Sedum 'Autumn Joy': a popular plant for early autumn interest
Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, sometimes also known as Hylotelephium spectabile ‘Herbstfreude, is a justifiably popular clump-forming perennial plant that merits a place in any garden.
Growing to heights of approximately 60cm, it has attractive fleshy glaucous green leaves. With such distinctive foliage, S. ‘Autumn Joy’ is an interesting plant in spring and summer, particularly when positioned alongside plants with contrasting textures and growth habits. From early autumn, however, clusters of small green buds burst into tiny pink flowers.
Initially quite pale in colour, these delightful little flowers progress to a deeper shade of pink before finally becoming rather brownish. October is the month to enjoy them at their best, as the late-season flowers are in their prime this month and will prove particularly enticing for any late-season butterflies.
S. ‘Autumn Joy’ prefers full sun, but can usually cope with some dappled shade earlier in the summer whilst other plants are taking the limelight. It will tolerate most soil types and is able to withstand windy locations and colder winters. It does not, however, like to be in wet soils, and is much happier in drier conditions. It can even tolerate areas ‘drought’ situations, and for this reason I like to see it at the base of walls (which tend to cast a ‘rain shadow’ or in gravel gardens.
From a garden designer point of view, I really love to use S. ‘Autumn Joy’ for added interest alongside the more exuberant autumn foliage displays. It is especially attractive against Cotinus ‘Royal Purple’ and Mahonia ‘Charity’, but also with a host of ornamental grasses. Most of the Miscanthus family are good here, as is Stipa tenuissima. I also like to leave the faded flowers heads throughout the winter- they provide an interesting display and look wonderful with a heavy frost or a light dusting of snow.
So, there we are. A great plant for adding colour and interest to your garden- Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ surely should be on your list for this autumn?
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