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What to plant: Sedum sieboldii, a succulent
that deserves a stage of its own

March 2, 2010 |  7:14 am
2-001 Sedum sieboldii_JFR

Plants like Sedum sieboldii -- with stems that radiate outward from the center -- are the plant world's Fourth of July sparklers, but enjoyable almost all year. Most sedums are mounding, trailing plants grown as ground covers and in rock gardens, or as fillers for container arrangements. But Sedum sieboldii, also called October Daphne, deserves a pot of its own to showcase its beautiful scalloped leaves arranged in threes along arching stems.

Display Sedum sieboldii as the centerpiece of a patio table, use it as the focal point of a container grouping or let it cascade from a hanging basket. A red-glazed container will make the red margins of the dime-sized blue-gray leaves pop. The design pictured above is by Flora Grubb Gardens of San Francisco.

Keep soil moist but not soggy. Bright pink flower clusters will appear at the ends of stems in fall. In colder climates, October Daphne, which is hardy to temperatures well below zero, blushes bronzy red in autumn. It dies to the ground in winter. New growth appears in spring, which is when the plant should be lightly fertilized. In hot-summer areas, grow it in dappled shade.

Like most succulents, Sedum sieboldii can be started from cuttings, but as it takes a while for these to form a star burst, it's best to begin with a nursery plant. A variegated (cream-striped) form also exists.

Most nurseries with a good selection of succulents stock Sedum sieboldii or can readily obtain it.

-- Debra Lee Baldwin

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Photo credit: Debra Lee Baldwin
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