Sedum – fabulous for fall

Horticulture Hints

A great plant that has stood up to this summer’s drought and heat in Iowa, and now providing fall blooms for pollinators, is the versatile and easy-care sedum. Adaptable to most growing sites, sedum is an excellent choice for fall color in the garden, with low-watering needs and comes in a variety of sizes and colors.

The sedum plant family offers many choices, from miniature ground covers (great for fairy gardens) to the larger upright, clump types which can grow up to two feet. Sedum is a herbaceous perennial plant that will die back to the ground each winter, to readily emerge again in the spring. A member of the stonecrop family, sedum is a great plant choice as a survivalist for those locations with shallow or dry soil.

Although a tough plant, the need for proper drainage is essential, as too much moisture can cause root rot and subsequent death for any type of succulent plant. Full sun locations are the best for growing needs, but sedum will also do well with a bit of shade during the day. However, too much shade will cause sedum plants to stretch and become leggy, as they will be searching for the sun.

One of the most commonly planted upright, clump-forming type of sedum plants in Iowa gardens is ‘Autumn Joy’. This plant can be readily found at most garden centers and is also easily transplanted by division, if a plant becomes too large for its location.

A personal favorite of mine are the mini sedum plants, as you can plant a number of different varieties in a small space. But plant collectors beware – growing sedum can become very addictive, as there are so many different types to choose from!

Did you know? Early spring is the best time to divide ‘Autumn Joy’ and other type varieties of sedum. Divide plants just as the new growth begins to appear, and be sure that each division contains several shoots with a good portion of the root system.


Questions? Contact McCormick at for information or advice.