The genus Sedum is a large group of plants with over 400 different species; it exists throughout the Northern Hemisphere. The varieties are known by their succulent leaves and stems and flowers with five petals. Some are adapted to very harsh Northern or Alpine cold climates, and others can tolerate much warmer and even tropical areas. Several types are very adaptable and have become a part of the everyday home garden.
Two-row stonecrop (scientific name Sedum spurium) is a medium-rate-growing perennial that stays below 4 inches tall and an additional 2 inches taller with flowers. The leaves are semi-evergreen and oval-shaped. Depending on the variety, the leaves are either dark green, bronze, green-red, red or variegated. The flowers bloom in early summer for two to four weeks on top of the stems in dense clusters. They are star-shaped and are red to light pink-colored.
Two-row stonecrop is great for rocky, thin soils that are low in nutrients. It will form small mounds between rocks and along retaining walls. It grows well in USDA hardiness zones 3 through 8 and like full sun to part shade. It prefers a constantly moist soil but will also do well in drier areas and is drought tolerant. It is very well suited to urban landscaping.
Sedum x 'Autumn Joy' is a 1 1/2- to 4-foot-tall perennial hybrid sedum plant that is very easy to care for. The tops of the stems have dense clusters of small pink flowers in the late summer that age to coppery-pink then rusty colored in autumn. The leaves are oval and a gray-green color on a succulent stem. In the cooler parts of its range it dies off to the ground in winter and re-sprouts in spring.
Autumn joy is perfect for rock gardens, borders and along pathways. It does well in USDA hardiness zones 5 through 9 and prefers full sun. It will tolerate any type of soil as long as it is well-draining. It prefers regular water, but is very drought-tolerant and can survive with little to no irrigation in all but the warmest areas.
Kamschatka sedum (scientific name Sedum kamtschaticum) is a slow-growing evergreen perennial ground cover that forms a dense carpet and small mounds. It grows to 3 to 4 inches tall on thin light green stems that trail along the ground, rooting at each node. It has flat oval-shaped and toothed light green leaves that turn bronze to gold colored in the winter. In early summer it produces yellow star-shaped flowers on the tips of the stems.
Kamschatka sedum needs full sun and well draining soil in USDA hardiness zones 3 through 9. It is very drought tolerant but prefers regular, even moisture.