With over 600 species available as perennials, annuals, and even herbs, the Sedum genus is known for its hardiness and variety. These succulents all have a similar shape: small rosettes that grow upward and outward via offshoots, with big, round leaves and bright, beautiful flowers. In the right environment, a fully mature Sedum can reach up to three feet tall. Popular members of the Sedum genus include the Sedum Major, Sedum Minor, Dragon’s Blood Sedum, and the Golden Moss Sedum.
Sedum in Landscaping
As a group with a wide range of available habitats, Sedum succulents make for excellent houseplants indoors but are also readily available as outdoor succulents. Creeping Sedums make for excellent groundcover, especially along walkways and under trees. You can also use Sedum to fill in spaces of dirt between flowers and stepping stones, as decoration around a pond, or hang them in a window box to add a splash of color to your house. If you plan on growing your Sedum outdoors, research which varieties do best in your agricultural zone.
Overall, members of the Sedum genus are incredibly hardy– they aren’t too picky about soil type, water level, or temperature. Still, there are a few general conditions to help them thrive:
Like all succulents, Sedums love bright sunlight. While most Sedums prefer direct light over partial shade, a few varieties don’t mind a little shade. Indoors, keep your Sedum near a south-facing window to receive a full day of bright sun. Outdoors, consider planting your Sedum somewhere it’ll get plenty of sun throughout the day with a little shade reprieve, need be. If you live somewhere particularly warm and dry, consider keeping your Sedum out of direct light.
Sedums aren’t too picky about soil, as long as it’s well-draining, even if the soil is nutrient-poor. We recommend using a soil mixture that consists of a modified cactus mix. Add peat and perlite to increase drainage and some compost to fill your soil with extra nutrients.
For water, you won’t need to worry much– just water your Sedum once a week, whenever the soil feels completely dry to the touch. When you water your Sedum, use a single-hole watering can or bottle to get directly to the roots. If your Sedum is potted, you can also use the bottom-watering method to avoid getting water on the leaves. Always let any excess water drain thoroughly before putting your Sedum away!
4. Temperature and Humidity
As we’ve mentioned before, this massive genus is found all around the world. Growing anywhere between USDA agricultural zones 3-10, a Sedum’s ideal habitat depends on its species. If you plan on growing your Sedum succulent outdoors, look into the succulent’s specific temperature and humidity requirements to keep it healthy. Indoors, just about every Sedum works well in temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, with a low humidity of around 40%.
Sedums are low-maintenance and can survive with low nutrient levels in their soil. Typically, you won’t need to fertilize your Sedum at all, but if you want to encourage flowering, add a little compost to your Sedum’s soil during the growing season to give it a tiny nutrient boost.
Potting and Repotting
If you’re growing a Sedum in a pot, you’ll need to repot it every so often, so it has plenty of space to grow. When you repot, do so during the spring or summer growing season to ensure it has plenty of nutrients and energy to recover from any potential damage that may occur during repotting. When choosing your pot, go with something at least 10% larger than your previous pot, and make sure the pot has a drainage hole and is made of a porous material like concrete, terracotta, or ceramic to improve drainage.
Sedums bloom in the spring and summer when their growing season has peaked, and they’ve received plenty of sunlight. This massive genus of succulents contains monocarpic and polycarpic varieties, so consider looking into whether or not flowers are a good sign for your particular plant.
To encourage blooming in polycarpic Sedums, increase the amount of light they receive during the summer. You can also add a little compost to your soil and trim away any dead growths so the plant can redirect its energy to bloom. After the blooming period, prune away any flower stalks to keep your Sedum from becoming top-heavy.
Pruning and Propagation
Sedums are creeping plants and thus reproduce via offshoots. Typically, you won’t need to prune a Sedum unless it’s spreading too much. To prune your Sedum, find the stem where the offshoot connects to your mother plant and cut it off using a pair of clean, sharp scissors. If you’d like to propagate your Sedum, wait a little longer before you prune an offshoot, so the baby plant just begins to take root. Once roots have started to sprout from the offshoot, cut it from the mother plant and place it in its own little pot! When you prune or propagate, be sure to do so during the growing season for the best results.
Sedums go dormant during the winter when temperatures drop below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. While some Sedums can handle freezing temperatures without any difficulties, others are not frost-tolerant and will die when exposed to the cold– always look into your specific Sedum’s temperature needs before planting it outdoors.
While dormant, your Sedum will slow its growth to a near halt and may appear dead. However, these hardy little plants are very much alive. During the dormant period, try not to damage your Sedum and cut back on how much water you give it. Typically, a dormant Sedum will only need half as much water as a growing one.
Common Pests and Complications
Sedum succulents are susceptible to all succulent pests, including aphids, mealybugs, scale, and spider mites. However, the biggest risk posed to your Sedum is overwatering. An overwatered Sedum may contract root rot or mold infections and become a breeding ground for fungal gnats. Always ensure your Sedum is planted in well-draining soil to prevent root rot.
Legginess (or etiolation) is another common problem that may happen with Sedums regularly. Typically, legginess is caused by a lack of sunlight, and while poor sun can make your Sedum grow thin, your soil may also play a role. Since these succulents don’t need much in terms of nutrients, if your soil is too mineral-rich, the plant may grow thin and leggy too.
Sedum is a massive genus that encompasses over 600 species, meaning there’s bound to be some variation in toxicity. Generally, Sedum is not toxic to animals or people, but they do taste bitter. However, each variety is different. Before you bring a new plant home, check its toxicity with the ASPCA’s toxic plants guide.