valtorrez(6b)September 21, 2013

Which type of sedum stays short and compact? I see some in other peoples yards and would like to plant. My mother-in- law gave me several clumps 3 years ago that were small and cute. Even last year they sort of got tall but still stayed compact. This year they are HUGE and flopping over.

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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

There are lots of groundcover-type sedums. I very much like "Vera Jameson", but there are many others available. Check the groundcover section at the nursery - that's usually where you'll find them, not next to the regular sedum.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 10:57AM
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I don't want the ground cover kind, just the regular upright sedum that does not get real tall

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 12:40PM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

If you pinch the upright ones several times during the early summer they will stay shorter and compact.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 4:51PM
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I have Neon and it stays compact and never falls over. In the past, I've grown Autumn Joy and it got much taller than the tag said that it would, and it always splayed and fell over. Not had that problem with Neon since I started growing it.

I also am growing Jaws and Pink Chablis, both of which are in their second year here and have not gotten very tall. Both are blooming right now. I also planted Chocolate Drop next to them. While it's not blooming, it has stayed a nice size too. Love the color of Chocolate Drop and the variegation of Pink Chablis.

I also have Autumn Charm but it has splayed out even though it is not very tall. Because of that, it does not look tidy.


    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 4:55PM
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I have 'Autumn Joy' in mostly sun and 'Black Jack' in part sun. Both splay open in those conditions despite the sandy loam in which they're growing. I'm guessing folks who have success at clumping forms are growing them in sand + full sun without supplemental water.

Whatever their form, I'd never be without them, even if they don't look the way I'd prefer to see them. Pollinators love them and since that's why I garden, I'm willing to overlook their habits.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 9:25PM
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This is my 'Autumn Fire' in peak color. This is so superior to 'Autumn Joy' for color, and also because it doesn't flop. I didn't pinch these back at all this season.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 9:30AM
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Upright sedums look best if grown in very lean, well draining soil in full sun, minimal watering and NO fertilizing. This is a plant that performs best with 'tough love' -- too good a growing condition will result in tall, lanky and floppy plants.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 1:44PM
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True, GG, but believe it or not, those Autumn Fires in my photo grew nice and upright in very rich and composty soil. I don't fertilize that area though because it's around a catchment pond and I like to deprive any algae of a meal.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 2:56PM
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What does pinching mean?

    Bookmark   September 29, 2013 at 7:55PM
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valtorrez - in my experience pinching is generally the act of using the thumbnail & forefinger to pinch off the top growth of a perennial or other plant (such as coleus) to encourage branching rather than top growth or to delay blooming. I'm no expert but would suggest pinching is generally most effective when performed slightly above two opposite leaf nodes or flower stems. The link below should give you a visual of pinching.

In addition to sedum, there are a number of plants that benefit from seasonal pinching in order to increase blooms, reduce flopping or encourage a greater harvest. For centuries gardeners have been pinching to increase either blooms or the harvest.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pinching plants

    Bookmark   September 29, 2013 at 9:15PM
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My favorite sedum is 'Class Act'. Like 'Autumn Fire' it is a compact grower that forms large, upright clumps. Does not need pinching back. The flower heads never have a bad color. They startout raspberry colored and then fade to wine. I highly recommend this plant.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 8:24AM
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Pinching always amuses me. Pinch? Not with sedums. Not unless you want to be out there pinching for ten times longer than you need to be. Whack them with a large shears. Whackwhackwhack. Pay no attention to where the leaf nodes are, just cut. They will look beautiful again within a few days or a week, and you can spend your time on tasks that really do require care.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 11:30AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

MMama, love your Autumn Fire Sedums, I wonder if you can post a photo once their bloom is over and what color they turn as they are aging? And did you purchase these locally, or are they offered by one of the national companies like Monrovia? Very pretty! I'm ready for a new sedum.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 2:49PM
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jackie_o(zone 5/6)

Whack them with a large shears. Whackwhackwhack.

That cracked me up!

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 7:32PM
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Thanks everyone, I think I will cut down like mulchmama said. Strangely this is first year they got so big. I think because we had lots of rain and I put compost and organic fertilizer around each plant this spring. When is best time to cut down? June?

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 9:52AM
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In Z5, I chop off about 3" of my Autumn Joy Sedum and then poke those little choppings into the ground anywhere I want a 'hedge' or mowing barrier. I poke the little 'choppings' into the ground three at a time. Sometimes I water them in -- other times I don't. The next year I have my little Autumn Joy Sedum hedge. BTW - I am working with acres so I can never have enough little hedges.

So simple and care free. I have tried other sedums that have a better look early in the season (the variagated one) or color in the fall, but for increasing and making that cute 'hedge', Autumn Joy' is the best!

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 6:02PM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

It may be all that compost and fertilizer that is making them flop. Sedums usually prefer a leaner soil, I believe.

I would still cut them back, but I wonder if you might want to stop fertilizing as much...?


    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 8:11PM
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