By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist
English stonecrop perennial plants are found wild in Western Europe. They are common nursery plants and make excellent fillers in containers and beds. The tiny succulents grow on rocky slopes and sand dunes which illustrates their hardiness and ability to thrive in low fertility areas. English stonecrop plants are also drought tolerant. There are very few tricks on how to grow English stonecrop sedum as they are a low maintenance, nearly fool proof plant to grow.
English Stonecrop Plants
If you are looking for a plant that you don’t have to baby, spreads over time to form a lovely, low carpet, and produces pink starry flowers, look no further than English stonecrop (Sedum anglicum). These plants are in the Crassulaceae family of succulents. English stone crop establishes easily from bare root and requires little extra care to root and grow. These minimal care plants have even been used in living roofs, composed of hardy, tolerant plants that insulate and provide durable protection.
Stonecrop plants come in a variety of sizes and forms. These plants are succulent and have chubby, fleshy characteristic leaves in rosettes and thickened stems. The foliage and stems are bright green when young, deepening to bluish green at maturity.
English stonecrop is a ground hugging form that tends to spread out stems and root at internodes. Over time a small patch of English stonecrop can become a large, dense mat. The flowers are on short stalks, star shaped and white or blushed pink. The blooms are very attractive to bees and hoverflies as well as certain species of ants.
How to Grow English Stonecrop Sedum
Growing English stonecrop is as easy as getting your hands on a piece of the plant. The stems and leaves will fall off even with a gentle touch and often root just where they land. English stonecrop produces from seed, too, but it will take quite some time for appreciable plants.
Far easier to nudge off a stem or few leaves and transplant the rosettes to acidic, well-drained soil. A little watering is needed at establishment but the plant will root in just a few weeks and become drought tolerant thereafter.
These plants are fertilizer sensitive but good organic mulch can help gradually add nutrients to the soil when growing English stonecrop.
English Stonecrop Care
These plants are good choices for the novice gardener. This is because they establish readily, have few pest and disease problems and are low maintenance. In fact, English stonecrop care is really negligible except for occasional watering in very dry periods.
You can choose to divide the clumps and share them with a friend or let the patches gambol playfully across your rockery or other landscape feature. English stonecrop also makes an excellent container plant and will trail lightly in hanging baskets. Pair this sprightly little plant with other moisture smart flowers and succulents for xeriscape appeal.
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To determine if a plant is sufficiently cold hardy, the USDA created numbered zones indicating winter low temperatures the lower the zone number the colder the winter.
- If the coldest winter temperature expected in your area is -15°F (zone 5) then any plants rated zones 3-5 will survive the winter temperatures in your area.
- If you live in very warm winter areas (zones 9-11) plants with zones 3-4 ratings are not recommended. The lack of freezing winter temperatures do not provide a time for winter dormancy (rest).
Find Your Planting Zone:
Tips for Growing Cacti and Succulents
Cacti shipped early in the spring may be dormant. As the weather warms, these cacti will expand and green-up. Remember, after an initial watering to settle the soil around the roots, no further water should be applied until the weather warms up. If plants are dormant and the spring weather is rainy, protect the plants from too much moisture by covering them with a gallon plastic milk container with the bottom cut out. Leave the top off the jug so heat build up isn’t excessive in sunny weather.
All the species of hardy cacti and succulents require fast-draining soil.
Planting in the ground
Put the plants on a slope or raised area of the garden, not in a low spot which collects water. Select a bed with full sun exposure, preferably next to a south or west facing wall. These areas will provide extra winter warmth. In heavy clay soils, it is essential to replace half or more of the soil from a 10”x 10” or larger hole with coarse sand and gravel mixed thoroughly with the remaining soil to ensure adequate drainage. No compost should be added, only a small handful of Planters II and Yum Yum Mix®.
Planting in an outdoor pot or planter
Use a planting mix of 3 parts garden soil + 2 parts coarse sand + 2 parts coarse perlite (or similar material). When growing plants indoors in pots, use a good quality potting soil to mix with the sand, and expanded shale instead of garden soil.
1. Cacti, agaves, and tap-rooted succulents (Aloinopsis, Titanopsis, Nananthus) should be transplanted bare-root. Let the soil in the pot dry out for a few days. Then remove the pot and gently loosen the soil so it falls away from the roots. Trim off any broken roots. Bare root plants should then be planted into a shallow hole. Spread out the roots evenly and sprinkle the soil into the hole until full. The base of the plant should rest on top of the soil. Mulch with a 1⁄2”-1” thick layer of pea-sized gravel around the base of the plant to protect it from contact with soggy soil over the winter months. (See planting diagram on page 12 of our Planting Guide.)
2. Succulents with fibrous roots (Ruschia, Delosperma, Sedum, and others) need not be transplanted bare-root, instead, the root ball should be scored and roughed out like other perennials.
1. Bare-root cacti and tap-rooted succulents must not be watered right away, but should sit dry for a day or two to allow the roots to callus over any broken or damaged areas. Other succulents can be watered in right away. Water thoroughly with a mixture of SeaCom-PGR and Superthrive to stimulate strong new root growth. Water again with this mixture two weeks later.
2. Outdoor beds with new plants should be initially watered once every 5 to 7 days for the first month or so after transplanting. Cacti and succulents enjoy regular watering during the heat of the summer and will grow vigorously. After the first year, most cacti species need a good soaking only once every 2-4 weeks during the spring and summer if there has been no rain.
3. Potted plants require more frequent, regular watering, especially if the weather is hot and dry.
4. To prepare cacti and succulents for the approach of winter, begin withholding water in the fall so the plants can begin to dehydrate and shrivel. Plump, well watered plants are ripe for cold damage when temperatures plunge in late fall/early winter.
Cacti and succulents are very modest in their fertilizer requirements. When planted in the ground, fertilizing in spring with SeaCom-PGR and Yum Yum Mix® will encourage plentiful flowers and good stem growth. When planted in pots, remember to feed monthly with the same mixture as above, beginning in late summer.
Garden plants: Many cacti and succulents are quite cold hardy if kept dry in the cold winter and spring months. In areas that receive a lot of winter and spring moisture (especially rain), it is strongly recommended that plants be protected from cold, wet soil conditions. For example, a temporary cold frame can be constructed using pipe or PVC hoops covered with a clear plastic sheet to cover the entire bed. Or individual plants can be covered with plastic gallon milk jugs with the bottom cut out to keep the ground around the plants dry. Leave the top off the jug so heat build up isn’t excessive in sunny weather. Problems will occur if plants are in wet soil all winter or sit under melting snow for extended periods.
Potted plants: Should be moved under a roof overhang on the south or west side of the house or placed in a well ventilated cold frame. Water pots and other containers lightly a few times over the winter during warm spells.
All our cacti, agaves and succulents are seed-grown or cutting-grown in our greenhouses. Cacti and agave plants are 2-4 years old succulents are 1-2 years old. Please, never collect cacti from the wild unless it’s to rescue plants from construction sites. Many species are close to extinction in their native habitats due to irresponsible collectors.
As soon as your order is placed you will receive a confirmation email. You will receive a second email the day your order ships telling you how it has been sent. Some perennials are shipped as potted plants, some as perennial roots packed in peat. The ‘Plant Information’ section describes how that item will ship. All perennials and spring-planted bulbs are packaged to withstand shipping and are fully-guaranteed. Please open upon receipt and follow the instructions included.
Perennials and spring-planted bulbs are shipped at the proper planting time for your hardiness zone. Perennial and spring-planted bulb orders will arrive separately from seeds. If your order requires more than one shipment and all items are shipping to the same address, there is no additional shipping charge. See our shipping information page for approximate ship dates and more detailed information. If you have any questions, please call Customer Service toll-free at (800) 925-9387 or contact us by email.
How to Grow Red Creeping Sedum
Creeping sedum (Sedum spurium) stretches the term "thrives on neglect" to its horticultural limits. Red-leaved creeping sedum cultivars "Red Carpet" and ”Dragon’s Blood" handle climates across U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 8. Four- to 6-inches high with 1- to 2-foot spreads, the succulent groundcovers deepen from greenish- or bronze-red in summer to crimson or rich burgundy in fall. Delicate, star-shaped mauve blossoms crown established "Dragon's Blood" plants in summer. "Red Carpet" produces less-reliable, but equally charming, deep-red flowers. Even first-time gardeners can successfully grow these drought-, pollution- and salt-tolerant plants with a minimum of effort.
Space creeping red sedum plants 1 foot apart in sandy or gravelly soil and full sun to partial shade. The plants accept nearly any poor, dry to averagely moist soil, with a soil pH ranging from 6.6 to 7.8. Sedums grown in rich soils develop a loose, open habit unsuitable for groundcovers.
Water creeping red sedum every two weeks during dry summer weather. Water only enough to moisten the soil without saturating it. The plant's succulent leaves function as water-storage units, so heavy irrigation isn't necessary. Plants in standing water frequently succumb to root rot.
Scatter an all-purpose organic fertilizer around the sedum in early spring. A 5-5-5 formula won't load the soil with nitrogen, which could lead to lanky growth. Apply it at the manufacturer's recommended rate and water it into the soil. Organic fertilizers release their nutrients more slowly than chemically-based ones.
Mulch newly planted sedums with a 2-inch layer of rock mulch, applied 2-inches from the bases of the plants. The plants eventually spread to form a weed-choking groundcover that eliminates the need for traditional mulch.
Cut the flowers back after they fade in summer with a string trimmer, to keep the plants tidy. Alternatively, prune old blooms and stems in early spring while leaving new growth intact. Deadheading isn’t necessary.
Check the plants' new growth for sedum aphids. These flat, pear-shaped insects feed in colonies on the stems and leaf undersides. Wilting, brown or yellow leaves signal their presence. If a blast of water from a hose doesn't remove them, spray the plants with insecticidal soap applied according to the label instructions.
Watch creeping sedum for signs of fungal disease. Plants suffering from crown rot break off at the soil line remove them and replace the infected soil. White powdery mold coating the plants' leaves as they wilt and die is powdery mildew. It attacks plants in humid locations. Prune the damaged leaves and cut back the plants to improve air circulation. Botrytis leaf blotch results in leaf and flower spotting and foliage death prune affected foliage from lightly infected plants, and remove and dispose of severely infected ones.
Divide the sedums every three or four years to reinvigorate them and maintain their tight, compact habit. Plants with reduced flowering and small center leaves are ready for division.
Similar in size and general structure but with a taller growing habit and somewhat larger leaves than English Stonecrop, Biting Stonecrop has yellow flowers it occurs inland more often than English Stonecrop does, but in coastal areas the two species are often to be seen in close proximity.
The pictures of Sedum anglicum shown on this page were taken on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path during July.
We hope that you have found this information helpful. If so we are sure you would find our books Wonderful Wildflowers of Wales, vols 1 to 4, by Sue Parker and Pat O'Reilly very useful too. Buy copies here.
Certain types of sedum grow as a groundcover or small shrub, such as Dragon’s Blood (Sedum spurium 'Schorbuser Blut'). It reaches 6 inches in height with a generous spread of up to 2 feet wide. It performs best in USDA zones 4 to 9, where its tiny pink flowers bloom from August to September. Like the upright variety of sedum, this plant is evergreen throughout the winter in warmer climates. However, if the foliage begins to look overgrown or loses its attractiveness, removing dead stems and flowers down to the crown will promote next season’s growth. Avoid excess watering to ensure its healthy return in the spring.
- Pacific Horticulture: Sedum Care and Propagation
- Brooklyn Botanic Garden: Sedum: Easy-to-Grow Succulents With Seasonal Interest
- University of Wisconsin-Extension Master Gardener Program: Burro’s Tail, Sedum morganianum
- eFloras.Org: Flora of North America: Sedum
- Colorado State University: Plant Talk Colorado: Sedum
- The National Gardening Association: Sedums: Plant Care and Collection of Varieties
- University of Illinois Extension: The Homeowners Column: Sedums – Tough Plants for Tough Areas
- University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners of Sacramento County: Fall Plant List
- UC Master Gardener Program of Sonoma County: Sedum telephium ‘Autumn Joy’
- Monrovia Plant Catalog: Autumn Joy Stonecrop
- Portland Nursery: Evergreen Sedum: Stonecrop
- Santa Fe Botanical Garden: OCTOBER : Autumn Joy sedum : Hylotelephium telephium ‘Autumn Joy’ (synonym Sedum x ‘Autumn Joy’)
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Hylotelephium 'Herbstfreude' Autumn Joy
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Sedum spurium 'Schorbuser Blut' Dragon's Blood
Karen Clark has been writing professionally since 2001. Her work includes articles on gardening, education and literature. She has also published short literary fiction in the "Southern Humanities Review" and has co-authored a novel. Her professional experience includes teaching and tutoring students of all ages in literature, history and writing. She holds a Bachelor of the Arts in political science and a Master of Fine Arts in writing.
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How Long Should it Take for Dragon’s Blood Sedum to Bloom?
Dragon’s Blood can grow as tall as 12-inches tall and 12-18 –inches wide. Though it’s compatibility to grow practically anywhere makes it more attractive for an outdoor garden. Besides, Dragon’s Blood is resistant enough against pests, deer, or rabbit disease. And it’s no wonder everyone is more curious than ever to find out the method of cultivation and period of time it takes to bloom.
Also, the plant is not susceptible to low maintenance and doesn’t require your 24/7 attention. It all comes down to the time span to disseminate the division process and stem cutting of the plants. Start out by early summer and by the end of the winter you will have Dragon’s Blood sprouting in your garden.
You might take a sigh of relief in knowing the fact that Dragon’s Blood can endure the coldest and harshest winter seasons. Despite the chill of the cold season, it will end up blooming with more glimmer and size every year.
See more about How to care for Sedum Donkey's Tail
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