Stonecrops (Sedum) – The Complete Guide

As a succulent ornamental plant with summer blooms in enchanting colors, stonecrops (Sedum) have won many sympathies.

This perennial good-natured plant forgives many beginner’s mistakes.

Planting Stonecrops Properly

In order for the stonecrop to play to its strengths perfectly, the following aspects are relevant in the context of planting:

  • Keep them in a sunny location with a permeable, humic and sandy-dry soil.
  • Do not add compost or other fertilizer to the planting soil.
  • The planting depth corresponds to that in the seed pot.
  • Water stonecrops only a little after planting.

If you have concerns about the required permeability, optimize the soil with sand or grit and prepare drainage at the bottom of the planting pit with small shards of clay or grit.

Care Tips

The closer the chosen location comes to ideal conditions, the less effort will be required to care for stonecrops.

  • Water the ornamental plant in the bed only in the absence of rain.
  • Use collected rainwater or decalcified tap water.
  • Fertilizing is not necessary in the bed.
  • Protect stonecrops with coniferous branches in case of permanent winter wetness.
  • Prune in early spring by a maximum of two-thirds.

In the planting tray, water only when the thumb test indicates a dried substrate.

From April to September, you should administer a liquid succulent fertilizer at half concentration every 6-8 weeks.

To prevent the root zone in the planter from freezing through in winter, relocate stonecrops to winter quarters in the fall.

In a bright window location at temperatures of 41-50 °F (5-10 °C), water only enough so that the plant does not dry out.

Which Location is Suitable for Stonecrops?

This exotic ornamental plant perfectly sets off its visual charms in full sun or at least a sunny location.

But a few exceptions also tolerate a partial shade location, such as the purple Caucasian stonecrop (Sedum spurium).

In terms of soil requirements, there is widespread agreement among stonecrop species. The soil should be loose, well-drained, sandy-dry, and lean, with a pH of around 7.

The Best Planting Distance for Stonecrops

Since stonecrops give us species and varieties of widely varying growth heights and widths, the planting distance should be matched to the variety in question.

We have compiled recommended distances for you for the most common wall peppers:

  • 4-8 inches (10-20 cm) growth height: planting distance of 8-10 inches (20-25 cm).
  • 8-12 inches (20-30 cm) growth height: planting distance of 12 inches (30 cm).
  • 16-20 inches (40-50 cm) growth height: planting distance of 18 inches (45 cm).

What Kind of Soil Does the Stonecrop Need?

Stonecrops favor well-drained soil that is not too rich in nutrients.

An excess of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and trace elements will affect stability, especially on towering species of stonecrops.

Therefore, choose a sandy-gravelly soil texture that usually dominates in rock gardens and gravel beds.

In planters, the decorative ornamental plant achieves its optimum in loose succulent soil or a mix of potting soil, sand and lava granules.

Moreover, keep an eye on the soil acidity, because a pH of 6.5 to 7.3 is considered beneficial.

What is the Best Time to Plant Stonecrops?

You can plant homegrown or ready-bought stonecrops in the ground throughout the gardening season. But a date in the spring or fall would be a good choice.

Only under extreme weather conditions, such as frost or summer heat, should you refrain from planting.

When is Flowering Time for Stonecrops?

Although the flowering of stonecrops is visually secondary to the striking foliage, it still enhances the impressive appearance.

Depending on the species and variety, the flowering period of the ornamental plant extends from June to August or July to September.

Pruning Stonecrops Properly

As a wintergreen ornamental plant, the stonecrop chases away the dreariness from the garden with its eye-catching foliage. In addition, stonecrops provide a desirable refuge for beneficial insects.

Therefore, do not cut back the perennial plant in the fall. Leave the decorative medicinal plant in the bed until late winter, when you can rid it of withered foliage and unsightly stems.

Radical pruning close to the ground will prevent many species and varieties from resprouting. Consequently, shorten too long shoots by a maximum of two-thirds.

Watering Stonecrops

A prime example of a succulent ornamental plant, stonecrops do not tolerate waterlogging, even to a rudimentary degree.

Therefore, water the stonecrop only after the substrate has dried out. Preferably use collected rainwater or stagnant tap water, as all sedum species are sensitive to excess lime.

Fertilizing Stonecrops Properly

Cultivated in normal garden soil, the addition of nutrients is unnecessary. Compost and mineral fertilizer rather affect the desired compact growth.

In very lean rock garden soil or on the roof garden, an organic starting fertilization in March/April is completely sufficient.

In the narrowly limited substrate volume of containers and balcony boxes, compensate for used nutrients by administering a cactus fertilizer in half concentration every 6 to 8 weeks from March to September.


Diseases of stonecrops are rare to complain about. A weakened stonecrop is susceptible to stem and root rot, though, which is caused by fungal spores.

Unfortunately, if brown spots spread on the medicinal plant, while at the same time the perennial loses stability and falls over, there is no salvation.

Dispose of the infected stonecrop in the household trash and carefully clean all tools.


The fleshy leaves of stonecrops attract voracious weevils. You can recognize the infestation by round and semicircular feeding marks.

Since this pest also lays its eggs near the roots for the larvae to feast on, there is an immediate need for action. Both the adult beetles and their larvae can be controlled with nematodes, which are available from specialized dealers.

Wintering Stonecrops

Among the more than 420 species, the stonecrop genus offers a variety of hardy plants. If you buy a young ornamental plant for the garden, look for outdoor stonecrops, which are usually hardy to -4 °F (- 20 °C).

In the bed, only protection with coniferous twigs is recommended in a permanently moist winter.

In the pot or balcony box, it is advisable to relocate stonecrops to bright, frost-free winter quarters. Thanks to this prudence, you avoid the danger of freezing through the sensitive root ball.

Propagating Stonecrops

Among the many advantageous attributes of stonecrops is its foolproof propagation.

In early spring, grab your spade and prune off a piece of the carpet or aerie with at least 2 shoots.

At the new location or in a pot, plant the segment in lean soil, where it will quickly take root. Tall stonecrops will also provide vigorous head cuttings that you can root in the water of a vase.

Planted in lean herbaceous soil or in a sunny rock garden, your fosterling will transform into a magnificent ornamental plant in no time.

How to Transplant Stonecrops Properly?

If you want to change the location of your stonecrops, spring is considered the best time to transplant.

Loosen the root ball all around with a digging fork to lift the rhizome out of the soil. On this occasion, subject the roots to a decided examination to cut out puny or rotten parts.

Plant the ornamental plant in its new location as deeply as before and water a little. Pruning back at least 30 percent will compensate for the lost root volume.

Stonecrop in the Pot

A deep pot is less suitable for stonecrops than a shallow dish pot. Since this unusual ornamental plant develops a marginal root system or a dainty rhizome, it does not require an extensive substrate volume for cultivation in the planter.

Spread a layer of coarse-grained sand or lava granules at the bottom above the water drainage holes as drainage. Cactus or succulent soil is best suited for this frugal ornamental plant.

Water stonecrops only during prolonged drought. Fertilize them with a liquid cactus fertilizer every 6-8 weeks from April to September.

If winter is just around the corner, stonecrops should move to a bright windowsill to overwinter at 41-50 °F (5-10 °C). A topiary by up to two-thirds is ideally given to the ornamental plant in early spring.

Are Stonecrops Poisonous?

Stonecrops are classified among slightly poisonous plants. The low content of isocitric acid and malic acid is of concern, as this can lead to mild symptoms of poisoning if consumed.

Therefore, do not let curious children and pets within reach of this ornamental plant.

How Do I Care for Stonecrops As a Houseplant?

As an indoor plant, stonecrops transform plain planters into exotic eye-catchers, decorate the windowsill in a flower pot, or let its tendrils dangle elegantly from a hanging basket.

Thanks to stonecrops, even amateur gardeners with limited time capacity do not have to do without a green room decoration, because the care is so uncomplicated:

  • A bright location on the southwest or southeast window at 64-72 °F (18-22 °C) is ideal.
  • Water the ornamental plant only moderately with rainwater when the substrate has dried out.
  • From March to September, apply liquid cactus fertilizer every 6-8 weeks.
  • From October to February, place in a cooler spot at 41-50 °F (5-10 °C), water less and do not fertilize.

In early spring, thoroughly thin out the stonecrop and cut back excessively long shoots by no more than two-thirds.

Once the container is completely rooted, repot the stonecrop into loose cactus soil or a potting soil-sand mixture with a pH of 6.5 to 7.3.

Does Stonecrop Have Medicinal Properties?

Regardless of its low toxin content, stonecrop has made a name for itself as a medicinal plant.

Prepared as a tea, stonecrop prevents vitamin C deficiency and high blood pressure.

However, the medicinal plant should be consumed internally only in minimal doses to avoid unpleasant side effects.

Used externally, stonecrop relieves painful skin irritations and is effective against warts and corns.

Beautiful Varieties

  • Variegatum: A variegated stonecrop with white-edged foliage and miniature orange flowers. The height of growth is 4-8 inches (10-20 cm).
  • Bertram Anderson: A stunning purple wall pepper with plum-colored foliage and pink flowers. The growth height is 4-6 inches (10-15 cm).
  • Robustum: The ideal mediator between low and tall stonecrops with crimson summer flowers. The growth height is 8-10 inches (20-25 cm).
  • Euphorbioides Maximum: A tall golden stonecrop with a royal look and yellow flowers. The growth height is 12-16 inches (30-40 cm).
  • Carbuncle: A premium variety with dark foliage and flowers that sparkle like red gems. The growth height is 16-20 inches (40-50 cm).
  • Matrona: Stretches mightily in the height and is nevertheless steadfast with green foliage and pink bloom. The growth height is 24-28 inches (60-70 cm).