GENUS: Sedum
S. kamtschaticum- 3 to 4 inches tall; orange or yellow blooms. S. sieboldii– silver-green leaves; pink flowers on 6- to 9-inch stems. S.spectabile– 18 inches tall; carmine red flowers. S. telephium ‘Autumn Joy’- rosy pink flowers on 18- to 24-inch stems.
FAMILY: Crassulaceae
TYPE: Perennial
DESCRIPTION: Sedums generally have thick, fleshy leaves and stems. The flower heads are composed of masses of tiny, star-shaped flowers. The most popular of the sedums are S. spectabile and S. telephium, both producing pink to dark red flowers.
CULTIVATION: Plant sedums in full sun and well-drained soil. Many of the low-growing varieties make excellent rock garden plants. Though they tolerate neglect and poor soil, sedums will repay you handsomely for a little tender loving care, which should include regular watering. When plants become crowded after four to five years, divide and replant them in early spring.
This genus compromises at least 250 species, which are native to many different areas. The genus is characterized by remarkable diversity and a wide range of environmental tolerances. There are sedums that are mat-forming, growing only a few inches tall, and there are some sedums that produce beautiful, large blossoms reaching 3 to 4 feet. Some are annuals, some perennials; some are grown only for their bloom, others just for their foliage.
The name sedum dates back to the time of the Romans, who grew this plant on their roofs to keep away lightning. The name comes from the Latin word seob, which means “to calm” or “allay.”