(Sedum spectabile ‘Autumn Joy’)

Interesting Information About Plant:

Autumn Joy sedum bears an unusual flower well worth growing in its own right.  Autumn Joy grows up to 18 inches tall from a dense crown of shoots that emerge in early spring.  The stems are thick and strong and hold aloft the considerable weight of the 3-inch long, fleshy, gray-green leaves and the 4- to 6-inch wide cluster of flowers that appear in late summer.  The flowers, as they first begin to appear in mid summer, give the impression of a head of silvery green broccoli. Opening flower buds produce a mass of half-inch, five-petaled blooms in the shape of a sharp-pointed star.  This floral display is a progressive event with the plants blooming for about eight weeks. With such an extended blooming period, they are a favorite with butterflies.  Autumn Joy sedum's flowers can be yellow, orange, red, or pink.  The leaves, which grow in whorls, are sometimes variegated and range in color from bluish-green or greenish-yellow to reddish-pink or almost off-white.  This plant is a beautiful gardening idea and is very easy to grow, with it being easy to be transplanted and separated to any part of the garden.  It does not need a lot of water and related to succulents, both sharing the thick, waxy texture inside the leaf.  It is usually used as ground cover with well draining soil and can be grown on slopes, rock gardens, between stepping stones, and in containers. 

            But once blooms are over, don’t be in a hurry to remove the tops of the plants. The strong stems hold the spent flower heads aloft all winter long and create a pleasing mass of natural dried flower heads. In snowy climates these flower stems create a pleasing effect all winter long as small roofs of snow accumulate on the head.  The plant itself attracts a lot of insect activity, as a result for the plant’s flowers producing a wide variety of colors attracting them to its pollen.  The plant itself is also seen as an inhibitor for deer pests, therefore making them effective in deer control.  While it is a bulletproof survivor in the garden, it is not the least bit invasive or prone to crowd out its neighbors. Sedums are a member of the stonecrop family which is uniquely adapted to survive in shallow, dry soils. 

Common Name:  Sedum

Scientific Name:   Sedum spectabile ‘Autumn Joy’

Family Name (Scientific and Common): (Crassulaceae)  Orphine Family

Continent of Origin:  Asia

Most Distinguishing Morphological Features of This Plant: Drought resistant, stores water in thick leaves and stem.

Plant Growth Habit: Ground Cover  /  Upright Herbaceous  /   Shrub  

Height at Maturity: Between 1- 3

Life Span: Biennial (herbaceous)  /   Perennial

Seasonal Habit: Herbaceous That Dies Back in Winter   

Growth Habitat: Full Sun 

Manner of Culture: Garden (flower) /  Landscape Shrub-Vine-Tree  

Thorns on Younger Stem? No

Cross Section of Younger Stem: Roundish   

Stem (or Trunk) Diameter: Between The Diameter of a Pencil and a Broom-Handle 

Produces Brownish Bark? No

Bark Peeling in Many Areas? No

Characteristics of Mature (Brownish) Bark: No Mature Bark (all green)

Type of Leaf: Thick, Fleshy Leaf

Length of Leaf (or Leaflet): Less than Length of a Credit Card /   Between the Length of a Credit Card and a Writing-Pen

Leaf Complexity: Simple

Shape of Leaf: Simple    

Edge of Leaf: Smooth 

Leaf Arrangement: Opposite / Whorled (3 or more leaves per node)

Leaf has Petiole? No

Patterns of Main-Veins: Pinnate

Leaf Hairiness: Somewhat Hairy  

Color of Foliage in Summer:  Highly Variegated

Change in Color of Foliage in October: Changes to Reddish-Orange

Flowering Season: Spring 

Flowers: Tightly Clustered  

Type of Flower: Colorful Flower

Color of Flower: Yellow  /   Red  /  Pink  /  Purple-Violet  /  Multicolored 

Shape of Individual Flower: Radially Symmetrical

Size of Individual Flower: Smaller than a Quarter    

Sexuality: Male and Female on Same Plant

Size of Fruit: N/A

Fruit Fleshiness at Maturity: N/A  

Shape of Fruit: N/A    

Color of Fruit at Maturity: Green 

Fruit Desirable to Birds or Squirrels? No   

Unique Morphological Features of Plant: Disease resistant, effective in deer control.

Is the Plant Poisonous: None of Plant

Pesty Plant (weedy, hard to control)? No

Common Name(s): Witch’s Moneybags, Stonecrop, Live-for-ever, Autumn Joy Sedum

Louisville Plants That Are Most Easily Confused With This One: Sunflowers or it’s hybrid Showy Sedum.


Page prepared by:

Eric Gustafson

December, 2006


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