The Sedum Genus (Stonecrop)

Sedum is a genus belonging to the Crassula plant family, and these plants are also known as stonecrops. As it contains at least 500 different species, this is one of the larger succulent groups. This genus is among the most diverse within the Crassulaceae plant family.

Some plants are annuals, biennials, or perennials, depending on the variety you choose. While the majority of species hail from the Northern Hemisphere, you’ll find a few dotted around in the Southern Hemisphere, too.

Most gardeners use sedum plants to brighten up beds with poor, rocky soil, or large rockeries where these plants can really show off. They’re easily recognizable for their large, succulent leaves, sometimes in two tones, and most have starry flowers that appear in clusters.

Sedum Name Origin

The genus name is derived from the Latin word sedeo, which means to sit, referring to their upright and sometimes sprawling habit.

The Symbolism Behind Sedum Plants

Generally, sedum plants are used as a symbol of harmony, peace, and calm.

Sedum Toxicity

It’s worth noting that while sedums are not regarded as very toxic, they can be very dangerous if they are ingested, and the sap can irritate on contact with the skin, so they are perhaps not a wise planting choice in gardens that see a lot of pets or children.

Sedum Uses

Sedum plants have a lot of ornamental qualities, thanks to their unique looks, as well as some cultivars being incredibly tough.

It’s worth knowing that some species of sedum will withstand incredibly cold temperatures, but they won’t survive in the heat. Others love to bake in the sun, and won’t survive without balmy temperatures.

Some people use sedums on rooftop gardens in place of grass to soften the harsh appearance of the roofing and let it blend into the landscape as a living work of art. 

These plants are resistant to disease, and drought, and don’t require a lot of attention to survive.

In some places, stonecrop leaves are used in culinary dishes, but as with any plant, you should be very careful about what plants you snack on! 

Some stonecrop varieties contain toxic compounds and alkaloids, which are harmful in large quantities. 

Among the most common varieties used for dishes is Sedum reflexum, also known as prickmadam or crooked yellow stonecrop, which has a bitter taste. Other options include Sedum divergens or spreading stonecrop.

How To Grow Stonecrops

Stonecrops are hardy in USDA zones 3 through to 10, depending on the species. Most will bloom in summer, but some will flower in autumn and even winter for a time.

Sedums may reach between 10cm to 3 feet tall, and they need well-draining soil in either full sunlight or partial shade.

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