Roger's Backyard Nursery
Sedums, often referred to as Stonecrop, come in a variety of sizes, shapes and styles. some are very little in height and yet they will spread out making great groundcovers. Others grow tall with large flower clusters that come to life in the fall when many other plants are done for the year. And then there are those that are in between.
Sedums are succulents. That is, they can survive with less water than most plants. They have thicker leaves and stems which take up water and store it. This allows them to be planted in areas that other plants can't be used. Rock gardens and more arid locations like along sidewalks, driveways and parking lots. These plants are tough and resilient also. Not that they should be used in a heavy traffic area, but they can bounce back from an occasional trauma like a wayward ball or step or two. They grow quickly with new stems and it is best if the taller varieties are pinched early in the season to help prevent them from getting too tall and leggy later when they are blooming.
The varieties of Sedum that make good groundcovers are usually evergreen. They may lose some of their brilliant coloring during the cold months, but they snap right back in spring. The flower heads that turned to seed can be left during winter for winter interest as well as for the seeds. The foliage will dieback for winter. The plants will grow new stems from the crown of roots. The Sedums that are in the medium size range will often stay evergreen also if they get protection during the cold months. A layer of mulch or snow will usually give them enough protection.
Hens & Chicks are not really Sedums, but are included in this grouping because they are also succulents and can be used as groundcovers. They will grow a large rosette of thick, heavy leaves which is known as the Hen. As the Hen matures, several runners will be produced that grow small rosettes, known as the Chicks. When the plant reaches its full maturity, a tall flower rises above the foliage. This is often known as a Rooster. While these are very colorful and decorative, they mean the plant has reached the end of its life and will soon die. It is not all bad though because it has left behind several of its offspring to continue on.