Sedum album (White Stonecrop)

Sedum album

Sedum album, also called white stonecrop or stonecrop sedum, is an easy plant to grow that’s ideal for adding some extra greenery to shady areas of your yard or landscape.

White stonecrop is an evergreen plant native to Eurasia and North Africa, where it can be found growing in rocky hillsides and crevices. It has since become naturalized in many other regions around the world and makes an attractive houseplant or ground cover in the right conditions.

As with most succulents, sedum album thrives when grown in well-drained soil that mimics its natural environment as closely as possible.

If you’re looking to add some color to your garden, and also happen to have limited space, there are few plants better suited than sedum album (also known as white stonecrop). These low-growing, succulent plants thrive in small spaces, but they do need good drainage and prefer full sun over shade.

Origin and distribution

Sedum album is a low-growing, spreading perennial that originates from Europe and Western Asia. Also known as white stonecrop, it is valued for its unique appearance and ease of care. It is hardy in USDA zones 3 through 9 and prefers to grow in well-drained soil containing lots of organic matter.

Although sedum is relatively easy to maintain, it requires well-drained soil with lots of organic matter. It can be grown in full sun or partial shade but will not tolerate waterlogged soils.

This herbaceous perennial spreads by runners and forms clump up to two feet wide. The foliage consists of succulent leaves that are grayish-green on top and silver underneath. In late summer, plants produce clusters of small pink flowers above their rosettes of leaves.

Sedum album propagation

Sedum album

Propagate Sedum album via division or seed. In either case, you can use a trowel, spade, or cultivator to dig around in a clump of sedum and separate out individual plants. Ideally, do so when temperatures are between 55 degrees F – 75 degrees F and light is plentiful. If you’re sowing seeds, plant them 1/8 deep in loose soil with good drainage. Keep them evenly moist until they germinate, which should take 2-3 weeks.

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Once they have sprouted, thin to 6 inches apart.

Once your sedum has grown into a nice thick mat, usually after 3 years, it’s time to transplant it into its permanent home.

Transplanting should be done during spring or fall when daytime temperatures are above 60 degrees F and nighttime temps don’t dip below 50 degrees F. Dig up your sedum by hand or with a shovel. You can divide it into smaller pieces at this point if you want more plants from each original root ball.

Plant each piece of sedum at least 8 inches deep and 18 inches apart from other plants to allow for adequate air circulation and sunlight penetration. Water thoroughly once transplanted but then let dry out before watering again as too much water will cause root rot.

Sedum album care information

Sedum album

Sedum albums will grow in many different types of soil, but they prefer a good quality well-drained sandy loam. They do not need to be fertilized, but if they are fertilized with a slow-release fertilizer once during early spring and again in mid-summer they will flourish.

If fertilizer is used, it should only be applied to promote blooming and prevent overfeeding. Sedum requires no pruning other than occasionally removing old flower stalks so more blooms can develop on new growth.

Light requirement

Sedum album prefers full sun to partial shade. White stonecrop grows well in dappled or full sunlight. Although it prefers full sun and will grow larger, it will tolerate partial shade if necessary.

Keep in mind that less light means fewer flowers and smaller leaves. Shade tolerance is greatest when plants are young, so as they mature they will be less tolerant of shade and more tolerant of sun.

Soil/potting mix

It is a good idea to use a good mix for indoor plants. If you are buying one, be sure it has drainage holes to allow excess water to drain out and keep your plant from drowning. If you want to make your own mix, use equal parts of potting soil, vermiculite or perlite, and coarse sand.

This will help with drainage and aeration as well as provide nutrients. Be sure to check with your local garden center on what they recommend for their area as far as mixes go.

Watering

Water newly-purchased sedums once a week; then reduce watering to every two weeks after that. Giving your sedums too much water can cause root rot, so be careful not to overwater them; water thoroughly and allow excess moisture to drain away from the plant, then wait for a few days before watering again.

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Reduce frequency of watering in winter, when plants will survive on less frequent waterings. The best way to tell if you’re giving your sedum enough water is by checking its leaves: if they’re starting to turn yellow or brown, it’s time to increase watering.

Fertilizer

Sedum album responds well to fertilizer in spring. Apply a general-purpose fertilizer at a rate of 1 pound per 100 square feet. A slow-release, organic fertilizer is best. While fertilizing, keep in mind that it’s better to apply too little than too much.

The plant will compensate by using stored nutrients over time if it isn’t getting enough nutrients immediately.

Fertilize once every three weeks during the spring and summer months. In fall and winter, cut back on feeding so that new growth doesn’t appear until early spring.

Temperature

The ideal temperature range for Sedum album is 55 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. It will survive temperatures in the upper 30s and lower 50s, but below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, you’ll want to protect your sedum. If your climate drops below freezing on a regular basis, you may need to either move your plant indoors or wait until spring to plant it outdoors.

Humidity

The humidity requirements for stonecrop sedum are 40%-80% when it’s actively growing and 20%-40% when it’s resting. Humidity tends to be one of those things that’s easier to control than you might think.

Most people who have moisture problems with stonecrop sedum are making a few simple mistakes.

First, they tend to over-water their plants. Second, they don’t let their soil dry out between waterings. Third, they don’t use a container with adequate drainage holes in it.

Fourth, they place their plant in an area where it doesn’t get good air circulation. In other words: make sure your plant isn’t sitting in its own water or sitting in stagnant air.

Pruning

It is easiest to prune Sedum album once they have been in place for a year or two. The easiest time to prune them is before they bloom. White stonecrop grows slowly but only needs pruning every few years, though you should never cut more than one-third of a plant at one time.

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In spring, you can simply pull up and throw away dead stems or thin out plants that are too thick and full. However, if you want to make more drastic changes, wait until after flowering has finished.

Deadhead spent blooms by cutting back stems just above a set of leaves. You can also remove whole branches by snapping them off near their base; new growth will sprout from below where they were attached.

When to repot

If a plant is allowed to remain in its container for too long, it may become pot-bound and not as able to absorb nutrients from its soil. Additionally, if plants are kept in a small container for too long, they can become top-heavy and fall over.

To avoid these issues, repot your stonecrop when you notice new growth slowing down or when roots begin growing out of drainage holes. For best results, place sedum in a larger container that has plenty of room for new growth.

Use a good quality potting mix that drains well and contains high levels of organic material. The ideal time to repot sedum is during late spring or early summer when temperatures are warm but nights aren’t yet hot enough to cause damage to tender young roots.

Dormancy/Winter rest

Sedum album has a moderately long dormancy, during which it is very important to keep it dry. If you live in an area that gets very cold in winter and still have your plant outside, you may want to bring it inside. Put your sedum on a counter or table and wait for the new growth of spring before repotting it in fresh soil.

During its dormant period, water only when you see signs of shriveling. Be sure not to over-water while it’s dormant as overwatering can cause root rot. Water only when the top inch or so of soil is dry; otherwise don’t water at all until new growth appears in spring.

During dormancy, the white stonecrop will drop its leaves and won’t need any fertilizer either.

Sedum album flower & fragrance

Sedum album

Sedum album produces tiny, star-shaped white flowers in mid-summer, and releases a fragrance like violets when they bloom. The leaves are dull green and oval-shaped.

They grow in clusters at each of its horizontal branches to give it an overall oval shape. In late summer or early fall, tiny pinkish-white berries appear on white stonecrop vines. Each vine will have berries all along its branches making them easy to spot against their dark green leaves.

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Growth rate

Sedum album is a slow-growing plant, and while it can be used in perennial beds or ground cover, sedums are usually grown in rock gardens. These care tips will help you keep your white stonecrop healthy and growing.

Toxicity

Plants in the Sedum genus are generally considered to be safe to use around dogs and cats. Keep your pets away from these plants when they’re young, as they can cause mild digestive issues if ingested by them.

Ingestion of larger amounts of any part of a plant in the Sedum genus could cause organ failure, so keep your pets away from larger plants and make sure they are not consuming anything except water while they are being treated with sedums.

USDA hardiness zones

Sedum album thrives best in USDA hardiness zones 3-9. In colder climates, it can be grown as an annual. It is important to note that sedum album is not frost tolerant and should be covered with a blanket or burlap when temperatures drop below freezing.

Pests and diseases

Sedum album is susceptible to many pests and diseases but is generally easy to grow. White stonecrop can be affected by a variety of insects, including aphids, thrips, mites, and beetles.

In addition to damaging leaves and stems, these bugs are a nuisance because they secrete plant fluids or excrete from their bodies onto leaves or stems that give off an unpleasant odor when it rains. The best way to avoid problems with pests is to keep white stonecrop healthy and growing vigorously.

If you notice any signs of infestation, spray plants with insecticidal soap in the early morning or late evening while beneficial insects are active; repeat every seven days until the problem has been resolved.

Conclusion

Sedum album is an easy-to-grow perennial with few serious problems. It’s a great ground cover that makes a wonderful addition to any sunny garden bed or container.

It thrives in full sun and looks fantastic in pots. In colder climates, it can be grown indoors during winter and even used as a houseplant. It’s one of my favorite low-maintenance plants!