox paniculata (Summer Phlox). Sempervivum spp. (Hens and Chicks) are a related group of plants which work very well in combination with the creeping sedums to add even more texture to the landscape. These interesting succulents can be tucked neatly into crevices in a rock wall or rock garden.
Sedums - you can't beat them for performance and diversity in the garden!!