Plant of the month – Sedum

Sedum spectabile or ice plant, is a wonderful flower for adding autumn colour to the border and is loved by bees and butterflies.

Sedum Spectabile

Butterflies adorn Sedum flowers

Growing to a height and spread of around 45 cm, Sedum Spectabile enjoys full sun in light to well drained soil and is hardy enough to survive British winters.

This old fashioned perennial has succulent blue green to fresh green foliage throughout summer, with flat tightly-packed heads of green buds forming later in the season.

The tiny buds open in late August and early September, revealing masses of flowers which can vary from pure white to dark pink, depending on the variety.

Sedum is as attractive to butterflies and insects as the famous Buddleia, making an additional feature in the autumn garden and providing a plentiful supply of late nectar.

Leave the flower heads during the winter to add shape and texture to the border, cutting them back in February or March.

Once established, sedums can have a tendency to flop leaving an open and unsightly centre. One technique to help prevent this is the ‘Chelsea chop‘.

During the last week of May (Chelsea Flower Show week), cut one in every three stems back to the ground. Leaf growth becomes less exuberant and the plant puts on a greater show of flowers for a longer season.

Sedum spectabile plants are easily propagated from fleshy stem cuttings early in the season or by dividing established plants in October or November.

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