Guide to Growing Sedum – Selection, Planting, and Care

Brilliant yellow flowers of sedum kamtschaticum surrounded by rock edging.
My Garden Life
May 27, 2024
Table of Contents

Growing sedum (also known as stonecrop) is easy and rewarding. Like many succulents, sedums are strong and undemanding. However, sedums have so much more to offer: they grow well indoors and outdoors, in pots or in the ground, and they’re useful as a drought-tolerant groundcover. Plus, sedum flowers are available in a diverse range of flower colors and leaf forms.

Choosing a Sedum Variety

The Sedum genus contains over 450 species. While a few varieties are particularly popular, such as ‘Angelina’ and ‘Autumn Joy,’ you’re likely to find a different selection in each garden center you visit. The important distinction to be aware of is that there are two types of sedums: creeping and upright.

Creeping sedums grow low to the ground and spread to form a groundcover mat. Upright sedums grow taller, form tight foliage clumps, and don’t spread. Which type of sedum plants you choose to grow will depend on how you want to use them. The following lists of sedums are some of the most popular and readily available. There are lots of great options for upright and creeping types and, if you have the space, you can create a beautiful and interesting design using nothing but different sedum plants.

A creeping sedum with pink flowers in a rock garden

Upright Sedums

Upright sedums, also known as tall sedums, grow to heights of 1–3 ft. (0.3–0.9 m), forming large broccoli-like flower heads in midsummer. Unlike their creeping cousins, upright sedums don’t spread. However, they can be planted in a tight group to form a mass. These varieties are perfect for providing interest and color around landscape borders. They also grow well in pots in sunny locations both indoors and outdoors.

Stonecrop, Upright Sedum ‘Carl’ (Sedum hybrid)

Stonecrop, Upright Sedum ‘Carl’ (Sedum hybrid)

Vibrant pink flower clusters attract butterflies to the garden. Handsome foliage looks great throughout the season. Very popular and dependable. One of the best late-flowering perennials. Combines beautifully with small ornamental grasses. A terrific plant for butterfly gardens.
Stonecrop, Upright Sedum ‘Iceberg’ (Sedum spectabile)

Stonecrop, Upright Sedum ‘Iceberg’ (Sedum spectabile)

An upright growing Sedum species with tight clusters of starry blooms. Before maturing in late summer the flower clusters somewhat resemble broccoli heads! Their scalloped edged-leaves look great throughout the season and the burst of autumn-greeting blooms makes them worthy garden selections. A terrific plant for butterfly gardens.
Stonecrop, Upright Sedum ‘Pink Bomb’ (Sedum spectabile)

Stonecrop, Upright Sedum ‘Pink Bomb’ (Sedum spectabile)

A fantastic, compact stonecrop variety with sturdy stems that won’t droop under the weight of dense flower clusters. Terrific for hot, dry locations and a refreshing burst of color in late summer when many plants start looking tired. A magnet for butterflies and other beneficial insects. A classic plant for rock gardens! Combines beautifully with small ornamental grasses.
Stonecrop, Upright Sedum ‘Neon’ (Sedum spectabile)

Stonecrop, Upright Sedum ‘Neon’ (Sedum spectabile)

‘Neon’ Stonecrop lights up the late summer landscape with its vivid hot pink flower clusters just around the time many other garden flowers are starting to look tired. The mound of gray-green, succulent foliage requires almost no care to keep looking great throughout the season. The flowers are sure to attract butterflies and other pollinators to the garden.
Stonecrop, Groundcover Sedum ‘Red Cauli’ (Sedum telephium)

Stonecrop, Groundcover Sedum ‘Red Cauli’ (Sedum telephium)

A clump-forming, upright selection. Produces reddish green foliage and dark purple-red flowers. One of the least demanding, most satisfying perennials in the garden. Expect lots of butterflies and bees to visit when the plants are in flower! Looks great filling in between rocks or other perennial plants. Grows well in a container.
Stonecrop, Upright Sedum ‘T Rex’ (Sedum hybrid)

Stonecrop, Upright Sedum ‘T Rex’ (Sedum hybrid)

One of the sturdiest stonecrops available. The plant forms a lush clump of foliage that holds its shape even when carrying the weight of the dense flower clusters. Deeply serrated leaves make this an attractive plant even when not in bloom. Displays outstanding heat and drought tolerance and the flowers are a magnet for butterflies.
Stonecrop, Upright Sedum ‘Elsies Gold’ (Sedum spectabile)

Stonecrop, Upright Sedum ‘Elsies Gold’ (Sedum spectabile)

‘Elsies Gold’ sedum is an easy to grow, dependable plant. Soft pink flowers and variegated foliage are a perfect combination. The contrasting colors paired along with the plant’s uniform, compact habit make this beauty a must have! U.S. Plant Patent #20368.
Stonecrop, Upright Sedum ‘Brilliant’ (Sedum spectabile)

Stonecrop, Upright Sedum ‘Brilliant’ (Sedum spectabile)

‘Brilliant’ sedum is one of the best late-flowering perennials. Succulent gray-green foliage looks great throughout the season. Bright rose, flat-topped flower clusters appear in late summer. Attracts butterflies and other pollinating insects.
Stonecrop, Upright Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Sedum hybrid)

Stonecrop, Upright Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Sedum hybrid)

‘Autumn Joy’ sedum is great for adding a burst of color to the late season landscape. Bronze-pink flowers attract butterflies to the garden. Handsome foliage looks great throughout the season. Very popular and dependable.

Creeping Sedums

Creeping sedums have thick, colorful waxy leaves and small star-shaped flowers. Most grow only 5–6 inches (12–15 cm) tall but spread to fill a space. Use creeping sedum as a groundcover in border beds, between steppingstones, or to fill curbside strips. Creeping sedums are also attractive as low-maintenance potted succulents where the foliage is free to cascade down the side of the pot.

Note that when growing sedums the creeping types spread to form dense mats, but it’s easily removed and doesn’t usually exceed its bed boundaries. However, stringy stonecrop (Sedum sarmentosum) is invasive in some areas and should be avoided near sensitive habitats.

Stonecrop ‘Ogon’ (Sedum makinoi)

Stonecrop ‘Ogon’ (Sedum makinoi)

‘Ogon’ stonecrop forms a beautiful mat of succulent, golden-green foliage.  Clusters of yellow flowers in the summer will attract butterflies and a wide variety of pollen-seeking insects. One of the least demanding, most satisfying perennials in the garden. A classic plant for rock gardens!
Stonecrop, Groundcover Sedum ‘Weihenstephaner Gold’ (Sedum kamtschaticum)

Stonecrop, Groundcover Sedum ‘Weihenstephaner Gold’ (Sedum kamtschaticum)

‘Weihenstephaner Gold’ is a lovely and durable creeping sedum. The scalloped, triangular green leaves form a loose evergreen mat of foliage. Small clusters of canary yellow flowers appear right through summer. One of the most popular sedums for groundcover or a rock garden because this variety is so undemanding. 
Creeping Stonecrop, Two Row Stonecrop ‘Summer Glory’ (Sedum spurium)

Creeping Stonecrop, Two Row Stonecrop ‘Summer Glory’ (Sedum spurium)

‘Summer Glory’ stonecrop forms a mat of succulent green foliage. The clusters of pink flowers that appear in summer are a magnet for butterflies and bees seeking pollen and nectar. A good selection for hot, dry locations.
Creeping Stonecrop, Two Row Stonecrop ‘John Creech’ (Sedum spurium)

Creeping Stonecrop, Two Row Stonecrop ‘John Creech’ (Sedum spurium)

‘John Creech’ stonecrop offers a beautiful combination of succulent, scallop-edged foliage and vibrant pink flowers to bring color and interest to challenging hot, dry locations. The dense foliage is great for keeping weeds under control. This sedum is named after former U.S. National Arboretum Director, Dr. John Creech, who discovered this beautiful plant in Siberia.
Stonecrop ‘Purple Form’ (Sedum hispanicum)

Stonecrop ‘Purple Form’ (Sedum hispanicum)

‘Purple Form’ stonecrop offers multi-season interest in the landscape. The tight gray-blue foliage changes to deep blue and then to purple when cold. Produces clusters of pink star-shaped blooms in summer. The blooms attract butterflies and other pollinating insects to the garden.
White Stonecrop ‘Coral Carpet’ (Sedum album)

White Stonecrop ‘Coral Carpet’ (Sedum album)

‘Coral Carpet’ sedum produces a dense mat of purplish-grey, succulent foliage. The new growth is coral colored before it matures. Small white to soft-pink flowers appear in summer that will attract lots of butterflies and insects seeking pollen and nectar. One of the least demanding, most satisfying perennials in the garden.
Creeping Stonecrop, Two Row Stonecrop ‘Dragon’s Blood’ (Sedum spurium)

Creeping Stonecrop, Two Row Stonecrop ‘Dragon’s Blood’ (Sedum spurium)

‘Dragon’s Blood’ stonecrop is a creeping type of sedum that makes a great groundcover for hot, sunny locations. The foliage emerges a deep bronze-red and may turn more green in the summer. Red flowers appear in summer that will lure lots of butterflies and bees to your garden. This species can actually tolerate a bit of shade, but like all sedum, will thrive best in full sun.
Stonecrop, Stone Orpine ‘Angelina’ (Sedum rupestre)

Stonecrop, Stone Orpine ‘Angelina’ (Sedum rupestre)

‘Angelina’ produces a glowing golden mat of narrow, needle-like foliage. A great solution for bringing color to difficult hot, dry locations. Produces charming clusters of star-shaped flowers in summer. Angelina thrives among rocks and gritty soil. Also known as Sedum reflexum.
Stonecrop, Two Row Sedum ‘Rosy Glow’ (Sedum hybrid)

Stonecrop, Two Row Sedum ‘Rosy Glow’ (Sedum hybrid)

‘Rosy Glow’ is an attractive, low-growing sedum that produces succulent blue-green foliage topped topped by rich ruby-red flowers in summer. The blooms appear over a long season from late summer into fall and are a favorite source of pollen and nectar for bees and butterflies at a time when many other flowers are done blooming for the season.

Planting and Caring for Sedums

Light and Temperature for Sedum Plants

Sedums can be grown throughout most of North America, although some varieties are better suited for cooler or warmer regions. Sedums all thrive in full sun but creeping varieties tend to be more shade-tolerant.

Soil for Growing Sedums

Plant sedums in sunny areas with well-draining soil. Spring is the best time to plant, after the last frost but before the summer heat. As long as you can provide a sunny location, growing sedums offers one of the most carefree choices in perennial plants.

Watering Sedum Plants

New sedums should be watered regularly. Established sedums usually only require water during extended dry spells or particularly hot weather.

Fertilizing Sedum

Sedums require little or no fertilizer. In fact, they grow well in nutrient-poor soil, while soil that’s too rich can be harmful. Likewise, heavy pruning isn’t necessary or helpful. Simply remove dead flowers in spring or summer to tidy up the plant’s appearance and stimulate new growth.

Sedum Winter Care

Creeping sedums don’t require any attention in the fall or winter. Upright sedums will die back in the fall and the stems should be cut back to just above the crown of the plant any time before the new growth emerges in the spring.  

A bright border of pink upright sedum in full flower with green shrubs in the background.

Propagating Sedum Plants

Sedums are one of the easiest perennial plants to propagate. Mature plants can be divided into multiple plants by cutting them apart at the crown. Each section can then be planted to grow a new plant. Sedums can also be rooted from stem cuttings planted directly into soil or started in water. In either case, remove any flowerheads so that growth is focused on root development.

A woman wearing garden gloves is dividing a clump of upright sedum.

It is even possible to root sedum from a single leaf. In this case you remove a healthy leaf and allow the cut end to dry for a couple of days (to minimize chance of rot) then place the cut end into soil. Water to keep the soil consistently moist, but not soggy, and roots should develop after a couple of weeks, followed eventually by a small plant sprout.

Sedum Plants Attract Pollinators

Whether you grow creeping or tall sedums you can expect a wide range of pollinators to visit the flowers. Although the starry blooms of sedum plants are small, they form dense flower clusters that are a rich source of pollen and nectar for bees, butterflies, and a multitude of other insects. When blooming season is at its peak, the frenzy of pollinator activity around the flowers brings a wonderful added dimension to the summer garden that is a joy to observe.

Growing sedum will attract pollinators. Close up of a honeybee gathering pollen from a brilliant pink cluster of sedum flowers.

Explore More Groundcover Options for Your Garden

If you are growing sedums as a groundcover, creeping sedums are an excellent choice. The plants spread easily, require minimal care, and add ground-level beauty to a space. If you’re looking for more groundcover options with similar characteristics, consider creeping thyme. Learn all about this fragrant evergreen herb in our guide Tips for Growing Creeping Thyme Plants.

Creeping thyme with purple flowers surrounds a large rock.

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