Increase Your Stonecrop Groundcover, Economically
Sedum is one of the nicest groundcovers for full sun, dry soil areas. But there are times when it gets sparse and bare – but don’t go buy any more! You can easily root your own to fill in the gaps.
There are problems with buying more; first, is the replacement the same species or variety? There are times when different types and textures is what you want, but other times you need to match what is already there.
Another problem is one that no-one tells you about.
The purchased replacements will be grown in different soil or media, in different conditions. They may or may not ever grow the same way. I’ve observed this many times, and now, I usually root a few cuttings right away of any new plants.
Seed propagation, besides being slower, is even more variable.
Here are three ways to get a cheaper alternative than buying more. Timing is everything. Late June is the best time to get more cuttings rooted, faster.
So, the three ways of raising more Sedum, all vegetatively.
- The first way is by far the easiest. You can cut off the longer stems of the nicest looking plants and lay them right on top of the soil.
In a week or two, even in super dry conditions, they’ll push out lots of tiny little pink roots.
Eventually, the roots insert themselves into the soil.
A little bit of lava rock over top will assist this process.
- The second suggestion is even easier, if that’s possible. Just put a few handfulls of gravel, scoria, used potting soil or lava rock in the center of the clump.
This will encourage those twining stems to go even further, even as the now buried stems make new roots.
- The third way to increase your supply is by taking actual cuttings, cutting off the tops of the stems to remove the flower buds, and dibbling them (singly or in a group) into a pot of well drained soil.
This is a good method if you want to start the plants in a new area, once rooted.
- Of course, there is a fourth method; simply striking the cuttings where you want them to grow.
I once sold over 10,000 cuttings, 1000 a week, to someone planting a green roof.
If they followed my advice they would have put bales of Sunshine Mix #4 in a layer about two to four inches thick, and put the cuttings at one foot spacings. Any extra cuttings would have been put into a holding bed in case any of the cuttings failed.
That would have been a sight to see!
Tips from the Horticulturist:
- Don’t use rooting hormone on Sedum – they don’t need it.
- Cut the flowers off, if you prefer. It’s not essential, but the vigor goes into rooting rather than flowering.
- Use dry soil, or let the ends of the cuttings callous before sticking.
One other way of propagating cuttings that I see a lot of people using is in water.
I normally don’t recommend this method for succulent plants, as there is such a huge risk of rot.
However, in the interests of science, I’ve set up a vintage bottle on my windowsill to see if this is a viable way of rooting Sedum cuttings or not. More to follow.