Sedum: Growing Autumn Joy
Autumn joy, or sedum, is a succulent plant that has lush, green leaves and bears clusters of flowers. It is called autumn joy because while it flowers green in the spring and summer, looking much like broccoli, come August the flowers start to turn pink. As autumn progresses the flowers deepen in color, going from red to a deep, dusky crimson.
Growing an autumn joy is relatively easy. They only need fertilization once a year, in the spring, and it’s best to use a balanced organic fertilizer with low numbers combined with some natural organic compost on the side. This helps the plant produce even more flowers for you in the fall, giving your garden spots of red over the chilly autumn months that weren’t there all summer.
Using the Sun
Start growing your sedum plant by placing it into full sun when you bring it home. This is what they require first, to get all of the nutrients they need through photosynthesis—or the creation of food through sunlight filtering through the leaves’ membranes, which contain chlorophyll. Next, after you’ve picked your full-sun spot for your potted and purchased plant, you may want to transplant it to arid soil outside. It’s best that you use very well-drained soil for the sedum plants, because this will allow the succulents to get only as much water as they need.
Never overwater your autumn joy. The plants don’t respond well to a lot of watering and, as a result, will die from root rot if the roots are allowed to sit in water for too long. Also, you may end up with stem or leaf rot from overwatering. Generally it’s not a good thing to give too much water. Your best bet is to water the sedum plant once a month or so, depending on how dry the weather is, so that it can get what it needs and nothing more.
Planning for a Sedum
When you’re planning a garden, and you want to use sedum in it, you should plan for the sunniest spots to be full up of this succulent plant because you’ll get blooms straight into fall. You will literally be rewarded for planting sedum in these spots up until about November, depending on local climate circumstances.
Pruning your sedum isn’t necessary very often, maybe once or twice a year, tops. You may want to cut back the dead stems and leaves before winter, but if you choose to leave your plant intact, you may just want to wait until spring and prune it then, in the same way. You don’t have to cut the plant back for the winter, it handles just fine in frigid temperatures because it goes dormant.
Sedum plants are hardy and easy to grow, and as long as you have the tools and skills listed here (there aren’t many, are there?) you should have no problem growing autumn joy in your arid garden. You can choose to plant one or many, as long as they’re in the right place with the right environment, and enjoy the deep red of the flowers in late September each and every year.