Fall Color - Sedum 'Autumn Joy'

Sedum 'Autumn Joy'
Sedum 'Autumn Joy' | Source

Sedum, a perennial offering wonderful color and texture in the garden, is often overlooked amongst the mums, asters and goldenrod of fall. A favorite sedum is the cultivar Autumn Joy which provides texture during spring and summer with its fleshy leaves and then bursts into bloom in the late summer or early autumn. Initially the blooms are pink, but as they age, they turn a deep red or rust color, a perfect fall color.

At Rutgers Gardens in NJ, sedum is grown on water conservation terraces where the only moisture they receive is from rainfall.

Sedum at Rutgers Gardens in NJ
Sedum at Rutgers Gardens in NJ | Source

Description

Sedums are a large family of perennials that are hardy from zone 3 through zone 11. Low growing varieties make excellent groundcovers, work well in rock gardens and are often used on green roofs. Taller varieties are staples in cottage gardens. They are also used in butterfly gardens because sedums are the nectar plants for several species of butterflies.

Sedums grow best in full sun although the shorter varieties can tolerate some shade. They should be planted in well-drained soil and not over-watered. Their fleshy leaves give us the clue that they are a drought tolerant plant. Nor should they be over-fertilized. They prefer less rich soils. Too much fertilizer will result in tall, leggy plants that will flop over. Depending on the variety, sedums bloom in the summer or fall in pinks, reds, yellows and whites. The flowers can be dried and used in floral arrangements.

Propagation

Sedums are easily grown from seeds. You can direst sow your seeds in the early spring in your sunny garden, thinning your seedlings to a spacing of 6 to 12 inches between plants. Propagation is more usually by division. Sedum can divided in the spring or the fall. Simply dig up your plants and gently pull the crowns apart, discarding any dead or diseased parts. Replant them maintaining the usual 6 to 12 inch spacing between plants. Sedum is also easy to grow from cuttings.

Autumn Joy

The cultivar Autumn Joy is just that; a joy in your fall garden. After dying to the ground in the fall, fresh green shoots make their appearance in the spring, eventually growing to a height of 3 feet. It's best to pinch the growing tips off, like you do to your chrysanthemums, to encourage bushiness which will result in stronger plants that are better able to support the tall flower stalks. The leaves are fleshy, reminiscent of succulents. Their serrated edges lend their own interest to your garden during the spring and summer.

In late summer, your Autumn Joy will begin to send up stems that will eventually develop green buds that have been described as looking like broccoli. Those buds will open into star shaped pink flowers, that will darken with age to a deep red or rust color. Left alone, the flowers will dry on the plants and can be left there to lend winter interest to your garden.

© 2014 Caren White

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Comments 16 comments

Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

I have loads of these and wow how they multiply. I thought they were stone hedge; is that just a type maybe? I do love them whatever and think they are gorgeous even without a flower. Up and sharing.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 2 years ago from California

I have just started growing this--and love it!


OldRoses profile image

OldRoses 2 years ago from Franklin Park, NJ Author

Jackie, you're right. They are also called "stonecrop". And I totally agree - they are beautiful even when they aren't blooming. Thank you for reading and commenting.


OldRoses profile image

OldRoses 2 years ago from Franklin Park, NJ Author

Audrey, I just started growing them too! I adore them and can't believe I didn't know about them sooner. Thank you for reading and commenting.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM

Very interesting and beautiful article. I have not known about sedums. They are certainly beautiful . I will have to look into planting some. It is great that they ate an autumn blooming flower. Thanks for introducing these beautiful flowers to me.


OldRoses profile image

OldRoses 2 years ago from Franklin Park, NJ Author

Suzette, you are so welcome. I hope that you plant them and enjoy them as much as I do. Thank you for reading and commenting.


heidithorne profile image

heidithorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

One of my favorite plants! Have a couple varieties in my yard. Thanks for sharing the great info and photos. Voteds up, beautiful and interesting!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Thanks for sharing this information. I love the name "Autumn Joy"! I want to make some changes in my garden next year. This plant sounds like it would be a good choice for me.


Aalia Khazi profile image

Aalia Khazi 2 years ago

That looks beautiful! I love the way trees and even flowers look during the fall!


OldRoses profile image

OldRoses 2 years ago from Franklin Park, NJ Author

Heidi, you are so lucky to have different varieties. I'm just discovering them. Thank you for reading and commenting.


OldRoses profile image

OldRoses 2 years ago from Franklin Park, NJ Author

Alicia, you won't regret it if you add Autumn Joy to your garden. Thank you for reading and commenting.


OldRoses profile image

OldRoses 2 years ago from Franklin Park, NJ Author

Aalia, I love fall color too! Thank you for reading and commenting.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

Hi, this looks amazing! I have never heard of them before, so I learned something new!


OldRoses profile image

OldRoses 2 years ago from Franklin Park, NJ Author

I'm so glad to hear that, Nell. I love learning new things. Thank you for reading and commenting.


boxxies profile image

boxxies 22 months ago

I love autumn joy and I have many in my backyard garden


OldRoses profile image

OldRoses 22 months ago from Franklin Park, NJ Author

Boxxies, your garden must be gorgeous in the fall! I envy you. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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