By: Darcy Larum, Landscape Designer
Are you looking for a low maintenance groundcover for a sandy bed or rocky slope? Or maybe you’d like to soften an unyielding stone wall by tucking brightly colored, shallow rooting perennials into the cracks and crevices. Sedum ‘Angelina’ cultivars are excellent succulents for sites like these. Continue reading this article for tips on growing Angelina stonecrop.
Sedum ‘Angelina’ cultivars are scientifically known as Sedum reflexum or Sedum rupestre. They are native to rocky, mountainous slopes in Europe and Asia, and are hardy in U.S. hardiness zones 3-11. Also commonly called Angelina stonecrop or Angelina stone orpine, Angelina sedum plants are low growing, spreading plants that only get about 3-6 inches (7.5-15 cm.) tall, but can spread up to 2-3 feet (61-91.5 cm.) wide. They have small, shallow roots, and as they spread, they produce small roots from lateral stems that penetrate the small crevices in the rocky terrain, anchoring the plant.
Sedum ‘Angelina’ cultivars are known for their brightly colored chartreuse to yellow, needle-like foliage. This foliage is evergreen in warmer climates, but in cooler climates the foliage turns an orange to burgundy color in autumn and winter. Although they are mostly grown for their foliage color and texture, Angelina sedum plants do produce yellow, star-shaped flowers in mid- to late summer.
Angelina sedum plants will grow in full sun to part shade; however, too much shade can cause them to lose their bright yellowish foliage color. They will grow in almost any well-draining soil, but actually thrive best in sandy or gravely soils with low nutrients. Angelina cultivars cannot tolerate heavy clay or waterlogged sites.
In the right location, Angelina sedum plants will naturalize. To quickly fill in a site with this colorful, low maintenance groundcover, it is recommended that plants be spaced 12 inches (30.5 cm.) apart.
Like other sedums plants, once established, it will become drought resistant, making Angelina excellent for use in xeriscaped beds, rock gardens, sandy sites, firescaping, or spilling over stone walls or containers. However, container grown plants will need regular watering.
Rabbit and deer rarely bother Angelina sedum plants. Aside from regular waterings as they establish, there is virtually no other required plant care for Angelina.
Plants can be divided every few years. New sedum plants can be propagated by simply snipping off some tip cuttings and placing them where you want them to grow. Cutting can also be propagated in a trays or pots filled with sandy soil.
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There are numerous types of sedum, all of which have fleshy, succulent leaves. Low-growing varieties hug the ground and may reach just 2 inches in height, while tall varieties top out at 2 feet or more. Use the low-growing types as ground covers and in rock gardens tall varieties command attention in the perennial border with their dense foliage and large flower heads. Flower colors include red, pink, gold, yellow, and white, and plants bloom in summer to fall, depending on the species. Well-drained soil is essential to ward off fungal diseases, especially during wet summers.
Special features of sedums
Easy care/low maintenance
Choosing a site to grow sedums
Select a site with full sun to light shade and very well-drained soil.
Plant in spring, spacing plants 6 inches to 2 feet apart, depending on the variety. Prepare the garden bed by using a garden fork or tiller to loosen the soil to a depth of 12 to 15 inches, then mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost. Dig a hole twice the diameter of the pot the plant is in. Carefully remove the plant from its container and place it in the hole so the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface. Carefully fill in around the root ball and firm the soil gently. Water thoroughly.
Apply a thin layer of compost each spring, followed by a 2-inch layer of mulch to retain moisture and control weeds. Water plants during the summer if rainfall is less than 1 inch per week. After the first killing frost, cut stems back to an inch or two above soil line. Divide plants every 3 to 4 years as new growth begins in the spring, lifting plants and dividing them into clumps.
Sedum (Stonecrop) is an easy to grow group of succulents that look great in the summer and autumn garden. Here at Plant Delights Nursery, we have been growing sedum plants for over 25 years in our hot, humid, rainy Raleigh garden and so we thought we'd pass on our expert tips for growing sedum plants as well as the names of our favorite varieties of these popular succulent plants. The genus Sedum is a diverse group that includes upright tall sedums, mat-forming carpet sedums, insanely drought tolerant sedums and sedums that need to drink regularly, sun loving sedums and woodland garden sedums. So it is important to know your sedum before you plant. Some taxonomists have moved the tall sedums into the genus Hylotelephium, but tall or short, we still call 'em sedum.
For the garden, there are two main groups of sedums, tall sedums and creeping sedums. The tall sedums (mainly Sedum spectabile, Sedum telephium) have upright stems that grow from 1 to 3 feet tall depending on variety and conditions. New cultivars of tall sedums have been bred to be shorter which means they are less floppy and in better proportion to today's smaller gardens. The stems of tall sedum are clothed in fleshy succulent leaves along their length and are topped in summer or autumn with colorful flower clusters. Tall sedums have been traditionally grown for their symmetrical form and colorful flowers, but newer varieties of tall sedum also feature colorful leaves in shades of copper, dusky mauve and dark purple.
The creeping sedums (like Sedum ternatum, Sedum tetractinum and many others) are a wildly variable group with long narrow stems that grow along the ground and form mats of colorful fleshy foliage. Traditionally, creeping sedums are grown for their colorful foliage (blue, yellow, copper, marron and more!) or for their draping form which softens the edge of containers and the rock walls that they have been tucked into. Although not specifically grown for flowers, creeping sedums do produce attractive but short sprays of flowers.
There are also a few stonecrop plants that are intermediate between tall and creeping sedums (e.g., Sedum ussuriense) but these are fairly rare and available from time to time only at specialty plant nurseries like Plant Delights Nursery.
Tall sedums like Autumn Joy, Frosted Fire, and Dynomite (some of our favorites) are fairly drought tolerant but you will get the largest, most floriferous plants with regular (weekly) water while the plant is actively growing (spring to fall). In very dry conditions, the tall sedums will grow much more slowly, not fill out and branch as much, and may even get spindly.
The best stonecrops for super dry conditions are certain creeping sedums (e.g., Sedum tetractinum, S. scre, S. album, S. kamshaticum and many others). Be careful when selecting a creeping sedum for a dry site because some creeping sedums (e.g., Sedum ternatum) do not tolerate drought. Once the active growing season is over, you should greatly reduce watering to prevent winter rot. If you are not sure whether it is time to water a stonecrop, err on the dry side. when it doubt, give it drought.
No matter what type of stonecrop plant you buy you should plant it in well drained soil. Heavy wet soil is sure to rot both tall and creeping sedums alike. Their fondness for well-drained soil makes sedum plants great for raised beds, hillside slopes, sandy soil, rock gardens, crevice gardens, containers, and green roofs.
Most sedums like full or part sun (5 or more hours of direct sun per day). A few stonecrop species such as Sedum ternatum are woodland plants that like to grow on top of rocks in dappled shade. And some of the highly variegated sedums (like S. alboroseum 'Lemonade') with pale green, yellow and white foliage need dappled sunlight to prevent sunburn.
Sedums generally prefer lean conditions so go easy on the fertilizer. An organic compost applied is best. Chemical fertilizer can lead to stretching and flopping.
Creeping sedums generally do not need to be pruned unless they grow out of bounds. Tall sedums can be tip pruned in spring to control the height but this will delay the onset of flowering. Tall sedums die back to a ground-level rosette in the winter. Many gardeners prefer to leave the dried stems and flowers of tall sedums in place during autumn and early winter as even dead, they are attractive when frost coats them. However once they have been smashed down by snow or ice, they can be pruned or pulled.
Both tall and creeping sedums are excellent container plants provided that you use a decent potting mix that both retains water and drains it. Tall sedums look great in a patio container and creeping sedums are excellent spiller companions to tall container plants such as cactus and agave. Creeping sedums also look great tucked into the nooks and crannies of strawberry pots, pallet gardens, rock walls and wall gardens. And creeping sedums are perfect for hanging baskets too as their long stems drape down over the edge of the pot.
Tall sedums do not spread but when grown in mass plantings are beautiful and tough ground covers. Perfect for filling a hillside or fleshing out the middle of a perennial border. Creeping sedums will spread slowly but surely and make a very low ground cover for sunny spots. Perfect for containers, along the edge of walls, sidewalks, and for draping over rocks.
The low water requirements and spreading nature of creeping sedums make them perfect plants for wall gardens, crevice gardens and roof top gardens. Stonecrop is the go-to plant for roof gardens on industrial buildings like the 10.4 acre Ford truck plant in Dearborn Michigan or the 32000 sq ft. Toronto City Hall. And in Europe, there are literally millions of square feet of green roofs covered mostly with stonecrop plants. Most of these gardens are not irrigated and the sedum thrives only on rainfall.
Tall sedum cultivars like Autumn Joy are renowned for their wonderful fall flower show. When much of the garden is winding down, the autumn sedums are peaking. As fall morphs into winter tall sedums dry up and are still attractive with their frost-kissed stalks. The creeping sedums can also shine in winter as some, like Sedum tetractinum have leaves that turn red or purple in the winter.
Tall sedums produce excellent cut flowers. Once most of the florets are open, cut the stem, strip some of the leaves at the bottom and enjoy. Tall sedum cut flowers also dry well.
Creeping sedums are ridiculously easy to propagate. Pull up or cut some of the stems and lay them on top of some potting soil or stick them shallowly into the potting soil. Large clumps of tall sedums can be propagated via division or via stem cuttings too. Sedum stem cuttings should be 3 to 5 inches long and the leaves should be stripped from the bottom inch or so before being stuck.
As for the tall sedums, 'Dynomite' has excellent flower color and purple leaves which makes it a favorite. 'Frosted Fire' has russet flowers and variegated foliage. As for creeping sedums, we like the blue foliage of S. bithynicum. S. tetractinum has nice green leaves that turn reddish in the winter. Sedum spurium has smaller leaves and is quite cute. And if you like really tiny, try Sedum mexicanum particularly its excellent yellow-leaved cultivar 'Lemon Ball'.
So when you want to buy succulent plants online you should definitely consider using stonecrop. You'll be happy that you did. And when you are looking where to buy succulents, please consider Plant Delights Nursery. We'll be happy that you did. and so will you.
Sedums do not compete well with weeds. Especially keep creeping types well weeded throughout the summer or grasses can get established and turn your colorful sedum mat into a weed mat.
'Autumn Joy' Sedum produces delicate bright-pink flowers on large heads that age into a beautiful copper color as fall approaches. 'Autumn Joy' is a stout, spreading plant with succu.
Sedum Thunderhead has huge show stopping flower heads in a rich deep rose color that are supported by stout upright stems and complimented with grey-green foliage. This must have Sed.
Create a charismatic carpet of changing colors with 'Dragon's Blood' Sedum. Growing only 4 to 6 inches tall, the succulent green leaves are edged in dark cranberry and covered with v.
Dwarf Stonecrop Angelina is an evergreen mat of needle-like foliage in chartreuse with tips turning reddish-orange in fall. Drought tolerant. PPAF (Sedum reflexum).
SunSparkler® Blue Pearl Sedum adds drama to the garden with intense plum-blue foliage that holds color all year long. Late summer brings a stunning display of vibrant pink blooms sw.
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