Easy Propagating Perennials: Sedum Plants

Large swaths of flowering plants best for design and for use by pollinators.

Large swaths of flowering plants best for design and for use by pollinators.

Want to increase your stock of perennial plants? It’s worth your while to make new plants, to share or to make a bigger splash in the garden. Plus, it’s easy and fun.

Propagation varies in terms of easiness, but sedums, like ‘Autumn Joy’ or its other variants are a good place to start as they are one of the easiest. Sedums are one of my favourite perennials for many reasons. Pollinators go crazy for their flower nectar, and as they are succulent, they are super low maintenance. They are also one of the hardiest perennials, and one of the few that will over-winter in a container.

Like many perennials, sedums look best in large groups. Bees and butterflies love sedum flowers and planting many same of the same variety of plants together in a mass is best for bee activity.

Sedums bloom in late summer and into the early fall. To propagate, take stem cuttings in spring or summer, preferably before they start blooming in August. When you take cuttings from the outside edge of your plant clump, you won’t even notice they’re gone.

Pull stems outward, and slightly downward, then make a clean cut with a sharp knife. Cut away about a 5 inch stalk. You can take a few cuttings off one plant.
Cut off any lower leaves leaving the lower stem bare.

It’s important to set the cuttings somewhere dry in the shade for a few days. This waiting period allows the cut stem to heal over and grow a callus. Growing the callus is the first step in root development.

Use fresh ProMix (potting mixture, not regular soil) to fill 4 inch pots. The square ones are good, but any small pot you have is fine. Moisten the potting mix with warm water before you add it to the pots. (Warm water absorbs the potting mix better.) ProMix is available now with mycorrhizal fungi, beneficial microorganisms which partner with the plant, helping root formation, and plant growth.

Use a stick to make a hole in the centre of the pot and gently settle in the stem of the sedum. Firm soil gently around the cutting.

Place the pots somewhere in the shade where they can stay put and start to grow roots. A little dappled sunlight is OK. Let the pots dry out a bit before watering again. You can basically forget about them at this point as long as you slosh some water on them from time to time.

Cuttings taken in spring or summer will be rooted by the fall and they could be planted where ever you have space in the garden. You, the bees and butterflies will be happy next summer with your larger display.

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