(see' dum)

Common name: Stonecrop, Sedum, Live-forever

Family: Crassulaceae, Orpine

Height x width: 4-24" x 18-24"

Growth rate: moderate to fast

Foliage: varies with species, often opposite or ternate (photo Sedum 'Purple Emperor')

Flowers: cymes, color varies with species, summer

Hardiness: zones 3-8

Soil: well-drained, tolerate drought

Light: sun

Pests and Problems: crown rot (from wet soils), leaf blotch, leaf spot, stem rot, rusts, aphids, southern root-knot nematode (none serious problems)

Landscape habit, uses: shorter species for rock and wall gardens, hillsides, steep slopes, containers; taller species for large rock gardens, borders, specimens, containers

Other interest: genus name from Latin sedo meaning to sit, referring to manner in which plants "sit" on walls; common name refers to manner in which many species live on stony ledges; except for spurium native to Caucasus and ternatum native to eastern U.S., mostly native to Asia; some species (generally spectabile)  and cultivars have been reassigned by some authorities to the genus Hylotelephium, although Sedum is still commonly used.  Most the taller cultivars are hybrids of spectabile and telephium. 'Autumn Joy' is not only the most common cultivar in this genus but one of the most common perennials of the last 20 years.  It is correctly named 'Herbstfreude' in the Herbstfreude group of sedum, although 98% of the time you will see it listed as 'Autumn Joy', often with various incorrect applications of above species names.

Other culture: low maintenance

Propagation: seed (200,000 seeds per ounce), leaf or stem cuttings avoiding excess wetness, division of rock garden species


The following species and cultivars are perennial ones most commonly seen in U.S. commerce of the over 300. Those marked * are the most popular.
Species height flower color bloom time habit foliage
*acre 2-3" yellow spring evergreen mat pointed, ¼" long
aizoon 12-15" yellow summer upright flat, 2", toothed
album 4-6" white summer evergreen mat reddish, cylindrical 
dasyphyllum 1-4" white summer evergreen mat gray-green, opposite
kamtschaticum 4-9" yellow summer upright alternate 1-2"
lineare 8-10" yellow summer semi-erect linear, flat, whorled
middendorffianum 10-12" yellow summer upright narrow, V-shaped
reflexum 6-12" yellow summer evergreen mat cylindrical
sexangulare 4-6" yellow summer evergreen tufts cylindrical
spathulifolium 4-6" yellow late spring tight clumps terminal rosettes
spectabile 24" pink, white fall upright 2-3" opposite
spurium 2-6" white, rose summer evergreen mat 1" opposite, toothed
ternatum 2-6" white late spring evergreen mat terminal rosettes



The following are the most commonly seen in U.S. commerce.
Cultivar species flowers foliage, other
'Album Superbum' spurium white  
*'Autumn Joy':'Herbstfreude'

'Blue Spruce' reflexum yellow blue, needle-like
'Brilliant' spectabile deep pink  
'Bronze Carpet' spurium white bronzing may fade
'Cape Blanco' spathulifolium yellow compact, silver gray leaves
'Carmen' spectabile carmine pink  
'Coccineum' spurium scarlet  
*'Dragon's Blood' spurium dark red purplish bronze
'Fuldaglow' spurium burgundy maroon
'Herbstfreude' ('Autumn Joy')  hybrid pink 2-3in fls., fleshy, toothed; upright 2ft.
'Iceburg' spectabile white  
'Indian Chief' spectabile red, pink  
'John Creech' hybrid pink late spring, 2-3" tall
'Meteor' spectabile pink identical to 'Autumn Joy'
'Mohrchen' hybrid red, fall dark red; tends to flop
'Purple Emperor' hybrid pink-purple dark purple, 15"tall
*'Red Carpet' spurium red bronze
'Ruby Glow' hybrid dark ruby 12" tall, late summer
'Stardust' spectabile silvery pink 18" tall
*'Tricolor' spurium white pink, white, green leaf stripes
*'Variegatum' kamtschaticum orange yellow wide white margins; compact
*'Vera Jameson' hybrid pink, 2-4" bronze; 9-12" tall
*'Weihenstephaner Gold' kamtschaticum golden var. floriferum

('Purple Emperor' photos courtesy Missouri botanical gardens plantfinder)

©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS123 course.

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