Ultimate Guide: How To Care For Sedum (Stonecrop) Plant

Sedum, or stonecrop plant (Sedum spectabile), is a low-maintenance flowering houseplant that works well as a ground cover in outdoor landscapes. Sedum has thick triangular leaves and clusters of tiny starburst flowers to add texture, color and beauty to a garden, with minimal work on your part.
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Sedum is a herbaceous perennial succulent found in many parts of the world and also thrives indoors Sedum is a plant that has an abundance of green or red flowers. It can be grown to cover even the most barren areas in your garden, but it requires little care to survive. The Sedum plant needs very little water and can endure many different conditions to support its growth.

What is the necessary care for your Sedum plant? The plant’s succulent leaves, stem, and roots enable it to restore water, so you only water it regularly when newly planted. Once established, you water it sparingly. You will want to keep your plant healthy by ensuring it gets enough sunlight and fertilizer. Mulching ensures it retains water and gets nutrients when pruning and trimming are necessary to give it a standard growth height.

Sedums give your home a beautiful look, but you must give them proper care to achieve that look. If you are ready to take on the challenge of indoor gardening then this article will help you understand what it takes to care of the sedum plant.

Basic Requirements for a Healthy Stonecrop

Sunlight

Sedums grow well in dry and hot regions. That does not mean they can’t thrive in your garden if you do not live in such areas. All you need is to ensure your plant is exposed to full sunlight and gets at least 6 hours of sunlight each day. Getting enough sunlight helps sedums attain their best colors. The species that grow taller require more sunlight than those that stay on the ground.

succulent getting sunlight
At least 6 hours of sunlight each day is needed for a plant like a sedum

Lack of sunlight causes the plant’s stem to flop over. The stem develops soft foliage, grows tall and thin as it attempts to grow in the direction of available sunlight.  As such, your plant will find it challenging to remain erect at the flowering stage because the thin stem will be weighed down.

Watering

Like most plants, sedums require water to survive despite their ability to store water longer. Giving your plant water at regular intervals keeps it healthy and blooming. However, take care of the amount of water you provide to avoid overwatering.

woman watering her plant in a cup
You must feel the soil of your sedum plant to determine if it needs watering or not

Before watering your sedum, identify when it needs it by feeling if the soil is completely dry using your fingers. If the top layer of the soil feels dry, it is time to water your plant. Lack of enough water makes the leaves lose their plump look and become droopy and wilted. In extreme cases, the leaves start dying out and falling.

So how often should you water your sedum? When you first plant it, ensure you water the plant every day. In summer, give the plant water every 7 to 10 days and every 2 to 3 weeks in winter.

Mulching

Sedums need mulch for two reasons; to retain water and to keep away weeds. Some sedum plants clump together, and if not mulched, weeds can grow and compete for nutrients with your plant. After planting your sedum, make sure you add compost up to 1 inch in thickness. Mulch your plant at least once per year to keep them thriving and producing flowers.

various types of plants surrounded by rocks
Perform the mulching method on your plant at least once a year to allow it to thrive more and produce more flowers

Take note, however, that too much mulch can cause your plant to rot. Mulching material should be placed a distance from the base of the plant to prevent that. Remember gravel mulching is usually advisable because it allows easy water passage, reduces rotting risks, and makes your garden attractive.

Staking

While creeping sedum varieties can thrive without staking, the clumping types can become floppy due to a lack of enough sunlight and nutrients. As your clumping sedum plant approaches the flowering stage, keep it erect by wrapping twine or a wire around it.

 Avoid tying the plant too tightly to prevent the wire from cutting through and injuring it. If you have the clumping types, you should consider planting them close by to ensure they support each other.

Pruning and Trimming

Sedum plants have beautiful flowers from the time they start budding to when they bloom fully. You can either choose to trim clumping sedums immediately after they bloom or let the flowers dry on the plant for fall colors. You can prune them at the onset of summer to prevent them from growing too tall. Some gardeners pinch them off at the growth point to give the plant a bushier look. However, doing that delays the plant’s flowering process. In spring, pruning is only necessary if the plant’s growth extends to unwanted areas; pruning at that time can cause your plant to rot.

Fertilizer

Sedums are generally low-maintenance plants and need just a little fertilizer. Sometimes, the 1-inch layer of compost mulch you put on the base of the plant may provide enough nutrients. This said you don’t want to take chances with your plant. Feed it with enough nutrients to get that strong and beautiful look. One month after planting, give the plant some fertilizer and ensure you keep feeding it after every three months. Ensure the fertilizer you use has equal amounts of potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus.

basic gardening tools used
Even though these plants need just a little fertilizer, it’s still best to feed them enough to keep them strong and thriving

Propagating Sedum Plants

To propagate sedum:

  • Take cuttings from healthy new growth. You can use fresh or dried cuttings.
  • Use sharp pruners to remove about 1/3 of the stem below the node where you want to make the cutting. Cut off the lower portion of the stem just above a bud that has formed.
  • Fill a shallow tray with moistened peat moss.
  • Place the cuttings in the tray so that the nodes are facing down.
  • Cover the cuttings with plastic wrap. Allow the cuttings to remain undisturbed for one week.
  • After seven days, gently lift the plastic wrap and place the cuttings into individual pots filled with potting soil. The cuttings will root within three months.
  • You can also divide mature plants. Gently remove the roots from the parent plant. Fill a container with moistened peat moss. Plant the divided plants in their containers.

Pest and Diseases Associated with Sedum

Pests

The most common sedum-associated pests include aphids, spider mites, whiteflies, leafhoppers, thrips, mealybugs, slugs, snails, caterpillars, and ants.

  • Aphids cause stunted growth and yellowing leaves. Aphid infestation should be treated immediately with insecticidal soap.
  • Spider Mites cause web-like patterns on the undersides of the leaves. These tiny creatures suck the juices from the leaves, causing the wilting and eventual death of the plant. Apply a mixture of water and dishwashing liquid directly onto the affected areas. Repeat once per week until the problem clears up.
  • Whiteflies cause small, whitish spots on the underside of the leaves. Remove any infected leaves and destroy them. Spray the entire plant with insecticidal soap.
  • Leafhoppers cause small brown spots on the undersides of the leaves. Destroy all damaged leaves and spray the entire plant with insecticidal soap.
  • Thrips cause smudged, light green patches on the undersides of the leaves. Thrips can also attack the stems and buds. Destroy any infested leaves and spray the entire plant with insecticidal soap.
  • Mealybugs cause soft, sticky honeydew excretions on the undersides of the leaves. Mealybug infestation should be treated immediately with insecticidal soap.
  • Slugs and Snails eat the tender young shoots of the plant. To deter these pests, cover the base of the plant with an inch layer of mulch.
  • Caterpillars eat the foliage of the plant. To discourage this pest, keep your garden clean by removing fallen leaves regularly.
  • Ants damage the leaves of the plant by eating the sap. Keep ant activity under control by covering the base of the plant with an inch layer of mulch.
sample of a leafhopper
Sample of leafhopper found in succulents like sedums

Diseases

Sedums are susceptible to many diseases, including mildews, rusts, blights, and various viruses.

Mildews cause dark, fuzzy patches on the undersides of the leaves. Mildew infection should be treated immediately with fungicide.

Rusts cause reddish or orange spots on the undersides of the leaves. Rust is caused by fungi that live in the soil and infect the plant through wounds or injury. Rust can be prevented by keeping the soil well maintained and avoiding injury to the plant.

Blights cause blackened areas on the undersides of the leaves. It is caused by bacteria that enter through cuts or injuries. Remove and destroy infected leaves and spray the entire plant with a fungicide.

Viruses cause deformed leaves and stunted growth. Virus infections should be controlled by spraying the plant with insecticidal soap.

Looking for low-maintenance succulents to grow in your garden? Why not give the sedum a try. They not only give your garden a beautiful look but are easy to maintain and care for. They retain water in their leaves, roots, and stems, making them able to resist drought. Although they grow well in hot and dry areas, with proper care, they can bloom well in your garden no matter the weather conditions.

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