Stone Crop – Plant Profile

Upright Showy Stone Crop and creeping sedums at Kalleco Nursery. Other Names: Succulents, Sedum

“Stone Crop” refers to a family of perennial, flowering plants in the succulent family. You might have also heard them called sedum. Both of these are broad terms for plants that come in literally all shapes, colors, and sizes. What all these plants have in common, however, is their hardiness.

While they’re popular as potted plants, stone crop is actually a fantastic addition to your landscape. Succulent plants hold water in their leaves, which makes them especially drought-tolerant. Minimal water and maximum sun are what these plants crave, and if you’re looking for late summer interest, stone crop has you covered. These plants bloom from late summer into early fall with dense clusters of tiny flowers.

The pink flowers of Sedum Spurium "John Creech"

The flowers of Sedum Spurium “John Creech”.

There are over a hundred plants in the stone crop family! We have a couple types at the nursery that are native to New York.

  • Sedum or “Showy Stone Crop” – You’ve probably seen the variety “Autumn Joy” before, showing off some amazing red or pink flowers in the late summer. This variety grows in tight clusters of upright stalks. In August and September, they have showy displays of dense clusters of small flowers. That’s where this type of stone crop get’s its nickname, “Showy Stone Crop”.
  • Sedum Ground Covers: We have several varieties of creeping sedum at the nursery. These make for great niche plantings in stone walls and rock gardens. Some varieties of creeping sedum bloom as well, with flowers similar to those found on the upright varieties.

Planting and Care

Caring for stone crop plants varies greatly depending on the species. A few things are common. These plants love full sun and well drained soil. Creeping sedum requires little to no care or watering once established.

A side view of upright stone crop.

Stone Crop “Autumn Joy” and “Lemonade”

For upright, showy stone crop (like “Autumn Joy” or “Lemonade”), treat them like any perennial. Water sparingly during dry periods. Stalks can be cut back to the ground in either the late fall or early spring. If left alone until the spring, they can create some winter interest with their unusual shape. To prevent flopping over, make sure they get at least 6 hours of sun a day. Divide in the spring for additional plants!

Uses and Designing

If you have a dry, sunny area, stone crop is ideal. Smaller, creeping varieties (like “Dragons Blood” or “John Creech”) are perfect as niche plantings for stone walls. Upright varieties like “Autumn Joy” make great additions to full sun planting beds and gardens. You’ll get a great show of color in August and early Autumn when the rest of your garden might be looking a little lackluster.

Plant upright stonecrop as an autumn show piece in a bed with other drought-tolerant favorites like Russian Sage or Yarrow. If you want a unique spin on a traditional landscape, go for a stone garden with smaller varieties of sedum interspersed for color. Looking for an alternative to traditional grass? Plant a mix of sedum ground covers for lots of texture with half the maintenance.

Fun Fact: Stone Crop has been grown by people for hundreds of years. During that time, it’s picked up some strange nicknames. Here are a few of our favorite names for different stone crops:

Witch’s Money Bags
Frog Stomach
Orphan John
Hen and Chicks
Ice Plant

Want to know more? Send us an email or give us a call, or stop by the nursery!