Wednesday, September 23, 2009

It's Party Time for Autumn Joy Sedum

One of my favorite perennials, the hardy and drought-tolerant 'Autumn Joy' sedum, is a reliable presence in my garden beds.

Its fleshy, succulent-like leaves don't appeal to Connecticut deer, although the resident woodchuck has been known to dine on them.

The leaves of this sedum remind me of the foliage of a well-known houseplant, the jade plant. Those fleshy leaves are why the plant requires so little water; it will do well in a sunny spot and is easily divided.

This stonecrop forms a nice clump-forming mound of bluish-green leaves and pinkish/bronzy flowers that darken to maroon over time. Its 3-inch wide blooms arrive in August and persist through the month of September in my Zone 6; the plant is also hardy in Zones 3-9.

Sedums are said to attract butterflies, but in truth I have seen more butterflies on my butterfly bushes than the sedums. There are, however, plenty of bees and other important pollinators that swarm the sedum blossoms well before they're fully open.

It's one of the most trouble-free perennials I know, and it's seldom bothered by insect pests. What vivid colors it brings to the autumn garden at a time when many perennials are looking spent.

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