Stonecrop Brings “Autumn Joy” to the Garden

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Stonecrop is a family of around 500 varieties of succulent plants. Succulents store water in their leaves, making them an excellent choice for gardens that don’t receive much water or rain. These low-maintenance plants will add color and interest to your fall garden. Because stonecrop is so easy-going, it makes a wonderful gift for someone who loves flowers but may not have much time to devote to gardening.

One of the most widely known stonecrops is “Autumn Joy”. This easy-to-grow perennial features deep pink flowers and bright, apple green leaves from late August through October. Left undisturbed, the dried flowers may color your garden throughout the winter as well.

Stonecrop is also commonly known as sedum. Once established, sedum requires little water. Most varieties prefer ample sun, but there are also stonecrops that do well in partial shade. Primarily native to the northern hemisphere, these plants are usually classified by their growth habit – either upright or creeping.

Upright-growing sedum bears flowers on stems that reach heights of up to three feet. These flowers bloom primarily in the autumn season. Many varieties possess flowers that dry to a deep burgundy color, making them a good choice for long-lasting decor. The dried blooms would be lovely displayed on a fall or winter wreath.

Creeping stonecrop has a low-growing, spreading habit. Many varieties are less than two inches tall but can spread to several feet wide in ideal growing conditions. Creeping sedum is well-known for thriving in difficult locations, such as on top of rocks or even rooftops!

Creeping sedum bears flowers in a range of warm colors such as pink, yellow, and white. These blooms, which are prolific in autumn, coordinate beautifully with other fall-blooming plants like chrysanthemums. They also echo the gorgeous colors of changing leaves on deciduous trees.

Most types of stonecrop are edible, with a mild peppery flavor. Young sedum leaves are often eaten raw in salads in European countries. However, it is recommended that you cook the varieties with red leaves or yellow flowers, as eating them raw can cause mild stomach upset.

There is a folklore history of using sedum to heal broken hearts. It seems that people once believed that eating sedum would mend a spurned lover’s spirit. We don’t know if this actually works, but it’s surely healthier than eating a whole carton of ice cream!

If you know someone who loves all things autumnal, stonecrop would make a lovely gift for their garden. They require little hands-on care but produce quite a showy display every fall. Sedum is also a great option as a gift for someone who is new to gardening. The plants are rugged yet elegant and will provide years of interest with little work. With their durable nature and bright fall colors, sedum can bring “autumn joy” to every garden.

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