Autumn Joy is as reliable and popular as the dog days of summer. Plant it in the Spring and enjoy it’s light green foliage as it emerges from the ground, reaching an impressive height of 1.5 to 2 ft tall.
Sitting atop these long stems are big clusters of pink flowers that begin their showstopper in August. Slowly, yet reliably, the flowers mature to a deep shade of copper.
Their Fall tone is so strongly associated with traditional Autumn colors, it’s as if Mother Nature herself decorated her garden to celebrate the season.
The blooms themselves provide a wide, welcoming resting spot for butterflies to lay out in the sun. The contrast between the light pink flower heads and bright colors offered by our local butterflies is breathtaking.
Autumn Joy Stonecrop Sedum
Common Name: stonecrop, Live Forever
Zones: 3 to 9
Height: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: September to October
Bloom Description: Rosy pink buds turning to red, Showy
Sun: Full sun
Attracts: Butterflies, Bees
Tolerates: Drought, Clay Soil, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil
Workers throughout the US celebrate ‘Labor Day’ by suspending their labor for the day. Similarly, Autumn Joy puts on its best show of the year right around ‘Labor Day’, an ironic twist since it is also well known as one of the least laborious plants around.
Once established, there is very little care necessary to keep Autumn Joy thriving. Since the thick, succulent leaves can store water it’s very forgiving to the gardener who forgets to water it. It’s drought tolerance make it a favorite choice for business and commercial gardens.
The seed heads provide excellent winter interest and food for our local songbirds. Cut them back to the ground once a year, in early spring, when the new growth begins to show.
Celebrate flag day, each year in mid June, by cutting back to half their current size. By August you will have a shorter, sturdier, flowering showstopper to enjoy through the cool days of Fall.
Resist the temptation to place mulch on top of sedum. Mulch serves to lock in moisture, creating a consistently damp environment. Overwatering sedum can cause it to flop over and suffer a short life.
Autumn Joy looks great with ornamental grasses and asters. Combine them in a fall themed container then plant them in the ground, before the first frost arrives, for years of enjoyment.