Growing Sedum in Wisconsin

Overview

Wisconsin gardeners are always ready to accept a challenge. The state's growing season varies from 140 to 165 days from USDA zone 3 gardens of the north to southern and Lake Michigan shoreline areas in zone 5. Although sedum originates in the American West and Southwest, several varieties have acclimated to Wisconsin's winters all the way north to Lake Superior.

Step 1

Buy locally grown plants to guarantee hardiness. Sedum is not native to Wisconsin but many varieties have adapted and grow easily throughout the state.

Step 2

Choose a place in your landscape or garden appropriate for a guest from a semi-arid or alpine climate. Live-forever wants rocky soil, and garden stonecrop will attach itself to a rock wall. Find a sunny exposure with some light shade mid-day to keep your succulents well-hydrated. Locate your sedum on the southwest side of a building, tree or hedgerow to break the force of Wisconsin's wintry blasts.

Step 3

Add compost and sand to loam and cultivate to at least a foot deep to improve soil drainage. Plant stonecrop in a hole half-again as wide and deep as the root ball. Use the spread of the adult plant as your guide as to how far apart to plant them; stringy stonecrop may grow only to 6 inches wide, but varieties like European or showy stonecrop will need at least 2 feet to spread.

Step 4

Mulch plants with 2 inches of compost or wood chips each spring to help retain moisture and shelter sedum's shallow roots. Some, like stringy stonecrop and hens and chicks, grow by putting out runners that can be detached and replanted elsewhere.

Step 5

Fertilize plants monthly with garden fertilizer but stop fertilizing in August so the plants start to slow their growth as the weather cools. Cut tall sedum back to a few inches tall in October so that it is not knocked about and damaged by early winter storms. Hardy sedums need no winter covering in Wisconsin.

Tips and Warnings

  • Check your local university extension or Department of Natural Resources to find sedums that have adapted too well. Yellow sedum is listed as invasive by the DNR, and several species are classified as "escaped," meaning they have the potential to become invasive and crowd out native plants. Do not plant invasive plants and carefully contain other stonecrops in the landscape.

References

  • University of Wisconsin Stevens Point Herbarium: Wisconsin Sedums
  • Simply Succulents: Sedum Plant Care
  • National Gardening Association: Growing Sedum in Milwaukee
  • Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources: Invasive Sedum
  • Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: Sedums
Keywords: Wisconsin gardens, Wisconsin sedums, non-native plants

About this Author

Chicago native Laura Reynolds has been writing for 40 years. She attended American University (D.C.), Northern Illinois University and University of Illinois Chicago and has a B.S. in communications (theater). Originally a secondary school communications and history teacher, she's written one book and edited several others. She has 30 years of experience as a local official, including service as a municipal judge.