Red leaf sedum, also known as sedum spurium voodoo succulent plant, Voodoo Stonecrop, or Phedimus spurius ‘Voodoo’, and other varieties of the genus are drought-tolerant plants that require very little care and can be grown indoors or outdoors. They are excellent low-maintenance, non-toxic plants that help purify the air around them, and need very little sunlight to survive in the wild.
A common misconception about red leaf sedum is that it acts as an insect repellent; although this may be true in some cases, there are many different varieties of red leaf sedum and these plants only repel certain insects in certain environments.
When people see red leaf sedum plants in the garden center, it doesn’t take long for them to wonder what that odd-looking succulent plant name means and how the plant got it.
Sedum spurium voodoo succulent plant (also known as red leaf sedum) is a gorgeous trailing succulent plant that’s perfect for adding red color to your garden with its uniquely shaped, pointed red leaves.
If you’re considering adding this plant to your garden or want to learn more about it, here’s everything you need to know about this beautiful voodoo succulent plant.
Origin and distribution
Native to North Africa, sedum spurium voodoo succulent plant is a hardy succulent plant that requires very little care. It is known for its red leaves and small size. The plant can tolerate many types of soil as long as it has adequate drainage. In addition, it tolerates most types of light exposure but prefers full sun for optimum growth.
Sedum spurium voodoo succulent plant does not require much water once established. However, during periods of drought or when grown in containers, watering should be increased until plants are established.
For best results in growing red leaf sedum spurium, use a well-draining potting mix that contains some sand or perlite to promote better drainage and aeration. Like other succulents, these plants need excellent drainage so they do not rot at their roots from excess moisture.
Sedum spurium voodoo propagation
Succulents like sedum spurium voodoo are propagated by taking cuttings. Remove a branch that has four or five nodes and is at least two inches long. It’s important to use a sharp, clean knife when taking cuttings because plants can be easily injured with a dull blade. Dip your cutting tool in rubbing alcohol or water mixed with bleach to sterilize it before each cut.
To take a cutting, make an angled cut just below one of the nodes on your plant. The node will have either one or two buds on it; you want to make sure you don’t injure these buds during your pruning process. Once you have made your cut, dip it into rooting hormone powder and stick it into some moist potting soil—it should look something like a green stake sticking out of the dirt.
Make sure your potting soil contains lots of peat moss, vermiculite, or perlite for excellent drainage. If you live in a very humid environment, place your succulent cuttings inside a plastic baggie until they begin to root. Once they do root, transplant them into individual pots so they can grow healthy roots independently from their mother plant.
If you notice any wilted leaves on your succulent after transplanting it, mist them lightly with water until they perk up again.
Sedum spurium voodoo care information
The care of sedum spurium voodoo succulents is easy. It’s nearly impossible to kill a succulent; it is far more likely you will accidentally water it too much than not enough. Keep them in bright light, even full sun, and make sure they stay hydrated by pouring water into their pot once a week or so.
The soil should be dry on top before you water it again; otherwise, you can damage roots from rot. Never fertilize your succulents as fertilizer can burn their leaves.
If you’re planning to grow a voodoo sedum at home, it will need plenty of sunlight. However, if it grows in your yard naturally and isn’t getting any direct sunlight, that means there is something in your yard causing it to not get enough sunlight.
The red leaf sedum needs about 4 hours of direct sunlight every day. If your window is in indirect sunlight, try putting it closer to a south-facing window. You could also keep it in front of your patio door where it will be exposed to more light for a longer period of time.
The soil for succulents and cacti should contain only well-draining organic material, such as peat moss or coir. Other potting mixes can hold too much moisture and result in rotting. When planting your sedum spurium voodoo succulent plant, make sure to plant it with its original soil intact to ensure it stays healthy.
Water your plant when it looks like its soil is drying out. Do not allow it to sit in water. Use rainwater or distilled water. Once established, Red Leaf Sedum doesn’t need to be watered very often.
Just a small amount of water every few weeks will suffice if you have your plant inside an enclosed container with no drainage hole. If you are growing it outside, then once a month should be sufficient.
If you live in an area that gets lots of rainfall, then only watering once every two months may be necessary.
This plant needs to be fertilized often. Use a high nitrogen fertilizer like Espoma Cactus and Peperomia Food, or Espoma Rosedale Organic 16-16-16.
Sedum spurium voodoo plant will also benefit from micronutrients, so use an all-purpose fertilizer that contains zinc, copper, and iron-like Espoma Organic Micromineral Fertilizer 10-6-4 at half strength every other watering. Don’t overdo it, too much fertilizer can damage your plants!
The average temperature for growth is 60–65°F. Most varieties of sedum spurium voodoo will die if exposed to temperatures below 40°F, although a few varieties are hardy to 30°F.
At night in summer, these plants prefer it cool with temperatures around 55–60°F. During periods of prolonged cold weather, reduce watering and fertilizing.
Though many people think of succulents as desert plants, they actually grow quite well in humid environments. Like other succulents, red leaf sedums are water-saving and resistant to heat, which makes them a perfect pick for pots or containers on decks or patios.
The ideal humidity range for sedum spurium voodoo succulent plants is 40 to 60 percent. If your home’s air doesn’t fall within that range, you can create a humid environment by using a humidifier or placing your container on a tray of wet pebbles.
In addition to keeping your plants hydrated, high humidity helps them avoid problems like powdery mildew and rot.
Succulents and cacti are often seen as requiring little to no pruning. In reality, they all require some sort of maintenance, even if it’s just to keep them out of an ugly shape. To prune a succulent, look for damaged leaves that may be hanging by a thread or stems that have started growing outward instead of upwards.
Dead-heading these damaged areas help direct energy towards creating new growth and staying healthy. If you see an unattractive branch jutting out from your plant, you can either remove it or gently pinch it off with your fingers.
This will encourage new branches to grow in their place, just make sure you don’t break any part of your plant in the process!
When to repot
If you notice roots growing out of drainage holes in your container, it’s time to repot. It’s easy to tell if a sedum spurium voodoo succulent plant needs repotting: just remove it from its pot and check out how much space there is between its roots and where soil meets its container. If there isn’t much room, it’s time for a change!
Repotting your sedum spurium voodoo can be done at any time of year; just be sure to water your plant well before you do so. To repot, use a sharp knife or scissors to cut away some of the root balls that extend beyond the edge of its container.
Place it back into its new home, don’t forget to add some extra compost or a potting mix, and give it plenty of water until all dry spots are gone.
Being a succulent plant that needs very little water, and to be kept cool in order to survive, it’s common for Red Leaf Sedum to go dormant during harsh winters. It is not uncommon for some leaves to shrivel up and fall off as temperatures drop, but don’t worry! It will come back in Spring once you start watering again.
Even though they are cold hardy plants they still require a certain amount of chilling time before blooming again. This amount varies by variety. Some varieties can be forced into bloom earlier if exposed to cool night temperatures while others may need months of cold weather.
The best way to tell if your sedum spurium voodoo is ready to bloom again is by looking at its stem. If new growth appears on your stems then it’s safe to assume your sedum has gone through its dormancy period and should begin growing again when watered regularly.
Sedum spurium voodoo flower & fragrance
Red leaf sedum flowers are tiny, greenish-yellow, and star-shaped, held in tight bunches. The flowers have a very mild fragrance reminiscent of cucumber or ripe melon and emit an attractive scent that is strong enough to be noticed but not overpowering.
They typically bloom in spring or early summer, although they may bloom sporadically throughout their growing season. Although no hummingbirds or other nectar-eating birds visit them regularly, they do attract many bees, which pollinate them readily.
Sedum spurium voodoo grows at a medium rate, so expect it to take 3 years to reach maturity and you’ll be able to grow another specimen from cuttings after that. Its relatively slow growth means that your best bet is to keep it in its container and repot it every year or two.
It will grow well in a variety of different temperatures and light conditions as long as they are warm. They make great additions to windowsills, but do require some water every few days during periods of no rain.
Sedum spurium voodoo succulent plant is considered mildly toxic to both humans and pets.
USDA hardiness zones
Pests and diseases
Almost all plants, succulents and cacti included, have some kind of pest or disease that they can fall victim to. While some may be able to live through it, you don’t want your succulents or cacti to suffer.
Sedum spurium voodoo rarely has disease issues but is susceptible to spider mites, fungus, and scales. Common pests include aphids, whiteflies, and thrips. To treat red leaf sedum pests and diseases, apply a foliar spray of insecticidal soap or neem oil. The mixture should be diluted with water before applying it to your plants.
Sedum spurium voodoo, also known as devil’s tongue, is one of my favorite succulents. Like most sedums, it can easily adapt to a wide range of environments.
As long as it gets at least 4 hours of direct sunlight a day, it will thrive in just about any indoor environment with good drainage and moderately damp soil. When you take it outside in the full sun, keep an eye on it. If you see any areas that appear to be drying out, water them immediately.