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Sedum 'Herbstfreude' AKA Sedum 'Autumn Joy'

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James Kilkelly
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Joined: 30 May 2006
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Location: West of Ireland

PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2006 7:56 pm    Post subject: Sedum 'Herbstfreude' AKA Sedum 'Autumn Joy' Reply with quote

Sedum 'Herbstfreude' AKA Sedum 'Autumn Joy'
by GPI

We all know the type, a scene-stealer who shows off in front of others. You will find these characters making others look lowly in all walks of life, even plant life. Sedum 'Herbstfreude' also known as Sedum 'Autumn Joy' is one of those show-off plants.

It causes many earlier flowering plants to shrink back by displaying autumn colour they can never hope to match. This show-off is a clump forming herbaceous perennial growing up to 2 ft (0.6 mtr) tall with a similar width. Its fleshy and succulent leaves, a bluish-green in colour are a refreshing change from the normal plain green leaves that clothe many of the plants that fill our gardens today.

A grouping of Sedum 'Herbstfreude' AKA Sedum 'Autumn Joy'., photo / picture / image.

Children and adults alike are often fascinated by the way in which the plants fleshy leaves remain cold to the touch even on the most sweltering of summer days. Sedums are a plant form known as succulents, this means their leaves and stems store quantities of water making them cold to the touch and enabling them to tolerate dry conditions much like cacti.

Sedum 'Herbstfreude' really begins to show off when you study its large heads of salmon-pink flowers that appear each autumn. Eventually fading to a copper colour and then turning red, these dense flat-topped flower heads, up to 6 in (15 cm) in diameter are displayed from late September to late October. The clusters of flower buds pre-blooming look for the entire world like heads of broccoli.

The flowers are followed in November by equally showy clusters of brownish-maroon ripening seeds. These mature seed heads look great in dried floral arrangements or left on the plant. Leave the seed heads on the plant to enjoy the striking winter effect of the flat caps enhanced by a covering of snow or frost.

With winter flowers very rare, we must try to gain our garden visual stimuli from elements other than flowers.So take my advice, don't even attempt to cut your Sedum back until the spring to get the most interest from this plant.

An autumn flowering Sedum is one of the key plants to include in your garden if you wish to attract those brightly painted visitors known as butterflies. You should try to plan your butterfly garden so there are blooms all season long.

The Rhododendrons and lilacs will provide a spring feed for butterflies, followed by summer-blooming plants such as Buddleia. Then, in the autumn, along comes your Sedum flowers with a honey-like smell similar to those of the Buddleia.

The butterflies will surely appreciate this valuable late source of nectar seeing them right through to the winter. I have three Sedum 'Herbstfreude' planted in a cluster in my garden as I think that you need a good clump of Sedums to attract butterflies rather than having a single plant.

Sedum is really easy to grow, even in poor, sandy soil. It does best in well drained soils in full sun, but will tolerate a light shade.

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Saxifragales
Family: Crassulaceae
Genus: Sedum

Any queries or comments on Sedum 'Herbstfreude' AKA Sedum 'Autumn Joy', please post below.

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