Photo courtesy of Thomas J. Story
Sedum telephium

Crassulaceae Cacti and succulents, Perennials

Sunset  – January 27, 2015

Mostly groundcover-scale succulents that grow nicely in the spaces between rocks (thus “stonecrop”), sedums are native to many parts of the world. Some are quite hardy to cold, others fairly tender; some are tiny and trailing, others much larger and upright. Fleshy leaves are evergreen unless otherwise noted, but highly variable in size, shape, and color. Typically small, star-shaped flowers, sometimes brightly colored, are borne in fairly large clusters.

Smaller sedums are useful in rock gardens, as ground- or bank covers, and in small areas where an unusual texture is needed. Some are prized by collectors of succulents, who grow them in pots, dish gardens, or miniature gardens. Larger types are good in borders or pots. Most sedums are easy to propagate by stem cuttings; even detached leaves will root and form new plants. Soft and easily crushed, they will not take foot traffic, but they are otherwise tough, low-maintenance plants. 

Sedum telephium

Native from Europe eastward to Japan. Grows to 2 ft. tall and 1–2 ft. wide.  Resembles S. spectabile but has gray-green, somewhat narrower leaves. Long-lasting floral display begins in late summer and fall; blossom clusters open purplish pink and age to brownish maroon. Plant dies to the ground in winter. Plant in full sun (stems tend to flop in shaded sites). Regular to moderate water.