Sedums (SEE-dumz) are a group of remarkably varied succulent plants with many uses in residential yards and gardens. Also called Stonecrop, they are perennials, dying back in the fall and returning anew each spring. Vigorous growers, they offer interesting foliage and colorful flowers in many heights and habits. Also, they are able to flourish in inhospitable sites. Showy Sedums (Sedum spectabile) is among the most satisfactory of the larger types, and Goldmoss Stonecrop (Sedum acre) is representative of the sedum groundcovers. They are very easy to care for.
Size: Showy sedums grow upright on sturdy stems 18 to 24 inches tall. They grow rapidly in a compact clump. Low-growing sedums such as Goldmoss creep along about 2 inches above the ground. Also rapid a grower, it forms a dense mat and will spread enthusiastically.
Foliage: Showy sedum leaves are succulent, the water they store making them plump and fleshy. They are usually 3 inches long, oval, and carried in pairs opposite each other on the stems. Colored a pale gray-green, they have slightly toothed edges. Some varieties have reddish or variegated foliage. Many children are aware that if they rub these leaves gently to separate their outer membranes, they can puff them up like tiny balloons. Although they are perennial plants, showy sedum leaves and stems die back at frost, emerging again in the spring. Goldmoss sedum leaves are among the smallest of any of the sedums. Only about 3/16 inch long, they are light green, and pointed, creating a very fine texture. They are slightly succulent but are hardy enough in the cold weather to be evergreen.
Flowers & Fruit: Showy sedums are aptly named because their blooms are the showiest of all the sedums. Tiny star-shaped flowers bloom in flattened clusters 3 to 6 inches wide that grow at the ends of the stems. Flowering normally from August to first frost, their colors range from ivory white to pink to wine red. While they have no fragrance, they are very attractive to bees and butterflies. Goldmoss flowers are tiny and delicate, about 1/2 inch across. They bloom early in the summer in brilliant golden yellow.
Autumn Joy' has excellent fall flowers, darkening from pink to dark red as the season wanes;
`Brilliant' has raspberry-red flowers;
`Carmen' has deep pink flowers,
`Star Dust' has white flowers, blue-green foliage;
`Variegatum' has yellow-green foliage, pink flowers.
`Magus' has larger leaves and flowers;
`Aureus' has bright yellow shoot tips;
`Elegans' has silver shoot tips;
`Minus' is extremely tiny, usually 1/2 inch tall or less.