Below are all of the Sedums we grow all in one place alongside their desriptions. I’ve arranged them approximately from small to large
Sedun hidakanum is a small creeping species with little rounded dove grey leaves with a pink flush all on short arching stems. In autumn these are completely obscured by the mass of pale pink starry flowers. A real winner for the rock garden. Non invasive
Sedum telephium subsp. ruprechtii. Of the Autumn flowering sedums for the herbaceous border, this one is quite distinctive. It is an unusual but very attractive combination of compact deep glaucous foliage with dense heads of creamy lime green flowers. Dependent on conditions, the stems can colour a pinky red, a colour that can be echoed on the foliage. 30cm tall Best grown in a sunny position
Sedum telephium ‘Purple Emperor’ is a superb Sedum with smoky beetroot coloured foliage. Spotted by Graham Gough of Marchants Nursery in his parent’s garden in East Sussex. Bees adore this plant, spending weeks visiting the mass of rosy pink flowers stary flowers. It has a compact habit, growing 35-50cm tall, flowering in July to September. Lovely as a foliage plant or to observe the insects that are drwn to the flowers – this year we had the pleasure of watching hornets (native) hunting bees over our sedums. They take time selecting a victim and once they pounce they wrestle it until they can bite it behind the head, flying off with the bee held facing forward.
Sedum erythrostictum ‘Frosty Morn’ This lovely variety has blue green leaves with wavy edges that are variegated creamy white, possibly a better match for the pinky white flowers than in yellow variegated varieties. Quite a classy variety. Flowers are born in late summer and are much loved by butterflies and bees. Sun. 45cm
Sedum erythrostictum ‘Mediovariegatum’. ( Sedum alboroseum ‘Medio-Variegatum’ ) The beautiful variably, medially golden variegated leaves make a striking clump and a perfect foil for the pink-eyed starry white flowers. Tends to produce a greater number of thinner stems than some of the Sedum spectabile hybrids. Excellent for butterflies. 60cm. Full sun
- Sedum ‘Munstead Dark Red’ is a beautiful compact growing sedum originally seleted by Gertrude Jekyll from the garden at Munstead Wood. Dense head of deep red-maroon flowers and glaucous foliage that tinges purple.Plants are relatively short. Thought originally to be seletion of our native Orpine – Sedum telephium. height 45cm Excellent nectar source for butterflies
- Sedum ‘Indian Chief’ (Herbstfreude Group) A strong growing sedum with extra large dark pink-red flower heads. This is the classic Autumn flowering sedum. Originally sold as a larger clone of ‘Autumn Joy’ (‘Herbstfreude’), less prone to splitting apart than the type, it is now sometimes included within the cultivar description of ‘Autumn Joy’. A magnet to butterflies in early Autumn. 60 cm tall. Sunny position in any soil
Sedum ‘Joyce Henderson’ has strong upright growth combine with glaucous foliage and large heads of pale pink flowers, making a very desirable pretty sedum. She is quite similar to ‘Matrona’ in many ways but paler in the flower and less coloured in the leaf. 60cm A magnet to butterflies in early Autumn.
Sedum ‘Matrona’ is ideal for attracting bees and butterflies in late summer but has the added attraction of super foliage. Smokey blue green leaves heavily overlaid with purple and purple stems. Broad clusters of flowers are cream in bud, opening rusty pink. 50cm high. Easy. Has similarities to ‘Joyce Henderson’ but more coloured in all of its parts.
The genus Sedum is a large one, however the border benefits mainly from two species, the European Sedum telephium and the Japanese Sedum spectabile. They would have been referred to as Ice Plants in Grannie’s Garden.
Quite apart from their beauty, every garden should have some sedums on account of their being fantastic late nectar sources for bees and butterflies. Whenever you look at the broad flowering heads they are absolutely heaving with insect life.
All sedums thrive in well drained fertile soils and even do well in quite impoverished soils. They are very hardy and reliable increasing reliably year on year. Just chop them back when they begin to look untidy every year.
If you are of a mind that your Sedums are too floppy by Autumn, chop them to the ground in May (The Chelsea Chop) and your plants will be more compact when they flower in late Summer.
As members of the Crassulaceae family, Sedums are able to take advantage of Crassulacean Acid Metabolism, a mechanism that has evolved to increase photosynthetic efficiency in arid conditions. Water loss through a leaf’s breathing pores (stomata) can be a problem for any plant living in arid conditions – one of life’s necessary evils, the pores need to be open to let in CO2 and let O2 out, but let out water at the same time. Many silver leaved plants cope by having hairy leaves that reduce air flow across the leaf surface and thus reduce transpiration. Crassulaceae cope in a different way. They have developed thick waxy coatings on the leaf and keep the pores closed during the day. During the cooler night they open their stomata and let air in. They then fix the CO2 into malate, which is then available to be used in photosynthesis during the daytime. In this way they can cope with very arid conditions.
Photosynthesis is the process whereby plants use sunlight to bind water and carbon dioxide into the sugar glucose. It is the primary way in which the whole world’s ecosystem fixes the energy from the sun into a useable form for life and has created all of the oxygen that we breathe.
It follows the equation : 6CO2 + 6H2O = C6H12O6 + 6O2
( 6 x Carbon Dioxide + 6 x Water creates Glucose + 6 Oxygen )