by John
(Alberta, Canada)

I am planting a large area of groundcovers with different kinds of Sedum. I’ve got several different Sedum spurium – my favorite is Dr. John Creech as it’s so compact, and I also have Voodoo and another red one which I think is Dragon’s Blood. Others are a yellow blooming one (could this be Fruland?) and a white flowered one, which was labeled as Album superbum, but it has the same leaves as the other spurium species, so I think they meant Sedum spurium album ‘Superbum’. I have plugs of all of these, and now I want to plant them in their final spacing, but I can’t find any information on how far apart to plant them. Is there a rule of thumb, or is each kind different?

Help, as I want to get this planted soon with our lovely weather starting to happen. With luck, they’ll be established before the blistering hot weather of July and August.

Drought Smart Plants reply:

This sounds like it will be a fantastic project once it’s done. If you want a uniform look, mix all your varieties up and plant them randomly. That way the different growth rates and habits won’t be an issue.

If you like the look of each type in a large drift, then by all means, plant in larger groups.

Each of the different species and varieties within the species will grow slightly differently. Some are more flat, like Sedum spurium ‘John Creech’, which is about 4-5cm, with flower stalks about 10cm tall. Plant John Creech at about 20cm apart.

Sedum spurium ‘Voodoo’ is slightly more sprawling and not as compact, with a similar growth habit to Sedum spurium ‘Dragons Blood’. Both of these will reach 6-7cm tall, with flower stalks up to 10-15cm. Space them at around 30cm apart and in four seasons they will be completely merged together. You can plant them closer, but the growth rate will slow down as they compete with each other. These two varieties seem to need more trimming, as they will end up with a bare spot in the center as the ends of the prostrate stems take all the nutrients. Pruning off the ends periodically will encourage more growth to start from the crown of the plant.

The yellow blooming one, if it is Sedum spurium ‘Fruland’, will stay as a very compact upright clump, seldom spreading very far. The bloom stalks are a little taller than the plant itself at 15cm.

Sedum spurium album ‘Superbum’ forms a large clump eventually, and reaches about 10cm tall, with flower stalks of up to 20cm. This forms lots of fresh growth from the center each year, and doesn’t seem to need much pruning, although responds well if a string trimmer is used to take off any excess growth.

I hope you’ll contribute some pictures when your project is completed and established. See this page for more: Your Xeric Garden Project.