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24 January 2013

Sedum Summary

Sedums, common name stonecrop, are mostly evergreen or semi evergreen fleshy or succulent perennials. There is a wide range of species giving a great variety of flowering colours and times. Sedums range from low growing types suitable for rockeries to others which may exceed 0.5m in height with a similar spread. I have some of the latter at the front of a mixed border.

Sedums are very easy to grow and provide colour from late summer to early autumn. They are best planted in a sunny position in moderately fertile, well-drained, neutral to slightly alkaline soil. They are drought-tolerant with the advantage of being greatly attractive to bees, hover flies and butterflies, especially when they first start to flower and full of nectar.

Sedums benefit from being divided every three or four years, and this should be done in the spring. The process is as follows:-

1) Dig up the plant, making sure you include the entire root-ball structure, and place it in a shady location to prevent it from drying out while you are dividing it.

2) Look for sections that can be easily separated into new plants, then pull or cut the roots apart to divide the plant. Each section needs a root structure that includes two growth eyes and fibrous feeder roots.

3) Prepare the new planting location by mixing organic compost into the soil to increase the soil nutrient value and moisture retention.

4) Replant the divided sedum by digging a hole that is slightly wider than the new root-ball. Ensure that the new plants are at the same depth as they were previously.

5) Reducing the stems to half their length will encourage the plant to branch out and thicken.

6) Water your new plants immediately after planting and continue to water the plant for two to three weeks.

Sedums can also be propagated by taking softwood cuttings of non-flowering shoots in early summer.

A new market for sedums has developed recently with the advent of green roofs, with sedums forming one of the main components. You can even give your garden shed a green roof if you have one with a pent roof, though it may be more of a problem if you have an apex roof.

If you develop an interest in sedum growing you may wish to join the Sedum Society, the main aim of which is to preserve as many species and hybrids of the genus Sedum and related genera as possible.
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