What makes sedum 'Autumn Joy' dull in color?

deanna_in_nh(5a/4b)October 9, 2010

I see 'Autumn Joys' that bloom with a deep reddish tint. My sedum 'Autumn Joy' always seems to have a much duller or watered down color. Actually, I assume it's an Autumn Joy. It was here when I moved in, and I don't know of any other sedum that looks like that. I also assume that it's an Autumn Joy because they are so popular.

Is there anything that affects the color? Would ammending the soil give it more vibrancy of tone? Any ideas?

Thank you!

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I wonder the same thing Deanna. Mine was here when I moved in as well, so I'm assuming AJ for the same reasons. It's a washed-out pink - looks nothing like the vibrant russet in the pictures you see on the web. The flowers on mine also started going brown early in the summer - I ended up clipping those off. There were plenty to bloom behind it, but still. What gives with this!?

    Bookmark   October 9, 2010 at 10:47PM
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pitimpinai(z6 Chicago)

Possibly it is not 'Autumn Joy'?
All of mine are reddish pink. Just gorgeous right now. I need to split all of them next spring. Most are flopping open at the center. :-P Absolutely indecent.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 2:51AM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

Dig it out and buy an Autumn Joy. They're cheap. Or get a start from someone--even cheaper.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 6:00AM
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coolplantsguy(z6 Ontario)

'Autumn Joy' is notorious for being mixed up in the trade. I've essentially given up on the true plant still being available on a consistent basis. Try similar forms like 'Brilliant' or 'Neon'.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 12:01PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

Autumn Joy a cultivar of Sedum telephium is not my favorite. I have found Sedum spectabile "Brilliant" to perform much better, with better color over a longer period. Al

    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 4:35PM
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So it's not anything about my conditions, like how hydrangeas change color with the acidicity of the soil? It's the nature of my dull, lifeless plant?


    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 6:11PM
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I'm thinking now about tossing mine and replacing them.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 6:48PM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

I grow many varieties including both Autumn Joy and Brilliant. Though I like Brilliant it is a much lighter pink.

If you buy (or find a source for spring cuttings) in the fall while the plant is in bloom you can check the color to get what you want.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 9:09PM
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Lack of pollinators maybe?

My Autumn Joy is nearly white when the blooms first open, gradually fading to light pink. They don't turn reddish pink until the bees have pollinated them.

There are other sedums that begin with a darker shade (such as Matrona).

    Bookmark   October 11, 2010 at 6:08AM
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I'm not sure which one I have. I originally thought it was Autumn Joy, but now I doubt it. Once the flowers color up, they are a bright pink, which is pretty. Unfortunately, it quickly fades out the sort of yellow/green/brown bile looking color, not so pretty.

Totally Confused

    Bookmark   October 11, 2010 at 7:40AM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

I'm wondering if the amount of sun received affects the color of the flowers? Maybe a bit too much shade if it isn't grown in full, full sun?


    Bookmark   October 11, 2010 at 8:22AM
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There are many varieties of tall sedum, Sedum telephium(Hylotelephium telephium) and Sedum spectible(Hylotelephium spectabile.) 'Autumn Joy' is a popular cultivar, but that does not mean that is what you have when you bought a home. I think the name Autumn Joy is getting used like Kleenex is used for tissues. Autumn Joy was marketed very well, and the name became synonymous with any pink blooming tall sedum.
The color has nothing to do with pollinators. It is has to do with the cultivar. Weather could play a role in how long they bloom and how fast the colors change.
I really like the cultivar 'Autumn Fire'.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2010 at 9:54AM
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>The color has nothing to do with pollinators.

As someone who planted their garden to attract pollinators, and spends an awful lot of time watching them, I can assure you that many flowers change colors after being properly pollinated. And this appears to include several varieties of sedum.

This is done as a cue for pollinators:

Here is a link that might be useful: FLORAL COLOR CHANGES AS CUES FOR POLLINATORS

    Bookmark   October 11, 2010 at 11:05AM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

My Sedum Joy has always been a dull brick red. It's okay, and I enjoy any color at this time of year, but I wasn't impressed with it. Maybe I need to try another cultivar.


    Bookmark   October 11, 2010 at 11:57AM
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newbie_in_nj(6b E/Central NJ)

I'd go with the trade selling plants as 'Autumn Joy' with too much variability.

Bought 2 at different times from different places and they are distinctly different colors. One's bright and a bit darker in hue while the other is a washed out pink.

It's been too cold here lately to see the usual bees covering blooms.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2010 at 4:16PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

I have "Brilliant" planted in two gardens two miles apart and can tell you the color is better in the hottest garden facing south, fronted with an asphalt parking lot. Al

    Bookmark   October 11, 2010 at 5:19PM
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Sorry, Torajima, I did not mean flowers don't change color because of or not because of pollinators. Of course they change colors because of pollinators and environmental issues too. I hope you didn't think I thought you didn't know what you were talking about.
I meant that the color the posters were talking about has nothing to do with pollinators. The posters were saying their color quality was inferior all around, and I believe it is because they were assuming they have Autumn Joy. As I've said before the name Autumn Joy has become synonymous with any tall late blooming sedum. I have received many varieties of Sedum telephium and spectabile from gardeners around the country and there is quite a spectrum of flower head color from dull to brilliant.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2010 at 8:34PM
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>I meant that the color the posters were talking about has nothing to do with pollinators

You're probably right. I noticed some sedum growing down a slope yesterday, it appeared to be the same variety, perhaps even Autumn Joy, but the plants on the slope (which likely had drier conditions) had brick red blooms, while the plants at the base had muddy brown ones. Which would lead me to believe that (in some cases at least) it's a watering issue.

But yes, I'm sure some people were sold mislabeled plants, especially if they bought from a big-box retailer.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 6:21AM
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So, the next and most important question: Let's say I replace my Autumn Joy by buying a full price plant at a reputable local nursery (that's saying a lot for a frugal WS and swapper!). When I buy the plant it is blooming in a brilliant and delightful shade. Can that brilliant and delightful shade be a product of special nursery conditions, i.e. high amounts of a particular fertilizer, etc.? Can I depend on that color in my garden being close enough to what I saw in the nursery?

Let me note that this morning I went out to look at one of my hardy mums blooming. Last year it was purchased and was a fairly common color up here, can't remember the name. It had petals that were pink on the edges and became lighter, to almost a white, as the petals moved inward to the center, which I believe was yellow. Now it still has the yellow center and the petals are a deep burgany. No, nothing reseeded. I have not had any burgandy mums as I don't like burgandy. This was also my first year to really notice spring as a gardener. I checked that bed everyday, watching as each of the plants broke ground. This plant did now show up from seed with the starter leaves, followed by true leaves. I emerged from its roots in the ground with the thicker stalks you see in a returning perennial. This mum reverted on its own to one of its parents. I have seen posters post this before, and many people have responded by saying it had to have been a seed and the poster just didn't know it. I know it with this one. It is the same plant.

So, even though I don't think Autumn Joy will revert to anything different, I know it is possible for the plant to behave differently once in the garden.

I appreciate all your thoughts and input!

    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 12:13PM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

My advice would be to forget about "Autumn Joy" and instead seek out a sedum cultivar known to have brighter flower heads. "Brilliant" is a good one.

But let's face it - none of us can *guarantee* that any plant you (or we) buy will never revert, or will live and be spectacular, or whatever. Try your best, enjoy what you have, and if you end up with something you really don't care for - replace it with something that makes you happy :0)

    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 2:55PM
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