Plant Pick – Growing Sedum (Herbsfreude)
Okay, hear me out; Yes, Sedum Herbstfreude is an extremely common plant that may seem rather dull to you. BUT, I feel this plant is often overlooked. It has a huge number of positives; it’s wildlife friendly, it’s easy to grow, it has fantastic cover during late summer/early autumn AND it provides some beautiful winter architecture as long as you put off cutting the flowering stems back to the ground until the spring months. It’s also pretty drought tolerant; a huge bonus considering Britain’s increasingly changeable weather. Finally, just because it’s so common, doesn’t mean it can’t be used in innovative and interesting planting schemes. Have I got your attention yet? 😉
I’ve used Sedum Herbstfreudein my garden for years – mainly because as a newbie gardener, it was readily available, grew and propagated itself well and took care of itself. At the end of the summer I always have a slight gap in garden colour, but the sedums quickly add some interest. There’s also the succulent-like quality of the pale green leaves during the spring and summer to act as great background plant. It’s clump forming so you get big clusters of flowers, and it’s extremely easy to divide; lift it in spring and literally put a spade through the centre – then you’ll have two plants.
The flower stalks, and indeed the leaves, can grow quite high, so it’s best to place this sedum in the middle of herbaceous borders. I’ve grown it in pots too; ideal if you need something to brighten up patios during the autumn months. It is prone to flopping, however, due to the weight of flowers. To combat this, when there’s been good spring growth (around six to 12 inches) trim about a third of the stem off. This bulks up the plant and means the new growth is more capable of holding the heavy flower-discs up.
All in all, this is a fantastic plant which definitely needs a spot on my plant picks list!
Name: Sedum Herbstfreude
Thrives In: Full sun and exposed settings. It will grow in partial shade, but I’ve found it becomes easily top heavy and requires additional support.
Yearly Care: After spring growth, chop back about a third to encourage thicker growth. Leave flowerheads on until late winter to provide architectural interest. As clumps become large, life and divide.
Growing Medium: Well drained soil’s best, though it’ll grow in many substrates aside from heavy clay.
Quick Tip: This is a fantastic plant for wildlife, giving insects a late summer feed. Leave seedheads on for as long as possible and place in a sunny position to give butterflies and bees a last feed of the year.