How to Grow Stonecrop — Sedum spectabile

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Stonecrop, Sedum spectabile and Sedum maximum atropurpureum, are fleshy-leafed, succulent plants. They bear tiny, star-shaped flowers grouped together into flat-topped clusters. Leaves are oval, rubbery textured, usually with a blunt end/

Sedum spectabile is the most familiar of stonecrops. It produces large, flattened pink flower heads in late summer. Ovate gray-green leaves are borne on unbranched green stems.

Sedum maximum atropurpureum has leaves and stems with a purplish cast. It bears clusters of pinkish red flowers in late summer.

Stonecrop blooms attract bees, pollinating insects, and butterflies. Spent flower heads left on the plant provide winter interest.

Get to know Stonecrop

  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Growing Zones and range: 3-10
  • Hardiness: Hardy to -35°F (-37°C)
  • Height and width: 12”- 18” tall; 18”- 24” wide
  • Flowers: Large, flattened pink flower head
  • Bloom time: Late summer and fall
  • Uses: Rock gardens, slopes, borders
  • Common name: Sedum, showy stonecrop
  • Botanical name: Sedum spectabile, S. maxium atropurpureum, S. x telephium
  • Family: Crassulaceae
  • Origin: Mountains of the Nothern Hemisphere

Where to plant Stonecrop

  • Plant stonecrop in full sun.
  • Stonecrop will grow in poor, dry soil including rocky or sandy soil.

Stonecrop uses and companions

  • Use Sedum as specimens in beds and borders.
  • Dried seed head can be used in floral arrangements.
  • Good garden companions for Stonecrop include Anthemis, Artemisia, Aster, Belamcanda chinensis, Dictamnus albus, Gazania, Helianthus, Linaria, Stachys lanata.
 Sedum 'Autumn Joy'
Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’

When to plant Stonecrop

  • Set stonecrop in the garden in spring after all danger of frost has passed.

Planting and spacing Stonecrop

  • Space stonecrop 18 to 24 inches apart.

How to water and feed Stonecrop

  • Stonecrop can grow with little water; mature plants are drought tolerant.

Sedum care

  • Cut stonecrop back in early summer for smaller plants and so plants do not flop over.
  • Divide stonecrop in fall to start new plants and colonies.

Sedum propagation

  • Increase Sedum from stem cuttings during late spring and early summer.

Stonecrop varieties to grow

  • Sedum maximum atropurpureum. Stems and leaves have a purplish gray cast early then mature maroon; grows to 2 feet tall; bears pinkish red blossoms in late summer. Cultivar ‘Ruby Glow’ has red steam and bluish green leaves; blossoms are pink.
  • Sedum spectabile. Produces elongated stems of sea green leaves to form a dome-shaped mound from 1 to 2 feet tall; stems bear broad flat-topped cluster os pink blossoms. Cultivars include ‘Brilliant’ bears flowers with bright pink petals; ‘Carmen’ bears dark mauve-pink flowers; ‘Iceberg’ has white flowers and pale green leaves.
  • Sedum x telephium ‘Autumn Joy’. Has rose-colored blossoms; deciduous, clump-forming perennial; gray-green leaves; grows to 24 inches tall and half as wide.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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