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Sedum Creeps In

Posted on 29 June 2011

Sedum Creeper, also known as crassulaceae, refers to a very large group of flowering plants more commonly referred to as stonecrops. Often found meandering throughout rock gardens, there are about 400 species of the low growing succulent leaf, or fleshy leaved group, from creeping plants to shrubs. Sedum is a perennial that grows back from the root every season.  Also, as a  ground cover,  sedum should be sufficiently dense to inhibit competition from weeds.  

Sedum has foliage that ranges in color from smoky blue to burgundy and small, star-shaped clusters of flowers. Sedum thrives in alkaline soils in full sun and the plants are hardy to most areas of the country. The seed heads of taller varieties hang on the plant through the winter and provide much-needed food for birds. The flowers of taller varieties can be used in dried flower bouquets. Sedum spreads as the seeds are dopped so keep this in mind when planning your landscape.

The leavy areas of sedum are often seen in red, golden and shades of green providing texture and color to gardens. Sedum or stonecrops are not susceptible to diseases and have very few pest problem. Even deer are prone to leaving most sedums unscathed. On the other hand, they are known for attracting butterflies and bees. Folklore suggests hanging living sedum wreaths on walls wards off lightning strikes. Sedum also has been recommended for medicinal uses as an energy booster.

Consider the following factors before selecting a ground cover for your specific landscape situation:

  • To maintain design balance, select lower-growing ground covers for smaller areas and taller ones for larger areas or steep slopes.
  • Consider the amount of sun versus shade and the exposure to winter sun and winds in selecting a ground cover.
  • Most ground covers will not tolerate excessive foot traffic. If foot traffic is anticipated, install a walkway through the area before planting the ground cover.  Sedum is great between rocks and spreads throughout nooks and crannies nicely as well as keeps most weeds at bay.

Other ground cover works well alongside sedum such as red chick and hens succulents, creeping  thyme, rug juniper and phlox varieties.  These do well in the slopes of zone 4 states, such as Colorado.  Many plant varieties serve gardeners well as ground cover. Each offers unique characteristics that are ideal for specific situations. Carpet you gardens with Purple Wintercreeper, add spires of color with Liriope or enjoy the trailing beauty of Bellflower, for example.  Ask your local garden center or landscape designer for suggestions and further information. 

Written by: Janine Buchal, June 2011

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