Sedum: The Perennial Genus That Has It All (almost)

Favorite Upright Sedum Varieties

What a great little plant, the Sedum genus. I wrote a blog article recently about Spirea being the workhorse of all shrubs. I think Sedum fits the bill here, being the workhorses of the herbaceous perennials. They have it all, they always perform! (almost)

  • Numerous flower colors
  • Sprawling and upright varieties with different spreads and heights
  • A variety of leaf colors
  • Drought tolerant
  • As to "almost," they do not like poorly drained soils

Sedum, a large genus of plants commonly known as Stonecrop. Here's a video that looks at eight great upright varieties.

I have a friend/coworker that loves the Sedum group. I mean absolutely LOVES Sedums. But she has no taste for Arborvitaes!? I don't understand this, as Arborvitaes are likely my favorite group of conifers. I mean, look at these photos:

Arborvitaes (L to R): Yellow Ribbon - Danica - Amber Gold - Degroot's Spire - Technito

Maybe she is just poking fun at me, getting me riled up.

Oh yes, Sedum. Our topic.

What a perfect perennial for ease of spring and fall maintenance. Cleanup goes quickly as the stems are easy to cut. But leave the tops on in the fall if you can, as the spent flower heads can be pretty showy peaking through the snow. Those flower heads provide food for many birds, like finches and chickadees.

Autumn Joy Sedum

Sedum spectacle 'Autumn Joy'

  • Zones 3-10
  • Full sun to part shade
  • Averages 18-24 inches tall and wide
  • Pink flowers changing to rosy russet-red in fall

Matrona Sedum

Sedum 'Matrona'

  • Zones 3-9
  • Loves full sun
  • Beautiful pink flowers with gray-green leaves
  • 18” H x 18” W
  • Award of Garden Merit by the Royal Horticultural Society 

Atlantis Sedum

Sedum takesimense 'Nonsitnal'

  • Zones 4-9
  • Dark green serrated leaves with creamy yellow margins
  • 6” H x 6” W
  • Leaves have pink blush tones in the fall

Sedum are excellent at drawing in pollinators. And with the late-season blooms they provide are an essential part of the landscape, as many other blooming plants have finished by this time.

Dark Magic Sedum

Sedum telephium 'Dark Magic'

  • Zones 4-9
  • 12” H x 20” W
  • Excellent dwarf selection with upright habit
  • Glossy purple black leaves with deep pink flowers

Double Martini Sedum

Sedum 'Double Martini'

  • Zones 3-9
  • 18” H x 18” W
  • Olive Green foliage with burgundy stems
  • Rosy-pink flowers
  • Smaller flowers in clusters

Sedum love full sun so are excellent for use in rock gardens. Sedum do not like "wet feet", so avoid areas that have excessive soil moisture or are frequently saturated.

Autumn Fire Sedum

Sedum 'Autumn Fire'

  • Zones 3-9
  • 24-30” H x 24-30” W
  • Similar to Autumn Joy but with tighter growth and brighter flowers
  • Beautiful range of flower colors as it opens and finishes

Neon Sedum

Sedum spectabile 'Neon'

  • Zones 3-9
  • 18-24” H x 18’24” W
  • Great name - it almost glows
  • Leaves have gold fall color

I've only covered upright Sedum for this post, but there are also numerous sprawling varieties available. If you want to explore additional Sedum choices, I recommend the Monrovia and Gertens websites. They have a great gallery of photos and descriptions of this beautiful group of perennials.

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