SEDUM – stonecrop, rose root, ice plant

Plants from this huge group of succulent annuals and mostly evergreen perennials are grown for their flowers and their interesting leaf shapes. Many are suitable for rock gardens.

Suitable site and soil. Plant in sun in well-drained soil.

Cultivation and care. Plant out in autumn or winter. Most species are drought resistant.

Propagation. Increase perennials by division in autumn or winter or by cuttings in spring. Annuals can be grown from seeds sown in early spring.

Recommended varieties. S. ‘Herbstfreude’ (also known as ‘Autumn Joy’), a hybrid of S.spectabile (ice plant) and S. telephium, is an herbaceous border perennial with fleshy leaves. It grows to 60cm – 2ft high by 45cm – 18in across and produces dense heads of deep pink flowers from late summer to late autumn. S. spathulifolium is a superb rock garden plant grown for its low (10cm – 4in) spreading foliage of fleshy leaves. It produces yellow flower-heads in late spring; S.s.’Cape Blanco’ has grey-white leaves. The fast-growing annual S. caeruleum produces star-shaped blue flowers in summer and grows to 15cm – 6in. Its foliage turns red at the same time as flowering. S. telephium maximum ‘Atropurpur-eum’ has purple leaves which look dramatic in the border. It grows to 60cm – 2ft and has large pink flower-heads in autumn.

Pests and diseases. Watch out for attack by aphids, slugs and mealy bugs. Rot may occur where soil is too moist.

IMPERIAL PURPLE

Purple foliage can provide contrasting and complementary colour. 5. telephium maximum ‘Atropurpureum’ looks especially good alongside the silvery-grey Stachys byzantina (Stachys olympica).

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