Of all the sedums, autumn joy (also known as Sedum herbstfreude) is one of the best known. With its strong stems and rich late-season color, this variety truly mimics its name. This low-maintenance perennial is ideal for the beginning gardener.
Taller than most sedums, autumn joy grows 18 to 24 inches high and about as wide. The fleshy leaves are gray-green and the flower clusters start as pale pink about mid-summer. Blossoms take center stage in fall when they turn a rosy-salmon and deepen to brick red with frost. The plant is hardy in zones 3 to 8.
Like all sedums, autumn joy is a succulent and will tolerate drought. It requires full sun and well-drained soil. The soil should not be too rich, or the stems will collapse once the plant blooms. Early spring is the best time for division.
Autumn joy works well in the flower border and is attractive to butterflies and bees. It pairs well with grasses, black-eyed Susans and other autumn bloomers such as asters and chrysanthemums.
Sedums actually do better being somewhat neglected. Too much water or fertilizer can cause their stems to flop.
Autumn joy is attractive from spring until fall. If stems go uncut, it is decorative in the winter. The stiff flower heads have a sculptural quality when dusted with snow, and serve as a shelter for wildlife.
- University of California
- Sitting Pretty: Colorful Sedums for Fall
- North Carolina Coooperative Extension
sedum autumn joy, perennials for sun, Sedum herbstfreude
About this Author
Gwen Bruno has been a full-time freelance writer since 2009, with her gardening-related articles appearing on DavesGarden. She is a former teacher and librarian, and she holds a bachelor's degree in education from Augustana College and master's degrees in education and library science from North Park University and the University of Wisconsin.