Sedums

Sedum, in my opinion, are amongst the most garden worthy perennials. I am referring to the big border types that tend to be the upright, not the little alpine sedums that form very short carpets.

From left to right: S. 'Matrona', S. 'Jose Aubergine', S. 'Bertram Anderson'

A tough, easy-to-grow bunch that blooms from late summer until the first frosts. The flowers, which range from white, yellow, pink and red, are tiny and star-like. As they sit so close to each other, a broad, gently domed head is formed that allow butterflies and bees to feed. The flower stems carry equally attractive leaves adding much to the plant, especially if they come in red shades. Fat and succulent, the leaves look as though they are filled with water. This is because they are designed to live in arid parts of the world, and although this makes Sedums ideal for dry gardens, they are just happy in any soil as long as it is not permanently wet. The one thing they do command, however, is as much sun as possible. 

From left to right: S. 'Xenox', S. 'Carl', S. 'Red Cauli'

Using Sedums in the garden

Sedums blend with almost all other perennials. These bold plants provide wonderful contrast when planted next to more fluffy plants such Aster or Sanguisorba. Others are quite short and are lovely at the front of a border. I don’t cut back taller varieties until spring as they leave a lovely skeleton of stems and flower heads that adds much to a winter garden.

Maintaining

Some taller varieties can collapse under the weight of the flowers. To prevent this make sure these are divided three years or so. To do this lift them with a fork when the weather allows between late October and March, and cut back any dead top growth, then slice into large sections with a long, sharp knife. Replant and water.