This groundcover forms mats of round, flat greenish leaves with red-tinged edges. In the winter, new leaves are burgundy, bringing a splash of color to the landscape. Native to the Caucasus, it produces tiny, star-shaped, rose-pink flowers and can endure below-zero temperatures. Use it to edge along a wall or plant it in a container and let it trail over the edges. Zones 3 to 8.
A hardy blue-green groundcover, sedum sediforme is a variety of stonecrop that grows up to six inches high and spreads in mats of leaves 18 inches wide. It produces tons of tiny yellow flowers in the summer and can withstand temperatures of 20 below in the winter. Plant it in a hanging basket and let it trail over the edges. Zones 4 to 8.
This stonecrop cultivar grows sprawling mounds of variegated white and green leaves that get tinged in red in the cool weather of spring and fall. It’s part of the SunSparkler series from plant breeder Chris Hansen and is derived from a sedum native to mountains in North America. They like dry soil and full sun. Give them rich soil or too much shade and they’ll become weak, floppy plants. They spread slowly over time, so they’re good for naturalizing an area. Zones 4 to 9.
Classic sedum good looks and low maintenance abound in this newcomer to the perennial garden. Burgundy tinted leaves decorate stems topped with reddish pink blooms. Count on ‘Oriental Dancer’ to give plantings a drought tolerant color splash. Hardy in Zones 5-9. Botanical name: Sedum ‘Oriental Dancer’
This low-growing groundcover sprawls in a thick mat of stems and leaves that turn burgundy in the fall and stay red all winter, bringing color to the garden when everything else is dead. Sedum spurium is native to the Caucasus region between Europe and Asia and can take temperatures as low as 40 degrees below zero. It produces tiny, star-shaped pink flowers that butterflies adore. Plant it on a sunny slope or in a container and let it trail over the edges. Zones 3 to 8.
Fall sedums bring strong multi-season interest to garden beds. Flowers shift colors as they develop from buds to open blooms. Faded flower clusters add color to winter scenery, too. Easy-growing sedum is rabbit resistant and a terrific pollinator plant, attracting butterflies and all kinds of bees. Site in full sun in well-drained soil. Drought tolerant plants grow 24 to 30 inches tall and 18 to 24 inches wide. Hardy in Zones 3-9.
Everyday glass containers can become wonderful terrarium art, says Joe Guggia, a member of the American Institute of Floral Designers and owner of JP Designs Floral in Santa Maria, Calif. These glass vessels are home to two varieties of sculptural sedum. The cylinder vase is planted with jelly bean plant (Sedum rubrotinctum) while the lower container nestles stonecrop, a lovely groundcover sedum.
Limiting the color palette can add elegance and unity to a hellstrip and make choosing plants easier. This Seattle hellstrip garden, featured in the book, "Hellstrip Gardening," boasts big-leaved silver sage (Salvia argentea), feathery Artemisia schmidtiana ‘Silver Mound’, blooming lamb's ear (Stachys byzantina) and tiny Sedum spathulifolium ‘Cape Blanco’.
With small spaces, sometimes the sky is the limit. "Add verticality. Small spaces need an element to draw your eye up," says Derrick Lepard, founder of Cultivators Design and Landscape. When you add height, such as bamboo in a container in this Atlanta courtyard, you don't need to spend money on plants to fill every space across the fence or wall.
Pack a tall container full of cold-hardy succulents that will give you foliage ranging from chartreuse to ruby red to black during the winter and blooms that open in the fall and last through the winter. Use fast-draining soil and place in full sun. RECIPE: ‘Wildfire’ Sedum (Sedum SunSparkler ‘Wildfire’, Zones 4-8), 2 plants; Job’s Beard (Sempervivum heuffelii ‘Jade’, Zones 4-8); ‘Boromir’ Hens-and-Chicks (Sempervivum ‘Boromir’, Zones 4-8), 3 plants; ‘Elsie’s Gold’ Sedum (Sedum spectabile 'Elsie's Gold', Zones 3-8), 2 plants; ‘Dream Dazzler’ Sedum (Sedum SunSparkler ‘Dream Dazzler’, Zones 3-9); ‘Touchdown Teak’ Sedum (Terra Nova TOUCHDOWN Series Sedum ‘Touchdown Teak’, Zones 4-9)
With succulent containers, you’re going for foliage, not flowers, so zero in on the leaves and mix a variety of shapes, textures and colors. This container recipe mixes and matches hens-and-chicks and sedum varieties hardy to 20 degrees below zero, so it can survive outside on your patio in deepest winter, under a blanket of snow. RECIPE: ‘Cebenese’ Hens-and-Chicks (Sempervivum arachnoideum ‘Cebenese’, Zones 5-8); ‘Black Pearl’ Sedum (Sedum album ‘Black Pearl’, Zones 5-8); ‘Old Copper’ Hens-and-Chicks (Sempervivum ‘Old Copper’, Zones 5-8); ‘Oktoberfest’ Sedum (Sempervivum ‘Oktoberfest’, Zones 5-8); Job’s Beard (Sempervivum heuffelii ‘Irene’, Zones 4-8); ‘Ruby Mantle’ Stonecrop (Phedimus spurius ‘Ruby Mantle’, Zones 4-8)