Sedum or crassulaceae is a very large group of flowering plants more commonly referred to as stonecrops. There are about 400 species of the succulent leaf, or fleshy leaved, group, from creeping plants to shrubs. Sedum is a perennial that grows back from the root every season. There are tall growing types such as the Sedum Autumn Joy and ones that grow low to the ground and creep.
One sedum creeper is the spurium coccineum, more commonly known as sedum stonecrop. One variety is the red sedum, or Dragon’s Blood. It is an herbaceous semi-evergreen that grows 4 to 6 inches tall when blooming. Red sedum grows well in full sun to part shade and is hardy to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) zones 3 to 8. Red sedum is a drought-tolerant ground cover with intensely crimson red flowers that bloom in late summer. They have a variety of leaf colors, including green, bronzed or variegated (depending upon cultivar).
Sedum kamtschatka or golden stonecrop is another variety of deciduous creeping sedum. This plant has light green leaves that are simple, smooth and succulent. In the spring they produce a dark yellow flower. The golden creeper can grow 4 to 9 inches tall and also prefers sun to part shade. They creep if given room but are easily removed due to their shallow root system. As with their red counterparts, they are hardy in zones 3 to 8 and are drought-tolerant.
Sedum Creeper Uses
The creeping variety of sedum does not climb vertically but rather “spills over” stone ledges, rock gardens, and along border edging. They can spread quickly under the right conditions. They do well in well-drained, acidic soil that is somewhat sandy or gravelly.
Green Roof Use
A more unusual use for the creeper sedum is on a green roof. A green roof is a layer of living plants that is grown on the top of a standard flat or sloping roof. There are several purposes for this type of roof. It conserves energy, reduces runoff, restores natural beauty to urban areas, and protects the roof. There are different types of green roofs; extensive green roofs and intensive green roofs. Extensive green roofs are influenced by Scandinavian grass roofs and built for environmental benefits. Intensive green roofs are more common in Europe and are more permanent and similar to traditional gardens. Certain plants are chosen for these roofs based on the growing characteristic of the plants. The golden creeper is one variety of plant that is often used on these roofs. Green roofs have environmental benefits both inside and outside the building.
Sedum or stonecrops are not susceptible to diseases and have very few pest problem. Even deer are prone to leaving most sedums alone. On the other hand, they are known for attracting butterflies and bees. Folklore suggests hanging living sedum wreaths on walls wards off lightning strikes. Sedum also has been suggested for medicinal uses as an energy booster.