Are you looking for a low-maintenance ground cover that can thrive in hot, dry areas?
Look no further than sedum, also known as stonecrop. These fleshy succulent plants are not only heat tolerant and drought resistant, but they also come in a variety of interesting shades of green.
With their shallow root systems and easy propagation, sedums are ideal for covering large areas of ground. But when is the best time to plant them?
In this article, we’ll explore the optimal planting times and conditions for sedum ground cover.
When To Plant Sedum Ground Cover
The best time to plant sedum ground cover is in the spring or summer when the plants are actively growing. This allows them to establish themselves before the winter dampness sets in, which can cause them to rot if they are not well-established.
Sedum can be bought in plugs or pots and transplanted into the garden. The ideal time to plant sedum is in the spring, after the threat of frost has passed but before the heat of summer kicks in. If you’re planting sedum seeds, do so in early spring in well-drained, average to rich soil.
When planting sedum, make sure to choose a location that receives full to part sun. Taller hybrids need full sun to flower their best, while creeping types will grow fine in part shade. Sedums prefer a very well-drained soil with a neutral to slightly alkaline pH. Wet, heavy clay can lead to root and stem rot.
Space tall-growing sedums 1 to 2 feet apart and low-growing, creeping sedums 6 to 12 inches apart, depending on the variety and how quickly you want it to fill in an area.
After planting, sedums need little watering as they are drought tolerant. If you’re growing them in a pot, incorporate plenty of grit into the compost to ensure good drainage.
Understanding Sedum Ground Cover
Sedum ground cover is a popular choice for gardeners who want an easy-to-maintain plant that offers year-round interest. Sedums are succulent plants that come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, making them ideal for ground cover. They are known for their fleshy foliage and star-shaped flowers that often change color throughout their bloom time.
Sedum ground cover is a low-growing variety that spreads along the ground, reaching only a few inches (or less) in height. This makes them perfect for use as a ground cover along paths, in rock gardens, or cascading down a stone wall. They are also ideal for planting in areas where other plants struggle to grow, such as cracks in garden walls or walkways.
One of the great things about sedum ground cover is that it requires very little maintenance. Once established, sedums require virtually no supplemental water to thrive, even in the driest circumstances. They are also resistant to most diseases and pests, making them an easy choice for gardeners who don’t want to spend a lot of time tending to their plants.
When planting sedum ground cover, it’s important to choose a location that receives full to part sun. Sedums prefer a very well-drained soil with a neutral to slightly alkaline pH. Wet, heavy clay can lead to root and stem rot. Space low-growing sedums 6 to 12 inches apart, depending on the variety and how quickly you want it to fill in an area.
Choosing The Right Sedum Variety
When choosing a sedum variety for ground cover, it’s important to consider the growth habit you want. There are two main groups of sedums for the garden: tall sedums and creeping sedums.
Tall sedums, such as Sedum spectabile and Sedum telephium, have upright stems that grow from 1 to 3 feet tall depending on the variety and conditions. These sedums have been traditionally grown for their symmetrical form and colorful flowers, but newer varieties also feature colorful leaves in shades of copper, dusky mauve, and dark purple. If you’re looking to add height and structure to your garden, tall sedums are an excellent choice.
Creeping sedums, on the other hand, are low-growing and make excellent ground covers. They are perfect for borders, containers, and filling in gaps in your garden. Creeping sedums come in a wide range of leaf shapes and colors, from chartreuse to pink, gray, blue, purple, and multi-colored. They are ideal for adding a punch of color to your garden.
When selecting a creeping sedum variety for ground cover, consider the size of the leaves and the rate at which it spreads. Some varieties have leaves the size of your pinky fingernail while others have leaves as large as a spinach leaf. Depending on the variety, creeping sedums can spread quickly or slowly. Be sure to choose a variety that fits your needs and the size of the area you want to cover.
Best Time To Plant Sedum Ground Cover
The best time to plant sedum ground cover is during the spring or summer months. This is when the sedum plants are actively growing and can establish themselves before the winter dampness sets in. Planting sedum during this time will help prevent them from rotting or becoming damaged.
When planting sedum ground cover, it’s important to choose a location that receives full to part sun. Taller hybrids need full sun to flower their best, while creeping types will grow fine in part shade. Sedums prefer a very well-drained soil with a neutral to slightly alkaline pH. Wet, heavy clay can lead to root and stem rot.
Spacing is also important when planting sedum ground cover. Tall-growing sedums should be spaced 1 to 2 feet apart, while low-growing, creeping sedums should be spaced 6 to 12 inches apart, depending on the variety and how quickly you want it to fill in an area.
It’s important to note that after planting, sedums require little watering as they are drought tolerant. If you’re growing them in a pot, make sure to incorporate plenty of grit into the compost to ensure good drainage.
Preparing The Soil For Sedum Planting
To ensure the best results when planting sedum, it’s important to prepare the soil properly. Sedums prefer a very well-drained soil with a neutral to slightly alkaline pH. Heavy, wet clay soils can lead to root and stem rot, so it’s important to lighten up the soil and improve drainage.
One way to do this is to mix equal parts of Miracle-Gro® All Purpose Garden Soil and existing soil. This not only lightens up the soil, but also provides the plants with the necessary nutrients for a strong start.
Before planting, loosen the soil to a depth of around 30-40cm (12-15”) and mix in a generous amount of compost. This will help improve the soil structure and provide additional nutrients for the plants. It is recommended that sedum be planted during the spring, to an appropriate depth and width of the root, spacing plants 15cm (6”) apart, although this will differ depending on the variety. Larger varieties will need more space between each companion plant.
After planting, water thoroughly to settle the soil into place. Sedums need little watering as they are drought tolerant, but make sure to keep an eye on them during hot, dry spells and water if necessary. If growing sedums in a pot, make sure to incorporate plenty of grit into the compost to ensure good drainage.
Planting And Caring For Sedum Ground Cover
Sedum ground cover is a great option for those looking for a low-maintenance and visually appealing addition to their garden. Here are some tips for planting and caring for sedum ground cover:
1. Choose a sunny spot: Sedum ground cover prefers a location that receives at least 6 hours of full sun a day. Make sure to select a spot that is not shaded by trees or other structures.
2. Prepare the soil: Loosen the soil in the planting area and add sand, grit or perlite if the native soil is poorly draining. Sedums like a very well-drained soil with a neutral to slightly alkaline pH.
3. Planting: Dig a hole deep enough so that the top of the root ball is level with the surface of the soil, then place the plant in the hole and fill in around it. Be careful not to bury the stems of upright sedum, as this can lead to rot.
4. Spacing: Space low-growing, creeping sedums 6 to 12 inches apart, depending on the variety and how quickly you want it to fill in an area.
5. Watering: Sedums store water in their fleshy leaves, which makes them more resistant to drought and dry conditions. Provide supplemental water only in prolonged dry spells or extreme heat. Too much water can cause rot, mushy foliage or disease.
6. Fertilizing: Sedums do not need supplemental fertilizer. Soil that is too rich can cause weak, leggy growth.
7. Pruning: Groundcover types can be trimmed as needed if they outgrow their space.
By following these tips, you can enjoy a beautiful and low-maintenance sedum ground cover in your garden.
Common Sedum Ground Cover Problems And Solutions
While sedum ground cover is generally easy to care for, there are some common problems that gardeners may encounter. Here are some solutions to these problems:
1. Crown Rot: Crown rot is caused by too much moisture around the roots, which leads to the decay of the crown and stem. To prevent this, make sure to plant sedum in well-drained soil and avoid overwatering. If you notice signs of crown rot, such as wilting or yellowing leaves, remove the affected plant and improve soil drainage.
2. Powdery Mildew: Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that appears as a white powdery coating on the leaves. It can be caused by overcrowding and poor air circulation. To prevent powdery mildew, space sedum plants apart and avoid planting them too close to other perennials. If you notice signs of powdery mildew, remove the affected leaves and improve air circulation.
3. Anthracnose and Blight: These diseases can cause the crown and stems of sedum plants to rot. They are often caused by wet, rich soils. To prevent anthracnose and blight, make sure to plant sedum in well-drained soil and avoid over-fertilizing. If you notice signs of these diseases, remove the affected plant and cultivate the soil to help it dry out.
4. Pests: Sedums are relatively pest-free, but they can be susceptible to aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites. To prevent these pests, inspect plants regularly and remove any infested leaves or stems. You can also use insecticidal soap or neem oil to control infestations.
By following these tips, you can keep your sedum ground cover healthy and thriving. Remember to choose a well-drained location with plenty of sunlight, and avoid overwatering or over-fertilizing your plants. With proper care, sedum ground cover can provide a beautiful and low-maintenance addition to your garden.