Sedum (Hylotelephium spectabile)

Autumn-flowering sedum is a charming succulent to grow to bring vibrant colour to gardens in autumn. This is an easy-to-grow perennial that produces large heads of vibrant pink or red flowers. One of the most commonly grown is ‘Autumn Joy’, which has bright pink flowers. The flowers of ‘Autumn Joy’ colour from pale to bright pink as they mature. Also eye-catching are dark leafed varieties, such as ‘Black Knight’, which have dark purple to almost black leaves and pink to red flowers.

Sedum needs nothing more than a sunny spot to thrive and can be grown in the ground or in a container. These colourful autumn plants range from 0.1cm to 0.5m high (depending on variety) they are particularly loved as they attract pollinators including honeybees and, in Tasmania, bumblebees.

Look for plants in flower in hardware and garden centres during autumn. Plants also grow easily from cuttings taken from spring to summer. Clumps can also be divided in late winter or early spring to spread to other parts of the garden.

Growing conditions

Aspect Sedums need a bright, sunny location with sun all day (at least six to eight hours) to encourage strong and vigorous growth and plenty of flowers. If grown in the shade, sedums become leggy as they reach for the sun, and they may lose their compact habit.

Soil Sedums grow in a wide range of soils but like most succulents need well-drained, conditions. If you have heavy clay consider adding some gritty sand to the mix. When preparing the soil for planting dig in well-rotted compost or manure and/or Seasol Super Compost. For a no-dig option apply Seasol Liquid Compost. Also add a controlled release fertiliser such as PowerFeed Controlled Release All Purpose including Natives. In areas with poor drainage, grow in raised garden beds (raised at least 30cm) or in large containers with a premium potting mix such as Seasol Advanced Potting mix. Remember to keep it well-watered.

Climate Sedums grow best in cool, temperate climates. They can also be grown in arid/semi-arid, sub-tropical and tropical.

How to grow and look after sedum for a beautiful flower display
How to grow and look after sedum for a beautiful flower display

General care

Watering Sedum will need to be watered while establishing, but once established will need very little water. However, water more frequently if plants are in hot, dry or exposed conditions or if they are growing in containers.

Feeding and mulching Sedums are not heavy feeders. Apply a slow-release fertilizer such as Seasol plus Nutrients All Purpose including Natives throughout the growing season especially when new growth appears in spring. Use organic mulch around the clump.

Pruning Cut back to ground level after flowering or in late winter before new growth appears. Sedum can also be grown from cuttings. Take a length about 10 to 15 cm long and remove the bottom two-thirds of the foliage. Place into a good cutting media such as Seasol Seed Raising & Cutting Potting mix. Keep the mix moist and roots should form in a couple of months.

Watch out Sedums usually grow without too much trouble if they are in full sun. Plants in too much shade may fail to grow strongly and may flower poorly and can develop mildew on their leaves. Watch for snails and slugs especially during rainy periods. Remove snails by hand or apply an organic snail bait.