I’m thrilled to announce that this plant of the month is actually growing in my garden. After a long winter of reporting on evergreens and plants that “will soon make an appearance,” it’s wonderful to announce that Hylotelephium telephium—common name, Sedum “Autumn Joy”—is emerging!
I realize this perennial is extremely common in most Midwestern gardens. But that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable or less appreciated. Sedum Autumn Joy is one of the easiest perennials to plant, propagate, transplant, and maintain. It has unique succulent foliage and flat-topped clusters of fluffy flower heads.
In early spring (now, in my garden) it looks like this:
In summer, the plants form a dramatic bright green backdrop to more colorful annuals and perennials. And in late summer and early fall, the flower heads are tinged with a rosy hue—my favorite stage in the plant’s life cycle:
In autumn, this beauty takes center stage, with a brilliant fuchsia tint almost as dramatic as the leaves of the Burning Bush. Even in winter, Autumn Joy flower heads can be dried or left on the plants to collect snow in interesting patterns.
Sedum Autumn Joy is:
- Easy to establish and transplant. You can divide it and plant it at just about any point during its growing season. I’ve even pinched off single leaves and transplanted them successfully directly into the soil.
- Rabbit-resistant (see this previous post).
- Drought-tolerant, yet it thrives with moderate watering and rainfall.
- Happy in full sun or partial shade. Mine is planted on the west side of the house, which is shaded in the morning and bakes in the hot afternoon sun.
- A butterfly and honey bee attractor. Placed near vegetables and fruits, it helps attract beneficial pollinators.
- Likely to grow well in normal, sandy, or clay soil.
- A standout from late summer through late fall, when most other plants are fading.
While Autumn Joy was introduced to the U.S., other Sedums including Hylotelephium telephioides are natives. (Thanks to Carolyn at Carolyn's Shade Gardens for the note about this.) This lovely perennial is so reliable and easy to grow, I can’t imagine a garden without it. I was so happy to see the little clusters of new growth in my garden today.