What is Stonecrop?

Dee S.
Dee S.

Stonecrop, or Sedum, is a perennial that will make a beautiful addition to any garden. Many gardeners prefer to use Stonecrop along the borders of their gardens or amongst rock gardens. It is easy to grow, especially in the North Temperate zones and is recommended for many people just beginning to garden. There are over 600 different varieties of Stonecrop, each with uniquely colored leaves and blooms.

Man mowing the grass
Man mowing the grass

One variety of Stonecrop, Sedum Autumn Joy, is identified by fleshy leaves that are silvery-green in color. The deep burgundy flowers typically go into full bloom in the fall. Interestingly, the blooms start as clusters of light pink blooms at the end of summer, and then as the temperature drops, the color of the blooms deepen to a dark, rich, red. The plants should be planted 15 – 18 inches (38 – 46 cm) apart and they will reach a height of 24 inches (61 cm). It grows best in full sun and will easily attract beautiful butterflies to its flowers.

White Stonecrop is an alpine flower that creates a thick pad of leaves and stems. The leaves are fleshy, green, and succulent. The blooms are white and grow in clusters. On bright, sunny days, the star-shaped flowers open to show off the red-colored anthers and long stamens. The flowers on the White Stonecrop usually bloom from June to August and the plant can reach heights of up to 8 inches (20 cm).

Goldenmoss Stonecrop, also known as Biting Stonecrop, Wallpepper or Sedum acre, makes a brightly colored ground cover. It grows well in poor soil, as well as in the crevices of brickwork, stonework, and rock gardens. Its leaves are smooth and succulent. The yellow flowers bloom in the spring and have five petals. If eaten, it has a peppery taste that can irritate the mucus membranes and may even cause respiratory paralysis.

Two-row Stonecrop, also called Caucasian Stonecrop or Dragon's Blood Sedum, offers a remarkable contrast between the summer and fall foliage. From June through August, it has pink-red flowers that appear so bright they are almost neon in color. Then, at other times, the leaves are a dark shade of red – nearly black - with deep burgundy blooms. As a succulent, it is tolerant of drought conditions and makes a great ground cover for sunny spots. It will only reach four to six inches (10 – 15 cm) in height, but is known for its sprawling mat and unique coloring.

Regardless of the variety, the showy clusters of the Stonecrop will bring months of beauty to any garden. Since most varieties require little to moderate water and can grow in full sum, it will practically care for itself. Every variety has something special to offer, and it is up to the gardener to pick his favorites.

Dee S.
Dee S.

Dee is a freelance writer based in Colorado. She has a B.A. in English Literature, as well as a law degree. Dee is especially interested in topics relating to medicine, legal issues, and home improvement, which are her specialty when contributing to wiseGEEK.

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