Last updated: October 26, 2021

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The 2021 perennial of the year can be found in many gardens, as it is very easy to grow and the flowers sometimes start to form as early as June and last optimally until autumn. During this long flowering period, the plant often becomes a magnet for butterflies and various other insects.

Since there are almost 400 different varieties, we will explain in this article what exactly you have to look out for.




Summary

  • Buttercups are mainly used for garden design.
  • In total, there are almost 400 different species of stonecrops.
  • Stonecrops come from different regions of the world, which is why they each have preferred locations.

The Best Fat Hen: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a stonecrop

What is a stonecrop?

The German name Fetthenne or fat leaf usually refers to the species that grow in a horst.

Stonecrops, also known as sedums, belong to the thick-leaf family. There are over 400 different species in total, which are mainly found in the subtropical and temperate zones of the northern hemisphere.

However, certain species can also be found in South America and Central Africa, but the greatest diversity of buttercups is found in North America, followed by Asia.

During this long flowering period, the plant often becomes a magnet for butterflies and various other insects. (Image source: pixabay.com / congerdesign)

The leaves serve the plants as water reservoirs, which is why they are found in the wild almost exclusively in steppes, dry mountain regions, rough grasslands or on dunes. The plants prefer the sun, but some also prefer partial shade.

What can stonecrop be used for?

Stonecrops can be used for many different purposes, but this depends mainly on the type of plant. A distinction is made between carpet-forming stonecrops, taller stonecrops and tall stonecrops.

In the following table we have clearly presented the areas of use of the different species.

Creeping stonecrop species use
Carpet-forming species dry stone walls, green roofs, rock gardens and grave design
Tall stonecrops bedding perennials for gardens
Tall stonecrop pot planting, excellent cut flowers and autumn wreaths

When is the flowering time of stonecrops?

The flowering time of stonecrops differs depending on the type of plant. Some flower already in summer and others only in autumn. In the following table, we have clearly presented the most popular species and their flowering time for you.

Stonecrop species flowering time
Beautiful stonecrop July to September
Golden stonecrop June to July
Purple stonecrop August to October
Caucasian stonecrop June to August

How do you care for a stonecrop properly?

Due to the water-storing and thick-fleshed leaves, it is recommended to water the plant only on particularly hot days or during prolonged dry periods, as it needs very little water.

Fertilising the plant can be dispensed with all year round and should only be used when urgently needed. The plant should be provided with a little fresh compost in autumn.

Another important tip is that the plant should not be cut back until spring, as it is a hardy perennial.

There are almost 400 different species of this plant. (Image source: pixabay.com / manfredrichter)

Which locations are suitable for stonecrops?

Since buttercups come from different regions, they also prefer different locations. In the table below we have listed several popular species and their preferred locations.

Stonecrop species location soil
Beautiful stonecrop sunny moderately moist, nutrient-rich
Golden stonecrop full sun moderately moist, normal
Purple stonecrop sunny moderately moist, nutrient-rich
Caucasian stonecrop sunny moderately nutrient-rich

Decision: What types of stonecrops are there and which is the right one for you?

Basically, you can distinguish between four different types of stonecrops:

  • Beautiful stonecrop (Sedum spectabile)
  • Golden stonecrop (Sedum floriferum)
  • Caucasus stonecrop (Sedum spurium)
  • Purple stonecrop (Sedum telephium)

The different types of stonecrops differ mainly in their flowering, flowering time, growth height and shape and their preferred locations.

What are the characteristics of the Sedum spectabile and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The beautiful stonecrop is the best-known plant among the stonecrops. Its long flowering period from July to September makes it perfect for the foreground of borders and beds. It is also possible to grow the plant in containers and pots.

The late-flowering summer perennial is richly covered with star-shaped and pink flowers in summer, but they retract in winter. The preferred location for this tall species is in a sunny spot.

Advantages
  • Well suited for the foreground of borders and beds
  • can also thrive in pots and tubs
  • very long flowering period (July to September)
  • abundant with star-shaped and pink flowers
Disadvantages
  • Flower retracts in winter
  • Late-flowering summer perennial
  • Grows very tall
  • Needs a sunny position (45 cm)

What are the characteristics of a golden stonecrop (Sedum floriferum) and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The golden stonecrop is a mat-forming species that is always green and only grows about 15 cm high. The plant is absolutely easy to care for and tolerates moisture very well, but it prefers a full sun location.

The flowering time of this plant is very short compared to other species, as it is only from June to July.

Advantages
  • Absolutely easy to care for
  • Very tolerant of moisture
  • Does not grow so high (only up to 15 cm)
Disadvantages
  • Prefers a full sun location
  • Short flowering time (June to July)

What distinguishes Caucasus stonecrop (Sedum spurium) and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Caucasus stonecrop is perfect as a ground cover because it is an evergreen, mat-forming plant. The perennial grows to a maximum height of 10 cm, but it develops very quickly in width. It is also very vigorous and easy to care for.

A big plus is the plant's long flowering period, from June to August. However, it always needs a sunny location, which can sometimes be very difficult, especially in Germany or Austria.

Advantages
  • Works well as a ground cover
  • Grows to only 10 cm high
  • Very easy to care for
  • Long flowering period (June to August)
Disadvantages
  • Grows quickly
  • Very fast-growing
  • Requires a sunny position

What are the characteristics of a purple stonecrop (Sedum telephium) and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The purple stonecrop, or Sedum telephium, is perfect as a foreground plant for borders and raised beds. The plant is very structuring and stands out especially because of its purple leaves.

A minus point is the unfortunately very short flowering period from August to October and that it retracts in winter.

Advantages
  • Suitable as foreground for borders and perennial beds
  • Structure-giving plant
  • Striking leaves Colours
Disadvantages
  • Retracts in winter
  • Short flowering period (August to October)

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate stonecrops

In the following, we will show you which aspects you can use to decide between the many possible stonecrops.

The criteria you can use to compare the stonecrops with each other include:

In the following paragraphs we will explain what each criterion means.

Flowering time

One of the most important criteria when buying a stonecrop is the flowering time. Depending on the type of plant, the flowering time ranges from July to September or June to August, some have a shorter flowering time and others a longer one.

In the table below, we have listed the most popular species and their flowering time for you.

Stonecrop species flowering time
Beautiful stonecrop July to September
Golden stonecrop June to July
Purple stonecrop August to October
Caucasian stonecrop June to August

Planting location

Another consideration should be the planting location. As the different species come from different regions of the world, they also prefer diverse locations. Some species prefer rather full-sun locations and others rather less.

In the table below we have listed several popular species and their preferred locations.

Stonecrop Species Location Soil
Beautiful stonecrop sunny moderately moist, nutrient-rich
Golden stonecrop full sun moderately moist, normal
Purple stonecrop sunny moderately moist, nutrient-rich
Caucasian stonecrop sunny moderately nutrient-rich

Size & dimensions

As already mentioned above, the different species of stonecrops also grow to different sizes. The smallest species only grow up to 10 cm, while others grow over 45 cm. It is also important to consider what the plant is to be used for. For example, carpet-forming species that do not grow so high are more suitable for grave design.

Picture source: pixabay.com / zimt2003

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