Indispensable Perennial: Autumn Joy Sedum

Kansas Country Garden 

You can tell fall is approaching. Even when the weather is warm and summery, as the calendar reaches September there are unmistakable signs in the garden. The Autumn Joy Sedum have erupted in magnificent rosy hues. The insects notice immediately.  Soon the weather complies with the calendar and a brisk coolness reinvigorates the weary. Facing the inevitable the leaves on the trees begin reveal bits of their fall colors. Walking anywhere in the garden involves wading through intricate spider webs. They are everywhere and yet there is still an element of surprise when you turn a corner and find yourself enveloped in wisps with an annoyed garden spider scurrying to the heights for safety. Autumn is finally here! 

Autumn Joy Sedum lines the sidewalk to the front door.
Autumn Joy Sedum are the stars of my fall garden. While many look to mums and asters for fall color, I have come the rely on this faithful perennial. I would not want to be without it. If you do not have Autumn Joy Sedum in your garden, let me encourage you to consider this lovely plant.
Butterflies love this plant!

It is a sturdy and resilient perennial. 

There is a reason this plant is sometimes called "Live Forever". Nothing much fazes it. They really do seem to live forever coming back year after year.  They do just fine with a minimum amount of water and have never been the victim of an insect infestation in my garden. 

The true sign of a happy plants is that it grows and multiplies. I have divided my plants many times, giving them to all who would take them and placing them throughout the garden. When the autumn splendor begins I am always a little surprised how many plants I actually have. The best time in my Kansas garden to divide and transplant is in the spring when the plant is still small. 

A black wasp enjoys the nectar.

It is a bee and butterfly magnet. 

There is almost an air of festivity as insects congregate from miles around to enjoy the nectar of this amazing plant. Part of the fun is to walk by and watch billows of butterflies, bees and wasps arise. They aren't the least bit interested in you and return immediately to their party. For much of the year many of these insects are invisible in the garden, but when the Autumn Joy bloom, I get to see them.

Early spring and the plant is just beginning.

It is a plant for all seasons.

Through the allium you can see the sedum growing rounder and larger.
Most of the year Autumn Joy play a supporting or background role in the garden, but there is really never a time that they look poor. From the moment tiny rosettes form in early spring through the summer it has a pleasing rounded shape. It really shines during its long bloom in fall and even in the winter its dried flowers add interest to the garden.

This vigorous plant makes a fine border plant.

Does it have any negatives? 

Well, some gardeners complain that their Autumn Joy flops a bit late in the season when its blooming.  Perhaps their soil is richer than mine or they provide more water than I do. When the plants become too large, I make it a point to divide them early in the spring. This has prevented any flopping problems in my garden.

Other gardeners might say that it has been overused. Perhaps they were looking at my garden when they said that. This is just a matter of personal taste. Of course you can choose what and how much you place in your own garden. I hope you do choose to include Autumn Joy in your garden. I'm glad I did--it is an indispensable perennial in my garden.

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