The Plant Formerly Known As Sedum

Sedum, a large genus of plants, is commonly known as stonecrop because it often grows among stones. The word “sedum” originates from the Latin word sedo meaning ‘to sit’. This probably refers to their use as ground covers and the way they sit on rocks. There are about 400 different species of sedum — many cultivars in a great variety of heights, colors, and shapes. At Coppertop, we have a few sedum near the waterfall and rock garden. Sedum are succulents, which have become almost too fashionable lately.  All succulents have water-storing leaves. One of the benefits of their popularity, though, are beautiful new cultivars.

This used to be called sedum:

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As a genus grows, sometimes plants are divided into new categories by horticulturalists or taxonomists. This makes me, the average home gardener, very confused. Sedum underwent this reclassification a number of years ago because of its size. So border stonecrops are no longer sedum but are instead officially Hylotelephium.  Read more here: http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/2619/.  All this is pretty confusing, so I’ll just stick with calling all the plants in my photos stonecrops!

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Borders all over Coppertop feature beautiful stonecrops at this time of year. I think of these as shining stars of the late summer/early fall perennials because of their faithfulness and durability. I grew some of these (when they were still called sedum) back in Norfolk in neglected soil along our driveway, and they returned each year.

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I added stonecrops to some of my deck planters a few months ago, and they have thrived. These are not picky plants and do well in any soil.

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I potted a couple of lovely stonecrops with smoky purple leaves that feature cream colored flowers. These did not come with identifying tags. I love the contrast they offer.

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In early October 2013, when we first toured Coppertop, I took photos of some of the borders; these have me looking forward to the stonecrops changing to a deep purple in just a few weeks.

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