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Sedums

by David J. Bracey
photographs by David J. Bracey

Photographs to illustrate the article published in The Mediterranean Garden No 78, October 2014

Sedums have found their niche in the limestone plateau of the northern Gard (in the Languedoc region of France). These little succulents live out their blameless lives tucked between the rocks which are either lying on the ground or raised into walls and structures. Some sedums have attracted the eye of plant breeders and have been developed into more showy garden plants, but whether in their wild form or as cultivars sedums should not be overlooked as reliable attractions in rocky parts of the garden.

Sedum rupestre (syn. S. reflexum) is a ubiquitous perennial succulent found in the garrigue growing on old stone walls and is also often seen in container plantings.

Sedum album, the white stonecrop, is another sedum often seen in the garrigue. It grows as a low carpet on the stony ground, filling in the spaces between the stones with small, shiny, bead-like red leaves. White stonecrop is covered with small white flowers in May. It makes an excellent compact plant for containers, where it will withstand gross neglect.

Sedum sediforme (stonecrop) is omnipresent in the Midi. It is the species most commonly seen growing on the top of old walls. Leaf colour can range from light green to dark purple depending on the time of the year. In June long shoots develop which in July and August carry panicles of small pale yellow flowers well above the wall. The shoots dry out into typical crowsfoot seedheads which then overwinter.

S. rubrotinctum ‘Aurora’, the jelly bean plant, with red/pink leaves in the form of jellybeans, the ultimate sedum.

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