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Best uses

A great perennial for mixed beds and borders, and as ground cover. Can be incorporated into rockeries and grown in containers. A great source of pollen for honey bees and a useful cut flower.

Physical characteristics

A deciduous, clump-forming perennial growing to 0.6m tall and 0.5m wide.

Flowers and foliage

Leaves are grey-green, rounded and fleshy. Many tiny star-shaped pink flowers are produced in large heads from mid-summer through autumn.

Preferred site

Prefers full sun in moist but well-drained soil. Once established they will tolerate drought conditions.

Preparation for planting

With suitable preparation and care, perennials will grow and flower well year after year. They benefit from a weed-free well-drained soil rich in organic material. Prepare the planting site when soil is moist and easily worked after the first rains in autumn. Remove all perennial weeds and incorporate bark, compost or other organic material. On heavy soils, raise the level of beds and borders with extra topsoil and coarse pumice or sand. Plant when the soil is moist and warm in autumn or early spring so that a good root system develops to support vigorous new growth. Planting too closely leads to spindly growth, poor flowering and eventual decline. In a border, plants should just touch each other to create a full effect without overcrowding.

Maintenance tips

Apply an organic mulch annually to help suppress weeds and conserve moisture. Feed annually in spring with a balanced fertiliser such as blood and bone at a handful per square metre in spring as new growth begins. Prune off any old flowers after flowering to prolong flowering. This can be done with the aid of a pair of shears but a lot of people leave them as they give winter interest in the garden. Cut back entire plant in late autumn ready for overwintering. Divide and replant to revitalise plants. This can be done in autumn to early winter enables the new plants to establish while the soil remains relatively warm and the plants can then burst into life the following spring. Dividing can be achieved by lifting the whole clump and placing two garden forks back to back in the middle of the clump and then pushing in and forcing apart with the forks. The resulting clumps can then be divided further either with forks or by hand. The clumps should then be immediately re-planted in their new positions and watered in. Large clumps should be divided every 2-3 years. If they don't get divided, then the result is a clump that loses vigour and does not flower to its potential. A barren area in the centre of the clump will appear also with all the good growth around the outside.

Ecological and biodiversity benefits

Beneficial insects and pollinators love Sedum.

Pests and diseases

Slugs and snails enjoy the new growth.

Location at Auckland Botanic Gardens

Herb Garden