Pardon Me, Sedum 'Autumn Joy'

By Kerry Ann Mendez

The demand for low-maintenance, drought-tolerant plants that provide three (if not four seasons!) of interest has generated a surge of new Sedum cultivars that are taking center stage. Sedum 'Autumn Joy' is probably the most well-known Sedum, BUT its "king of the hill" status is about to be toppled.

Upright Sedum

Sedums can roughly be divided into three groups: creeping, mounding and upright. All do best in full sun and are extremely drought and heat tolerant. Sedum 'Autumn Joy' is in the upright group, which are usually 18" or taller with straight, vertical stems. Some striking varieties are 'Autumn Delight' (chartreuse leaves with blue-green margins), 'Autumn Fire', 'Night Embers', 'Carl' and 'Munstead Dark Red'. These are just a smattering of the many varieties we carry at Estabrook's.

Mounded Sedum

Mounded Sedums are just what the common name suggests - they are mounded and usually top out at 8". The SunSparklers series, introduced by Chris Hanson, is extremely popular. At last count there were six introduced varieties in this series. Estabrook's carries 'Dazzleberry', 'Firecracker', 'Blue Elf' and 'Lime Zinger'. We also have MANY other eye-catching choices in this group. Mounded Sedums are workhorses in rock gardens, on slopes and in the front of garden beds.

Creeping Sedum

Finally there are creeping Sedum. These low, ground-hugging plants will spread at different rates depending on the variety. Some of the best known cultivars are 'Angelina', 'Fuldaglut' and 'John Creech'. Some newer show-offs are 'Oktoberfest', 'Coral Carpet', 'Steel The Show' and 'Chocolate Ball'.

Estabrook's has plenty of Sedums to choose from but inventory can quickly dwindle, especially on the newer varieties, so shop early!

Kerry Ann Mendez
KERRY ANN MENDEZ is an award-winning garden educator, author and design consultant based in southern Maine. Her latest book is The Budget-Wise Gardener. You'll now find her at Estabrook's consulting on garden design, answering your gardening questions and much more.