say yes to sedum

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by Heather Shoning

this low-maintenance plant adds changing color to New Mexico gardens

WHILE IT’S NOT ONE of the showiest garden species—like zinnias or pansies or roses—sedum holds its own when it comes to offering versatility in landscaping and garden design. Sedum is a large and diverse genus, encompassing more than 400 species. These species vary in size, shape and color and come in low-growing groundcovers to tall, upright varieties.

Sedum thrives in full sun to partial shade and are part of the succulent family, known for storing water in their leaves, stems and roots, allowing them to thrive in arid, dry conditions—perfect for New Mexico yards. Some recommended sedum species for New Mexico include sedum reflexum (blue spruce sedum), sedum rupestre (Angelina sedum) and sedum spurium (dragon’s blood sedum).

During the growing season, sedum often produce attractive, star-shaped flowers in shades of white, yellow, pink or red. These flowers make them attractive to pollinators like bees and butterflies. Additionally, sedum foliage can undergo color changes throughout the year, with some varieties displaying vibrant hues in autumn.

Many sedum species work well as groundcover or in rock gardens. They are ideal for filling spaces between steppingstones, cascading over walls or adding color between rocks, while the dense foliage can help suppress weed growth.

Because they are generally low-maintenance plants, they are popular among busy gardeners or those seeking easy-care options. Sedum can also be easily propagated from stem cuttings, division or by simply laying a broken stem on the soil, where it can take root and grow into a new plant. They have excellent tolerance to heat, cold and poor soil conditions, and once established, they require minimal watering and are relatively pest- and disease-resistant.

Water them deeply but infrequently, allowing the soil to dry out between watering sessions. Overwatering can lead to root rot and other issues, so striking a balance is crucial. Sedum are generally hardy, but some varieties may require protection during New Mexico’s colder months. Mulching around the base of the plants can help insulate the soil and protect the roots from freezing temperatures.

Although they might not be the snazziest blossoms on the block, sedum are perfect for filling out your gardens with hardy foliage all year long.