SEDUM Stonecrop

The Sedums are a large group of fleshy-leaved plants which thrive in hot and dry conditions – their ability to cover rocks and walls is responsible for the common name. Many are rock garden plants but some Sedums, known as Ice Plants, are grown in the herbaceous border. The flower-heads of the Ice Plants are large plates of tiny flowers, their appearance in late summer acting as a magnet for the butterflies in the neighbourhood. These Border Sedums are tough plants, shrugging off drought and pests which would cripple more delicate perennials.

VARIETIES: The popular Ice Plant is S. spectabile – height 1-2 ft. Spacing 1 ft.

Flowering period: August-October. The flower-heads measure 4-6 in. across and the varieties generally differ in flower colour rather than plant form. Choose from ‘Brilliant’ (deep pink), ‘Carmen’ (rose-red), ‘Meteor’ (carmine-red) and ‘Ruby Glow’ (red). There is one variety which does stand out from the others – ‘Autumn Joy’. It is tall (2 ft) and the 8 in. heads are salmon-pink at first, turning rusty brown in autumn. The leaves also change, becoming brownish purple at the end of summer. The Purple-leaf Ice Plant is S. maximum ‘Atropurpureum’ (height 1.5 ft. pink flowers, purplish red leaves).

SITE AND SOIL: Any well-drained soil will do – thrives best in full sun.

PROPAGATION: Divide clumps in autumn or spring.

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