Sedum telephium 'Matrona'

Phlox paniculata John Fanick Perennial of the Month-- October 2006 

(SEE-dum  tel-IF-ee-um) (pronunciation at link, turn up volume if too low)

Common name: Matrona Stonecrop

Family: Crassulaceae, Crassula

Height x width: 18-24 x 12-15"

Growth rate, habit: moderate, upright rounded

Foliage: blue-grey, opposite 2-3" long and 1-2" across, broadly ovate-elliptic, slightly crenate edges;  on burgundy stems

Flowers: tight to loosely open flat terminal clusters (cyme) to 4" across of  mauve-pink to dull red in late summer to early fall, turning milk chocolate brown in winter

Hardiness: USDA zones 3-9

Soil: average to dry, well-drained

Light: full-sun

Pests and problems: none serious, may get straggly in shade or too rich soil, leafspots possible under hot and humid conditions

Landscape habit, uses: butterfly gardens, borders, massed, pots, large rock gardens, cut flowers or foliage, dried flowers, winter interest and food for birds from seedheads; combines well with asters including Lady in Black, blue-mist shrub (Caryopteris), Chocolate snakeroot (Eupatorium rugosum), black-leaved bugbanes (Cimicifuga), Fireworks goldenrod, Pennisetum, Blue Oat Grass, Fescues

Other interest: often just listed as cultivar without species telephium, genus has undergone much taxonomic revision and reversion in recent years, for a few years being listed under Hylotelephium genus; this cultivar from Ewald Hugin of Germany around 1991, a hybrid of Atropurpureum and Autumn Joy; cultivar name from German for "lady of well-rounded form" referring to habit; leaves often thicker than Autumn Joy; flowers very attractive to butterflies; winner of the ISU (Europe) plant of year in 2000 and RHS (England) award of garden merit; tolerates salt in soil; supposedly rabbit and deer resistant

Other culture: if plants split in center and topple, divide; may need to divide every 3-4 years to keep compact; pinching back halfway in early summer will also keep compact

Propagation: division, cuttings

Sources: many online and specialty perennial nurseries

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