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by Chris

My sedum stems have turned woody and the leaves are dropping off when I touch them. What happened? And how can I save it? The leaves all look good with no discolouration or infestation.

Hi Chris, without knowing a bit more about which Sedum you have and where you’re growing it, it’s hard to say what is going on.

If you have Sedum morganianum, or a related type, these are renowned for dropping leaves – the ground below a hanging basket can end up covered in shed foliage.

If this is the case, move the plant to a less trafficked place, especially if it’s windy; even the movement of a breeze can make the leaves drop.

For other species, this can be caused by too much watering; if you have any control over the amount of water the plant gets, minimize that to prevent more leaves dropping.

Luckily, most Sedum are so flexible that simply chopping off the damaged growth will encourage new healthier stems to emerge – I recommend this course of action if there’s any chance of spider mites, which can cause this to happen too.

Get rid of the leaves and stems in a hot compost pile, or in the trash to avoid re-infecting other plants.

Spider mite damage looks like the leaves are rasped, and sometimes you can see tiny webs. The mites themselves are tiny, and can only really be seen with a hand lens.

Other than that, without pictures, it’s hard to give you any other ideas.

Best of luck!