Sedum 'Autumn Joy'
|Starting with a glowing pink color in September |
|Transitioning to brick red |
It's no surprise that this is such a stand-by perennial. The tiny little foliage "cabbages" appear by late winter, and develop into a tidy low mound by summer. In fall, upright stalks carry pink flowerheads, the color deepening through brick red to rusty brown as the flowers age. A bee and butterfly favorite. For the most part, absolutely trouble-free - aphids may be a problem if it is grown in shadier conditions.
|By mid-October, the flowers have taken on their burnished color |
We left this plant behind in our Pennsylvania garden (and wish it well); we don't grow it in Houston.
One or more images of this plant are included in my stock photo catalog
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Visitors to this page have left the following comments
|Tom Todd||Sep 26, 2008||My Sedum Herbstfreude is in full sun. I do not fertilize it. I water this area to support other plants. Problem is, my Sedum is 36 to 45 inches tall and begins to fall over just when it gets pretty in the fall. I can't determine what is causing this kind of growth as other Sedum in other areas stays about 20"|
Hmm, that's very tall indeed for that cultivar. Either you have some kind of a mutation (unlikely), or exceptionally good growing conditions (naturally fertile soil, combined with the supplemental watering). They are easy to divide, perhaps make a few extra plants and see how they do in other, drier areas of your garden?
|Nancy Millar||Jan 16, 2009||For the past two years my Autumn Joys have been very small, not nearly as large as in the past. Why would that be? Do I need to divide them every so often? They don't seem to be spreading. Do they need to be fertilized?|
The sedums don't need rich soil to thrive. Full sun exposure is key. I don't know why your plants aren't as vigorous as they once were - dividing is certainly a way to get new plants going in different conditions, where they may be happier.
|karen||Jun 28, 2009||I have this particular sedum as a border plant in my cottage garden. It was strategically placed in front of a pocket of phlox. It not only hides the sometimes ratty bottoms of the phlox, it also supports the stalks, keeping them from falling over when they are in full bloom. Additionally, the pink flowers of autumn joy take center stage just as my phlox are bowing out.|
|Mary S||Sep 22, 2009||Hi my sedums are beautiful and very big they all fall over like a elephant has sat in the middle of them. Do they make a cage or support for them I should put around them in the spring? Is there anything I can do now for them?
Mary - my guess is these sedums either have very fertile soil, or don't receive full sun. These conditions may cause them to reach up higher, only to flop down; mine, planted in full sun and only medium fertility, happily stay upright, even in a rainy year like we're experiencing now.
|Sam||Oct 02, 2009||I have what appears to be an Autumn Joy in my front yard, it was there when we moved in. I would like to put it in a pot and want to know when would be the best time to do that. I live in Zone 7a if that makes a difference.|
The plant is likely to get disheveled if you move it now, although it will certainly survive. I would wait till spring, so you can enjoy the spent flowerheads the rest of this season.
|diane||Nov 13, 2009||My Mom has sedum plants and we are wondering how to get seeds from them so she can bring them to me in another state?
I don't know if Autumn Joy sets seed - I've certainly never noticed offspring. It roots easily, so a cutting or small offset may be better.
|Laura||Mar 18, 2010||Sorry for this very base question, but I know nothing about gardening. I've searched the internet, but this seems to be stuff I'm just supposed to know. Anyway, I planted Autum Joy Sedum last year and it went gangbusters, and it looked great all winter. But now that it's spring, I have no idea what to do. Do I cut back just the flowers, or cut back the whole plant, or what? Same thing with my Moonbeam Coreopsis - do I cut the plant back all the way? Thanks! Laura|
Your sedum should be showing fresh succulent growth at its base by now. All of last year's growth should be cut back to make room for the new leaves. Same goes for the coreopsis - although it will be a little further into spring before you see its new growth emerging.
|Laura||Mar 23, 2010||Thanks for your quick response to my question, and thanks for sharing you experiences! I take heart in the fact that you said you were a pre-novice gardner when you started. Gives me hope! =) I look forward to following your progress.|
|Gretchen||Apr 15, 2010||I just stumbled upon these at my local growers and I wanted to put them in my front (full afternoon sun) bed in between my nandina and azalea. Would that work or should I put them in front of the shrubs? Thanks in advance!|
They won't be happy if they are crowded or shaded out by their neighbor shrubs - and I think they look their best if they have some space. So I'd go with in front.
|cindy||May 01, 2010||Hello, so glad to find your website. I finally found the sedum I have and will try planting in frout of my plox next year. I have blackeyed susan in front now. Wondering if it was a mistake. If I keep plox seperated the blackeyed susans should fill in nicely. I have some planted next to a rose bush.|
|Glenda||Jun 25, 2010||I just read in a newsletter that these can be controlled by "pinching" back by half providing it's done by the end of June or first week of July. Have you tried this? Will they still flower? Thanks very much.|
I haven't had a need to control them - in our garden, where they are in full-sun locations, they don't flop, and I like the height they attain just fine. I wonder what the purpose of the pinching is?
|Valerie||Jun 27, 2010||How do I get rid of the aphids/spider mites without using chemicals? Soap and water mix? Only 1 plant has them (for now) and it's the only one that is in shade in the morning. The rest of the day it's in full sun like the rest. |
Yes, squirting soapy water at them sounds like as good a plan as any.
|Julie Fosnaugh||Aug 12, 2010||My sedum is tall and healthy in full sun, but flowers on top never turn color. I was expecting that they would. They are at least 6 years old.|
Perhaps you have a variety (or a genetic variation) that isn't as colorful in bloom as many others in the genus. If they don't please you, I'd just replace them; they are unlikely to perform differently in years to follow.
|Jan||Aug 29, 2010||I have 4 Stonecrop sedums 3 are vibrant red and 1 is pinkish. 2 that are front of my garden are about 3 feet tall. They were beautiful until our last rain fall. Now they have a large gap in the center. This same situation happen last year. I made a reinforcement of fishing line to tie around the 2 plants. After fall last year they looked horrible so I cut them back. But this year I want to cut them back only half way so I can divide them next spring. I also have a Motauk daisey that this happens to also. |
|Holly||Jul 16, 2011||I am getting ready to plant 2 of these. The ones I bought at the store at just one stalk (small ones). Can I go ahead and plant them that small. One in each spot or should I plant them together. I would like to plant them separate but didn't know if they would grow bigger next year being so small.|
They will grow fast, reaching a reasonable size by next season. I would plant them where you want each of them to grow, not too close together. Once established, they should require minimal care.
|Donna Martin||Oct 09, 2011||Do I cut my Sedums back in the fall? When do I do it? How far back?I live in Maine.We already had a frost that took care of alot of the plants.The sedums still look great.|
You can cut sedums back in fall (after the flowering stems give up the ghost) or early spring. The plants don't much care, they're hardy as nails. So it's more about the early-winter look you're after: tidy, or a reminder of their fall glory reflected in the often still upright stems holding the brown flowerheads.
|the-garden-goddess||Jan 22, 2012||Sedum Autumn Joy is one of my top 5 perennials here in Southern BC. We generally have a long fall in wine country, so my plants develop their full colour in well-draining akaline soil. The plants will flop over if they have too much nitrogren or too much water. I have some that are in open shade, they don't grow quite as tall but have never had the elephant-sat-on me look. I leave mine standing for the winter, the rose finches love them (and the echinacea beside it as well). I cut mine back when the crocus are in bloom, very carefully, if you are too rough with them, you can damage the "little cabbage" heads which are each a stalk for the coming year. This is one you do not pinch at all, you'll cut off the bloom for September! Mine set seed by Halloween, and I start them in February in a cool flat under light, not always sucessful. Enjoy!|
|guestblooms||Sep 09, 2012||Why no blooms?
I planted some mail-ordered upright Sedum 'Autumn Fire' last July in climate zone 8, full sun, shallow loam type soil and watered them only when dry. As of September 9th, the Sedums only have grown a few new leaves and the height of the plants have grown from about 6 inches tall to about 8 inches tall. There is not any sign of flower heads forming. Will they bloom later?, or do they skip a year and bloom next year?, or did the mail order company send me something else that have leaves looking like sedums yet doesn't bloom?
It sounds like by 'last July', you mean July 2012? If so, I would not worry – they will do their thing next year.
|New Gardener||Sep 10, 2012||HI, thanks for all the great information here. I'm new to gardening after just purchasing a home with lots of ornemental landscaping including Sedum. There are 3 large plants with many stalks and light pinkish heads on them. (THERE ARE BEES ALL OVER them!)They get mostly sun with some shade too and my question is about them falling, spread out flat onto the ground like someone has trampled them. I'm not sure how to 'cut them back or "divide" them' and how to deal with all the bees. I'm afraid me or my dog will be stung - any ideas of how to help keep the plant from spreading out and not have so many bees on them??|
The bees are part of a package deal with the large-headed sedums. By growing them, you're doing your part to provide a habitat for pollinating insects (besides bees, this includes hoverflies and small beneficial wasps). So I wouldn't worry about the insects they attract. As for the flopping – that does tend to be a problem with sedums growing in either too much shade, or in soil that is too fertile. Definitely don't fertilize, and maybe experiment with different exposures.
|Lisa C||Sep 22, 2012||I moved into a house that has Sedum in the front but they are not the pretty light pink color I think they should be, they all look burnt and don't change...anything I can do to fix that? Do I need to prune them and the see what happens next year?|
The flower color of your sedums is unlikely to change, no matter what you do – unless the "burnt" appearance is due to a disease. I've not seen problems like that with sedums, though.
|Bonnie S||Sep 26, 2012||I have maybe 30 of these growing throughout the yard. About 7 of them are laid back in the center like they have too much weight on them. this year not all that have gone down are realy tall and then stemed (a few are). this has happened the past several years but not before that. They are all in the full sun and basiucally sand. They have such a beautiful look all year and not I hate to see them on the ground...looking so sad. |
|Doris||Oct 03, 2012||Hi I have a verigated sedum that did poorly due to leaf mould. I cut it back to avoid affecting other plants and now see tiny cabbage buds coming up. With winter coming and I am in zone 4 what will happen to the plant? Do I bring in or cover it with extra mulch? Thanks|
That's perfectly normal – your plant will be just fine. No need for extra mulching, it's a quite hardy plant.
|Judy||Oct 06, 2012||I love Sedum and several when I lived in Ohio. I now live in Florida (zone 9). Could I grow it here, and if so do I need to do anything special???|
According to Floridata, these sedums can be grown in climates as warm as zone 9 – I would expect they would give accurate advice about gardening in Florida :-)
|Autumn Joy B.||Oct 07, 2012||I find it awesome that there is a flower with the same name as me... This is a beautiful flower, where can I get them?|
It's quite a common perennial - many places that sell a variety of perennials will have them on offer.
|jules||Nov 17, 2012||My sedum plants all seem to fall over due to heavy flowers... my question is.. should I cut them back in the fall or early spring????|
You can do end-of-season cleanup either in fall or in spring - if the plants don't look attractive any more due to falling flowerstalks, I'd do it in fall. 'Autumn Joy' stays upright for me only if it gets all-day sun.
|Patt||Feb 05, 2013||I've had this plant for about 3 or 4 years and it's always grows well here in North Georgia. This is Febuary and I can already see it starting to come up, I'm a little afraid it might died this year. If not I will have to divide it this spring it was so large last year it flopped in the middle. But still a beautiful plant!!|
|Sandra||Jul 07, 2013||My autumn joy are starting to take over the garden. They are starting to push themselves into the stonecrop. Is it ok to shape them by cutting the stems near the soil. I don't want to loose the beautiful flower heads.|
You could do that as a stopgap measure for this season. Next spring, lift and divide them to keep their size in check.
|Virgie McCoy||Aug 14, 2013||First I love your page and find it very useful. My question today is, I have a beautiful hardy Autumn Joy. It is one of my favorite plants. I was hoping to separate it....giving myself n a friend a new start of one of my favorite plants. Can you tell me the best way to do this, without hurting my plant. Thank you in advance.
Autumn Joy is very vigorous, and quite easy to divide. I usually divide mine in spring, when there's not too much top growth. At this stage, I think you'll find that the plants are top-heavy, making dividing and transplanting the new sections a little more of a challenge. It will still work – just lift the plant, remove excess soil, and cut or break part of the root ball with attached stems off from the main plant. Replant the mother plant carefully and water in, then do the same with the division(s). No need to water excessively, but if mother Nature doesn't provide rain, watering once in a while will help your plants settle back in. In spring, a good-sized clump can easily be divided into six or so divisions, with a lot less effort than it takes this time of year.
|Laura Louisie||Aug 21, 2013||I have a purple emperor sedum that is growing in a pot (Wisconsin). I want to transplant it into the ground. Can I do it now (mid August) or should I wait until spring? Are the roots shallow?|
Sedums are more forgiving of transplanting than most perennials. If I were you I'd still wait another few weeks until cooler fall weather arrives, but if you can keep it watered where you plant it, I don't think it would hurt to plant it now. The larger sedums make a good mass of roots, but growing in a pot it won't have as developed a root system as it will in the ground.
|Laura Louisie||Aug 21, 2013||Hello again. Thank you for answering my question so quickly. I am not clear about the watering. I have no problem keeping my sedum watered after transplanting as you recommend. But since they like to be kept dry, how much water should I give it after transplanting it from the pot to the ground, and for how long? Thank you!!|
Give them a nice soak after transplanting. After that, only water when the top of the soil seems dry. A good watering once a week should suffice.
|anna chicago||Aug 31, 2013||Hello, I bought purple sedum ( can't remember the name now) on clearance from a big box store. They didn't look very pretty but still alive. I planted them into the ground but cut off their flower heads to help them settle in and not waist energy on flowering. Was this the right thing to do or did I do them damage because some of the purple stems lost their purple coloring and just look straw colored with purple leaves on top. If I just cut them back to the ground ( they just look so bad) will they put on a fresh growth this year or come back next year ( if they do). Thanks|
Cutting the flowers off was a good idea - but leave whatever healthy leaves they have, to allow them to put energy into their roots and next year's buds. I think you'll find they will come back next spring just fine and look great!
|Erin||Jan 30, 2014||I have these Autumn Joy Sedum all along my front walkway. This last fall they were covered with black sticky bugs. They were all over the stems from top to bottom. I cut all of the plants off to a height of about two inches. Can you tell me what to do to avoid them this year? I really just wanted to yank them all out because of how awful the infestation was.|
They were probably aphids. I find that sedums are susceptible to them when not grown in full sun. It's also possible that their infestation was exacerbated by a wet season, or too much fertilizer.
|Dorothy||Jun 01, 2014||I just got a plant that I could not identify, then my brother told me its a live forever. I proceeded to look that name up and found its proper name, which led me to you. It is June 1 and I want to know that once I get it in the ground will I see blooms, since it has been disturbed or should I expect it to bloom next season? |
These sedums bloom late in the season, so if your plants are healthy, I would expect them to show off their flowers this fall.
|Katie||Jun 30, 2014||I have plants like Autumn Joy. The only difference is they are smaller and a brighter pink. Do you know the name?|
It might be Sedum spectabile (now known as Hylotelephium spectabile).
|There's Harris||Jul 02, 2014||My Sedums are overcrowded can I move them to another site and they still Bloom?
I think you should still be able to move them and preserve late-season bloom.
|Tracy||Jul 24, 2014||Thanks for the website. It's late July and we just getting plants in new yard. I bought full sedums with the green flowers on most stems. Can I divide them during planting -they seem full in the gallon comtainers.
You can. They may seem a bit awkward for the remainder of the season, but they will survive. Or you can lift them and divide them in spring.
|Kathryn||Jul 30, 2014||This is the first year living in this house. There are sedums all along the East side. They are covered with black flies. They look like typical house flies. How do I get rid of them? Thanks!|
I've not seen house flies on my sedums. Most likely, it's a very temporary situation. Unless they're causing damage, I'd just leave them be.
|Paula Smith||Sep 04, 2014||I have a suggestion to Tom Todd that someone suggested to me about putting peonies cages around the sedum. I have the same problem as Tom. It's too late in the season to put the cages but next year I will definitely purchase these cages.|
|Cherylhendricks@ameritech.net||Sep 17, 2014||I have several sedum plants together around my front yard light post. This year for some reason I have noticed that they seem to be full of flies, just on the top. Any suggestions?|
Many flies (usually smaller ones, like syrphids and green bottles) are attracted to flowering plants. I don't know why this year they would be especially attracted to your sedums, but I wouldn't worry about them. As soon as the nectar stops flowing, they'll move on to other plants.
|Gloria L||Oct 11, 2014||I have moved an established "Autumn Joy, Sedum this week. I live in Winnipeg, MB. It was just going into seeding. I notice leaves are drooping, and should I cut off the flower heads to help the plants root system take hold? Should I cover it for the winter.? Thanks for your advice.|
You don't need to do anything right now. Don't cover it. Cut the flower heads down when they are no longer attractive (I leave mine standing until they get toppled by snow). It will be fine next spring.
|Twylia M.||Apr 13, 2015||We have a hillside covered with sedum (I think they are the Dragon's blood variety) as a groundcover. They have done well there for around 5 years. This spring they look terrible! They look very fragile with lots of dead, dry looking stems with a tiny little cluster of growth on the very ends. Do you have any idea what the problem might be? I don't know whether to leave them alone and see if they improve or what to try? Would appreciate any help!|
Give them some time to recover. These creeping sedums are a hardy lot, and will likely rejuvenate themselves. I have no idea how they got to their current state.
|Herb Pownall||May 16, 2015||Your answer page is most helpful. Hope it goes on for years.|
|Kiley waltz||Jun 16, 2015||Hello, I am very new to gardening and picked up two stonecrops this year and two dazzle berry sedums. We have had a ton of rain in this last week and am worried and one of each my already be dying. The dazzle berry is extremely flat to the ground and the stonecrop is wilting. I noticed that the stem of part of the stonecrop has a whitish film on it that peels off and the leaves fall right off. The other two seem perfectly find however. Is there anything I can do to save them?|
Sedums are pretty hard to kill. Even though they are drought-tolerant, I've never had them succumb to wet conditions, although shade is not good. It's possible that the one picked up some kind of disease – I'd keep it away from the others until it's healthy. Chances are, they will do just fine once they settle in.
|Jane||Aug 25, 2015||Hi, We have a new landscape design. Is is okay for me to move the sedum now. It has not bloomed yet. I am in Illinois.|
The timing is not ideal, but the sedum will survive, especially if you water it in well and don't allow it to completely dry out for the remainder of the season. The bigger the clump of soil you can move with it, the better the plant will bounce back.
|Billie||Aug 30, 2015||My Autumn Joy sedum has leaf drop. The flowers are nice, but no leaves. What could be causing this. It is in a natural environment in full sun. Any watering is from "mother nature".|
Sounds to me like it might be a disease - it's certainly not something I've seen before.
|firstname.lastname@example.org||Sep 17, 2015||I have some form of sedum, flower heads are pinkish. I love them and so do
the bees. This year they attracted the European Wasp, relative to the African
Killer bee. They got into our basement thru a small hole in the foundation.
Cost plenty to get rid of the bees. Now I have to find a plant to replace
the sedum to keep bees away. Any suggestions? Is there a plant similar that will not atrack bees? Thank you.|
Most wasps/bees aren't very particular about which plant provides their nectar, although they do have their favorites. I think that plants similar to the sedum, blooming at a similar time of year, would attract the same range of insects.
|Ann Wall||Aug 25, 2016||I have a sedum plant approx 24" tall, which has produced many fleshy healthy leaves, but the flower heads are still greenish (no evidence of any colour) and it is now the end of August. I have been waiting to see what colour they will be since early spring. Any suggestions?|
I suspect they'll still color up - this sedum is a fall bloomer, after all.
|Kay Arnold||Aug 29, 2016||Can't get at those weeds in my flower garden because of all the bees that attack me from my long row of Autumn Joy sedum. Is there something I should spray on myself before attempting to go out there again? I'm full of bee stings right now.|
I like the tall sedums because of the insect life they attract. It is very unusual for bees to sting, but perhaps you have an aggressive type of wasp. I don't think bug repellents will be very helpful against that type of insect. I would advise getting advice from local horticulturists who are familiar with the insects in your area.
|Cindy||Sep 10, 2016||Your sight is helpful. I planetesimals Autmn Joy this spring purchased from a nursery. They are about 30 inches tall and have flopped over -about 4 of the 7 I planted
Now that September is here how far back should I cut them?
Should I go to the base or leave a few inches remaining?|
Ideally, do not cut them back until the flowers turn brown – but if they have flopped and look ugly, you can cut them back now. You can cut them back all the way to the ground – new growth will come from below.
|Gina||Sep 20, 2016||I have 3 separate Sedum plants 2 are rather close in the same flowed bed. Only one flowers very nicely, the other 2 grow healthy all season then flop over withno flowers. I can see from other Sedum growers here have the same problem with flopping. I did cut them back. Maybe they need some extra type of fertilizer? Could there be male and female which one doesnt produce flowers?
Sedums do not have male/female forms. More likely, the plants have somewhat different growing conditions. They do NOT need fertilizer, and are more likely to flop if they do get fertilized. Do some get more sun than others? More water?
|Gail||Sep 25, 2016||I have a rock wall that we planted with sedums and creeping thyme. It turned out just beautiful. But now with cooler damper days I notice some of the leaves of the Autumn Joy are turning yellow and falling off close to the ground. Do they loose their leaves in autumn. Do I need to cover them for winter?|
They will eventually lose their leaves by late autumn, and go dormant through winter, to return from the ground in spring. Not sure if the current leaf drop is anything to be concerned about - my guess would be no. And they shouldn't need protection through the winter in all but the harshest climates.
|Katie H||Oct 06, 2016||I have 2 large Autumn Joy sedums (as well as several other varieties of smaller sedum and stonecrop) in a front garden that gets full sun all day- regardless of how much I water, about half of the flower heads turn brown halfway through the summer and just look dead and ugly (while the other half turn a nice rosy pink color)- what am I doing wrong!!?!? They seem burnt- as if they are getting too much sun. I live in zone 7 (Washington, DC)|
Is it possible they are overwatered? I haven't personally seen this on my plants, but it sounds like maybe a fungal problem. These sedums should not require any supplemental watering in your climate.
|Bernie M||Oct 23, 2016||My Autumn joy is doing the same thing, the flower heads form but most never get color- they stay greenish and look like immature flower heads. I have them in several different locations receiving different amounts of sun and moisture and all of them bloom this way. Is this possibly Aster yellow/ phytoplasma, I have not been able to find anything about it effecting sedums.
To prevent plants from flopping open in the centers, trim them off by half in mid summer. They will be shorter,and still bloom but you will have a much stronger plant.|
|Lisa Campbell ||Aug 11, 2021||
Iâ€™m having similar issues with the clusters. They start out perfect greenish, turned pinkish and then the centers turn dark brown and they look like they are burnt very dry. This is the second year this is happenedâ€¦ Would love to know how to fix this. Live in Missouri and they grow like crazy. Beautiful plant I never have to do anything less but Iâ€™m so frustrated by the time fall comes I have very few clusters that turn pink because most of them have turned brown in the center early on.|
|maryannerackoff||Aug 17, 2021||My sedum (I have many, many bunches) do not seem to be attracting the pollinators as they have in the past. They are doing well in soil with quite a bit of clay. Should I fertilize them? Now, in late august? Thank you. Your advice is the best I have found. |
I don't think fertilization has anything to do with this. It may be more to do with the pollinators than with your plants. If there is something different about your plants (e.g., not making as much nectar as usual), I would think the amount of sunlight would be a bigger factor than fertilizer.
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October 02, 2011