Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Hunt for Burgundy Sedums

Sedum 'Purple Emperor' with 'Cottage Red' Marigold

Seems slightly out of season to be posting about sedums now, but I have my reasons. I have been reviewing my garden notes from last season in preparation for moves come April and I started dreaming about finding a burgundy sedum that remains upright instead of flopping come late summer.  Here are my findings so far...

Sedum 'Arthur Branch' - This is the first burgundy sedum I acquired.  I had completely forgotten about him until I came across his name while doing the Upright Burgundy Sedum Research. Now I'm wondering - has he crossed with Sedum 'Purple Emperor' and created the race of floppy burgundy sedums that plague me come September?

Sedum 'Purple Emperor' - I know I have because I distinctly remember my Mom sharing some with me. Does it flop late in the season? Yes - it's not just me. After researching, I see other gardeners noting the same plant behavior (do plants behave? Is that another post?!).

Sedum 'Matrona' - Oh I just love. Though I don't technically think of her as burgundy...actually glaucous to me - a smokey color with tinges of blue and burgundy in the foliage. While researching I keep seeing Matrona lumped in with the burgundies so I am simply following suit. Now I see a new variety which is actually a mutation found on Matrona. Maestro, available at Plant Delights Nursery is said by Tony Avent to be better than Sedum 'Black Jack' at resisting sunscorch.  I am finding out so much about these various available varieties!

Sedum 'Black Jack' - apparently this one gets sunscorch.  See above listing.

Sedum 'Xenox' - Don't have. Do I want to try?  Can anyone with experience tell me more?  I do know Piet Oudolf used this in his design for the Seasonal Walk at the New York Botanical Garden last year (now this could be another post - if you didn't visit and see it in person, please, check out the link!).  It was so rainy in NYC that this sedum didn't thrive and some were replaced with other plants during the season.  No mention of floppiness.

Sedum 'African Sunset' - Found this one while perusing Digging Dog's site -  it must be good if they carry it.  Have yet to find any reference to floppiness.

I'm looking for recommendations so I do appreciate any feedback on any of these or others I have not listed.  Thanks!


  1. Hi, I don't know much about sedum varieties (I'm not even sure what kind I have, they're both inherited and I've no idea), but have you tried the 'Chelsea chop'? I perform this every year to stop my seedums flopping over...

  2. Thanks, Dozen Oaks! I haven't tried that but I do know what wonders that treatment works on my asters. Funny, it just never even occurred to me with sedums!

  3. Thanks for your comment on my blog, that's very kind of you! Glad I could help a bit with the floppy sedums, mine used to drive me mad too - I hated the bald patch in the middle of the plant I ended up with at the end of summer.

  4. Black Jack is a sport of Matrona, and in my experience it typically reverts to Matrona within a couple of seasons. At first I thought it was just me (or my garden, since it's mostly shade,) this happened to, but pretty much everyone I know who's tried Black Jack finds that it reverts. Oh well, it's ok, because I like Matrona better than muddy-looking Black Jack anyway!

    I concur with Dozen Oaks - pinching sedums early in the season really does help prevent the 'floppys.' (There are many other plants that really benefit from judicious early pinching too.)