Thursday, May 25, 2017

Sedums at High Altitude?   Solution: Container Gardening. by Lorrie Redman

Sedums! I wish I could write a jingle about them since they are some of my favorite container plants. It would start with (remember to sing this!) star flowered, succulent, eccentric and chubby. Ok, I admit I am not a poet or songwriter. What I do know is how relatively simple and interesting these plants are to grow.

Sedums are used by gardeners as waterwise, poor soil, low maintenance outdoor plants. Unfortunately, some sedums are not suitable for mountain gardens. At altitude, when planting outside, we are limited to planting sedum plants that are in zones 2-4. In reality, most sedums fall into zones 4-9. This limits our ability to purchase the large variety we see in the plant stores.  The solution to this dilemma is to plant higher zone sedums in containers. Then we may enjoy these plants all summer on our decks then bring them in for the winter.  

Quick Tips on Container Sedums
  • Sedums that are brought indoors over the winter months are best placed in a south facing window with bright light.
  • Sedums use cactus and succulent soil mixes. They thrive when their soil environment is not too wet or soggy.
  • Sedums require water when establishing roots the first year, but once established their water needs are in the red zone (1-3 zone) on your water meter. They are water smart!
  • Sedums prefer containers that are porous and unglazed. They need air for their roots and the containers need to let moisture escape. They are a great way to reuse your old terracotta planters or give you a reason to build your own hypertufa pot. Sedums love the counterbalance weight of hypertufa pots and the rough surface to grip onto.   
  • Sedums are relatively pest and disease free so long as they are not overwatered.  

The following are five Sedums you can plant either outdoors or indoors in the mountains:
S. acre (Goldmoss)                
S. album (White stonecrop)
S. divergens (Spreading stonecrop)   
S. spurium (Two-row stonecrop)
S. kamtschaticum (Kamschatka stonecrop)

With Sedums in containers you are not limited by zone, water or seasons.
You can be tempted by that fun plant in the nursery and bring it home!  

For more information on sedums for the mountains and foothills please refer to the following CSU fact sheets:
Ground Covers and Rock Garden Plants for Mountain Communities #7.413
Ground Cover Plants # 7.400
Plant Talk : Sedums #1046

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