Gardeners are always looking for the perfect three season plant. Showy Stonecrop – Sedum spectabile ‘Autumn Joy’ fits the bill! It emerges from the ground in spring, looking a lot like small Brussels sprouts. As the stems lengthen, the leaves become broader and have a distinctive, succulent look. In mid summer, the flower buds begin to form, and cover the plant with open sprays of chartreuse. By September, the flowers tighten up into umbels and open to reveal tiny pink petals. As fall sets in, the color deepens to cranberry and then garnet. Even the seed heads are ornamental and look great covered with frost in front of the buff color of ornamental grasses.
Sedums don’t require much care during the growing season. If you find they get too tall and splay open in your garden, pinch then once or twice in early summer before flowers begin to form. This will force the plant to branch out and remain dense and compact.
Plant them with other late summer perennials like Perovskia, Rudbeckia, Echinacea, and Phlox. Frame the planting with Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’ and you can’t lose!