Most people think of the conical, Colorado-native, pin-needled tree when they hear the term “blue spruce.” When you compare this large tree with the ground-loving Sedum Blue Spruce plant, the two almost couldn’t be any more different. Yet if we were the size of small insects, Sedum Blue Spruce might seem as big as blue spruce trees.
If you’re curious about this fast-growing sedum, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll discuss what Sedum Blue Spruce looks like, how to care for it, and what issues you may encounter. Sedum Blue Spruce makes a colorful, calming addition to any garden, even if you don’t have the world’s greenest thumb.
What is Sedum Blue Spruce
A member of the Crassulaceae family of the genus Hylotelephium, Sedum Blue Spruce originally grew in the highest elevations in North America and drier parts of South America. A popular stonecrop, Sedum Blue Spruce is a perennial succulent that requires little in the way of water and lots in the way of sun. This plant provides tight ground cover and spreads rapidly as it grows.
Sedum Blue Spruce has often been used as a lawn substitute. It lives for about 10 years and turns purple when temperatures begin to drop. As the inclusion of “blue spruce” in the name suggests, Sedum Blue Spruce leaves look similar to blue spruce or conifer needles.
Sedum Blue Spruce is also known by the following names:
- Sedum reflexum
- Sedum rupestre
- Blue Spruce Sedum
- Stone Orpine
- Jenny’s Stonecrop
- Blue Spruce Stonecrop
- Crooked Yellow Stonecrop
Did you know that Sedum Blue Spruce is an edible plant? You can use it as an herb or add it to your favorite salads for a pop of color.
Plants Similar to Sedum Blue Spruce
Believe it or not, many other blue-colored sedum plants exist, some of which bear additional resemblance to Sedum Blue Spruce, including:
- Sedum cauticola (Showy Stonecrop)
- Sedum acre (Moss Stonecrop)
- Sedum erythrostictum (Frosty Morn)
- Sedum kamtschaticum
- Sedum rupestre (Angelina)
- Sedum spurium (Elizabeth)
- Sedum cyaneum (Rose Carpet)
Many other miscellaneous succulent plants share similar characteristics with Sedum Blue Spruce.
Sedum Blue Spruce Characteristics
Like many other sedum for groundcovers, Sedum Blue Spruce exemplifies what it means to be a hardy plant. This sedum can be grown in a border or a sedum tapestry. It’s easily identifiable by soft, pale blue needles. Despite their prickly look, Sedum Blue Spruce needles don’t poke like blue spruce tree needles.
This stonecrop grows anywhere from 12 to 18 inches across when fully mature, though it can quickly spread out from there unchecked. Height varies from three to four inches up to six inches tall when in bloom. Sedum Blue Spruce typically grows in stony, rocky areas with little water.
Slower-growing sedums beware of Sedum Blue Spruce, which quickly overtakes unclaimed soil to extend its reach. During the summer, Sedum Blue Spruce sprouts clusters of bright yellow flowers attractive to bees and butterflies. These flower cluster spikes can push the plant’s height to nine to 10 inches during June and July.
Sedum Blue Spruce Care
If you plan on using Sedum Blue Spruce as a bedding plant, it’s best to plant them about 10 inches apart. Doing so will help them spread out and still fill the spaces between other plants without overcrowding. Sedum Blue Spruce doesn’t require a lot of ground cover, as the roots can easily take hold at a shallow depth.
If you foster Sedum Blue Spruce plants in pots or containers, pinch or trim them for bushier growth. Read on to learn more about how to care for your Sedum Blue Spruce plant.
Sun and Soil
Full sun and well-drained soil make any Sedum Blue Spruce plant happy. You can grow this particular sedum in USDA Zones 3 through 9 in any pH-level soil. Sedum Blue Spruce prefers full sun but tolerates shade once in a while. This sedum thrives in gravelly or sandy soil without much need for fertilization.
Indeed, too rich of soil will create floppy tendrils in a Sedum Blue Spruce. Many gardeners fill out green roofs, rock gardens, and mass plantings with Sedum Blue Spruce. The dynamic shaping of the leaves and the green-blue coloring give this plant depth among other vibrant sedums and succulents.
Sedum Blue Spruce survives on very little water. This drought-resistant sedum requires watering from below the ground or at ground level only, especially during the growing season. Avoid planting Sedum Blue Spruce where water can pool, as damp conditions offer plentiful breeding grounds for all kinds of infections. When you do plant Sedum Blue Spruce, water only enough to where the soil settles. Refrain from watering again until temperatures climb.
You can propagate Sedum Blue Spruce via cuttings, root ball division, layering, or sowing seeds. If you plan on sowing seeds—indoors or out—wait until the frost has gone. You can also break part of the healthy plant off in early or late summer and plant it in the soil. Roots will begin to take hold, and a new Sedum Blue Spruce will appear.
Common Sedum Blue Spruce Issues
Common pests that affect Sedum Blue Spruce plants include:
Bacterial and fungal infections typically occur in damp conditions where soil retains water for extended periods. Overcrowding and overwatering can push plants to decline further. However, Sedum Blue Spruce is rabbit and deer-resistant.
A reader name Roger from North Carolina wrote in asking if his Sedum Blue Spruce was dying after notice discoloration and brittleness among the stems.
I planted some Blue Spruce Sedum a few weeks ago and now some of the plants are getting red at the lower end of the stems and they break off when you touch them. I fear they are dying. Can you tell me what this might be caused by and how I can cure it?Roger from Cornelius, NC
If your Sedum Blue Spruce exhibits red stems that are brittle to the touch, the plant may be going through an adjustment phase. The coloring also indicates a physiological response to brighter light, higher temperatures, and drier conditions. Sedum Blue Spruce should regulate itself with some time, but keep a close eye on it in case anything changes.
Now that you know more about Sedum Blue Spruce, visit your local nursery to purchase a few plants of your own. This sedum plays well as a backdrop plant, ready to provide muted blue colors to an otherwise vibrant garden. Add a few more sedum plants, and you’ve got the beginnings of your own xeriscaped garden.