Tender Sedum (SEE-dum) are colorful, sun-loving beauties that can form dense mats of ground cover, cascade profusely from hanging pots, or make sweet additions to a container arrangement. Unlike Hardy Sedum, these tropical varieties must be protected from frost, but they reward with easy, drought-tolerant growth and can display both bold colors and soft pastels.
- Form: These vertical-growing, stemmed varieties can range in height from 3.0" to over a foot. As they grow, they tend to form a loose rosette, a dense mat of ground cover, or a trailing cascade, depending on the variety.
- Colors: Sedum colors can be bold and bright or soft and pastel, and they gain vibrancy with added sunlight.
- Foliage: Possible leaf shapes include pine needles, jelly beans, and a classic rosette. The thick, juicy leaves are adaptations for extended drought tolerance.
- Flowers: Star-shaped blooms tend to appear in early summer in shades of white, pink, or yellow. If kept outdoors in the summer, they’re great for attracting pollinators.
- Light: Grown indoors, Sedum need as much sunlight as they can get and should be near bright windows. For outdoor planting, pick partial sun locations with afternoon shade if temperatures tend to rise above 85F.
- Soil: Select a sandy, well-draining soil to prevent root rot. You can use a cactus/succulent soil from a garden center or make your own by mixing 1 part potting soil, 1 part sand, and 1 part perlite.
- Water: Sedum can survive months of drought but will rot easily if over-watered. If potted, we highly recommend using a container with a drainage hole. Drench thoroughly then wait for soil to fully dry before watering again. Watering frequency will vary based on soil, container, and climate and can range from 1-8 times a month.
- Hardiness: "Soft" succulents are not frost hardy, so year-round, outdoor growth is limited to zones 9 and 10 (what’s my zone?). In other climates, keep Sedum indoors or bring plants inside before temperatures drop below freezing.
- Propagation: Sedum have particularly high success rates of re-growing from stem and leaf cuttings. If you want to try propagation, remove a large leaf or the top 2.0" of stem, leave to dry 3-5 days, and then follow our Guide to Propagating Cuttings.
Notes from the Nursery
Tender Sedum are native to Latin America and are sometimes referred to as “Mexican Stonecrops”. They propagate and hybridize easily and in this category we also list their close relatives, Graptosedum and Cremnosedum. Tender Sedum can resemble the hardy, Eurasian Sedum, however, being intolerant of frost, the tender varieties are better suited to growing in indoor containers.
In the wild, these plants grow on cliffs and canyon walls, where they receive partial sun and drenching, but infrequent rainfall. Growing healthy Sedum means mimicking these conditions, most importantly by giving the plants plenty of sunshine, great drainage, and enough time between waterings to fully dry. For more information on these charming and resilient plants, check out Succulent Plants of the World by Fred Dortort and Soft Succulents by Jeff Moore.