How to Grow Sedum

Need a drought-tolerant beauty for your garden?

Looking for a colorful perennial that's easy to grow and handles tough conditions? Check out sedum the next time you're plant shopping. Provided they have plenty of sun and good drainage, these succulent plants are extremely easy to grow.

All sedum bloom, but the main reason you'll want to grow these low-water plants is for their many leaf shapes and colors. You can find sedum with leaves the size of your pinky fingernail or as large as a spinach leaf, and in a huge range of colors, from chartreuse to pink, gray, blue, purple, and multi-colored. They're perfect picks for adding a punch of color to the garden.

How to Select the Right Sedum

There are two main types of sedum: upright and low-growing (often sprawling) types. Which one is right for you? That depends on what you want it to do in the garden. Taller varieties, such as `Autumn Joy,' `Matrona,' and ‘Frosty Morn' are staples of many perennial gardens. They play well with other perennials that thrive in full sun and well-draining soil, including coneflowers, black-eyed Susans, and spurge. Low-growing varieties, which often have the most vivid leaf colors, make excellent groundcovers, borders, and container plants.

When to Plant Sedum

Always plant sedum in the spring and summer when the plants are actively growing. Sedum are, as a group, more cold-hardy than many other types of succulents, but they will rot if they're not well-established before winter dampness sets in.

Close up of a Sedum

Where to Plant Sedum

Sedum don't require a lot of water and will develop their best colors if they get at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. They won't grow well in heavy, mucky, or high clay soils. If your yard has some high spots and some low spots, the higher spots that drain after a hard rain will be better for sedum, as low spots usually end up collecting water.

While some succulents will grow well indoors, sedum isn't one of them. They simply require too much direct sunlight.

How to Prepare the Soil for Sedum

For best results when growing sedum in-ground, take time to prepare the soil before planting. To do this, mix equal parts Miracle-Gro® All Purpose Garden Soil and existing soil. Not only will this lighten up your soil (sedum will thank you for it!), but it will also give your plants the nutrition they need for a strong start.

How to Plant Sedum

1.    Before you dig the holes, set out the plants and eyeball their spacing (the plant tag will tell you how far apart they should go). The shorter, sprawling types of sedum tend to need more room than the upright types.

2.    Once the spacing is right, dig a hole a little wider than, and just as deep as, the root ball.

3.    Drop a Miracle-Gro® Quick Start® Planting Tablet into the bottom of the hole to give your sedum a strong start and cover the tablet with a thin layer of soil.

4.    Mix the soil as noted above.

5.    Plant your sedum so the top of the root ball is level with the ground.

6.    Water well.

How to Water Sedum

As a rule of thumb, water sedum whenever the top 2 inches of soil are dry. Aim for the base of each plant and thoroughly soak the soil.


How to Grow Sedum in Containers

Sedum make great container plants! Start by choosing a pot that's no more than double the width of the plastic container the sedum came in. Unglazed clay or terra cotta containers dry out more quickly than glazed pottery or plastic pots, so if you're gardening where there's lots of rain, choose one of the faster-drying container types.

Fill ⅓ of the pot with fast-draining Miracle-Gro® Cactus, Palm & Citrus Potting Mix, drop in a Miracle-Gro® Quick Start® Planting Tablet, cover it with a bit of soil, place the plant, then add more mix until it reaches about 3/4 inch below the rim (so the soil doesn't wash out when you water the plants). Water thoroughly. Water again whenever the top 2 inches of soil are dry. If you're getting a lot of rain, bring the containers under cover until drier weather returns.

If desired, you can use a slightly larger pot and combine sedum with other plants that have similar water needs, such as lavender, oregano, rosemary, or spurge.

How to Feed Sedum

Sedum need a solid source of nutrition to keep growing strong and beautiful. A month after planting, feed them with Miracle-Gro® Shake ‘n Feed® All Purpose Plant Food for best growth. This plant food gets its magic from natural ingredients (including earthworm castings, feather meal, and kelp) and will feed your sedum for up to 3 months. Be sure to follow label directions!

How to Deadhead and Prune Sedum

In addition to being low-water plants, sedum are also fairly low-maintenance, as there's no need to spend a lot of time clipping and deadheading them. There is a little trick to extend the bloom period of taller types, though. When the plants are about 8 inches tall, cut a few back by ⅓ of their length. They'll bloom a bit later than the uncut plants leading to a longer season. (Though most folks grow sedum for the foliage, the flowers are a nice bonus.) Afterward, you can either remove the spent blooms to tidy up the plants or let the flowers stand for winter interest.

The point of the sprawling types is to sprawl, so the only time you'll need to prune them is if they outgrow the space you've allotted. If you throw the clipped ends out into the garden, they might re-root and give you even more sedum!