The calendar tells us that fall has arrived and what could be more timely than the blooms of Autumn Joy sedum. The hardy plant is a great selection for Oklahoma gardens.
Although the literature indicates that it is a full sun plant, I have found that it seems to do best when planted so that it is shaded from the hottest sun of the day. The plant in the photograph is located at the southeast corner of our house. It is planted next to a Curry plant that has been in place since last fall. The plant tag for the Curry indicates it is a Helichrysum Italicum and that it is hardy in zones 8-10. Our area is zone 7. It was attractive all of last winter. I’ll see what happens to it during the coming winter months.
There are two varieties of similar sedums: Sedum telephium also known as Live-Forever Sedum includes the Autumn Joy variety with salmon pink blooms that become darker as they age and Sedum spectabile, also known as Showy Sedum whose blooms tend toward being a rose red. Both have blooms that can be as large as six inches in diameter.
If the flowers are allowed to remain on the stem, they eventually turn brown. On some of the sedum downtown at 9th and Bell that receive full afternoon sun, the blooms had already turned brown by September 14. We removed these blooms and some additional ones were beginning to form.
When the plant begins to look ragged it is a good idea to cut it back to the ground. New growth will appear in just a few weeks. It is best to wait until spring to divide the plant.
One gardening site has a table that shows the attributes of Autumn Joy sedum. It suggests that the plant will grow in normal, sandy or clay soil. The soil can be neutral, alkaline or acid. That about covers the range of soil types found in our area.
Let’s hope that the name of this plant aptly describes your autumn season.