There are some perennials that simply must be in our gardens. Consider peonies in spring and coneflowers in summer – what would a landscape be without them? I think sedums are the must have perennial in the fall garden.
Sedums are a diverse group of plants that are easy to grow as long as they are planted in well-drained soil. They will not survive in a soggy site. They prefer full sun, but will also grow satisfactorily in part shade.
Some varieties grow so low they are best suited as ground covers, filling in gaps between stepping stones, and growing in crevices of rock walls. Others are sized perfectly for the perennial border and buddy up beautifully with other favorites like Russian sage, black-eyed Susans, coneflowers and phlox.
Varieties sporting foliage with burgundy tones add richness to the garden. In containers, the succulent foliage of sedum is the perfect textural filler and looks fresh spring through fall.
Angelina has brilliant golden yellow, mat forming, needle-like foliage all season. Yellow flowers top the foliage in June and July. If Angelina is planted in light shade, the foliage will be less golden and more chartreuse, but just as pretty.
Autumn Joy is the most often planted sedum. Green fleshy leaves are covered in early summer with broccoli-like flower buds that turn rosy pink, then russet in fall. Autumn Fire is similar in growth habit, but its flowers are bright pink before turning to salmon and then to russet.
More compact than Autumn Joy, Carl boasts large, bright pink flower heads on strong stems.
John Creech forms a dense mat of scalloped green leaves that quickly covers unclaimed space in the garden. Pink flowers embellish the carpet of green in fall.
Lidakense shows off charming blue leaves on elegant arching stems. Vivid pink flowers sparkle over the foot-high mounds of foliage in late summer.
Matrona has dark gray foliage with burgundy tones and soft pink flowers beginning in August. It reaches 18 to 24 inches tall.
Purple Emperor grows 16 inches tall with dark purple foliage on strong, upright stems. Red flowers appear in late August or September.
Rosy Glow has blue-green leaves on deep reddish-pink stems. It is stunning partnered with blue-toned grasses like blue oat grass or blue fescue.
Chris Hansen has recently introduced a new series of sedums – the Sunsparkler series – all with fabulous foliage. Firecracker displays burgundy-red foliage and hot pink flowers. It grows 6 inches tall and 18 inches wide. Look for the other sedums in the Sunsparkler series: Dazzleberry, Jade Tuffet, Lime Twister and Lime Zinger.
Sedums ask for little, but give so much. Whichever variety you choose, you will be glad you made room in your garden for sedum. Get outside and garden with me!