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Beginner Landscaping: using Sedum as a groundcover - a living mulch?

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Forum: Beginner LandscapingReplies: 18, Views: 894
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Raleigh, NC

June 3, 2008
2:45 PM

Post #5045874

Hello, wonderful people!

I read an article a while ago about making a 'living mulch' - a low groundcover to cover the flower beds, from what I could tell. I also ran across a note somewhere that sedum can be used on roofs to make them more eco-friendly, etc. And, finally, I read somewhere that sedum will not choke out other plants.

So, I'm thinking about using a few varieties of sedum to cover my flower beds, and forget about mulching.

Is this possible? Reasonable? A good idea?

Attached is a beautiful picture of Sedum cauticola 'Lidakense' from user Happenstance, available in the PlantFiles - one of the varieties I'd be considering. (I want to give credit for this gorgeous picture!)

Thumbnail by meiow
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Piedmont, SC
(Zone 7b)

June 3, 2008
10:02 PM

Post #5047962

The only sedum I have is 'Autumn Joy'. It is much to tall. I looked the cauticola up in plant files. What a beautiful, fabulous idea!!!!!!! Go for it. Smokey
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

June 4, 2008
12:39 AM

Post #5048715

The trouble with a groundcover that people claim won't choke out other plants is that it probably won't choke out weeds either. I've never tried sedum in a large area as a ground cover so I can't speak for whether that's the case or not though.
Temperanceville, VA
(Zone 7a)

June 6, 2008
6:00 PM

Post #5063608


You might try Irish Moss. It is very dense and should prevent anything from taking root.



Rolesville, NC
(Zone 7b)

June 11, 2008
4:42 PM

Post #5087885

Hello again, meiow. I absolutely LOVE sedums and I think they can make excellent groundcovers. S. bithynicum (or the similar S. 'Blue Carpet) is one of my favorites because it's soft, blue and delicate looking but at our nursery we have a patch near the bathroom that gets walked on daily and proves that it's tough as nails because it looks great! I also like S. tetractinum which looks like little coins and I've seen it go from a 4" pot to a 6 foot patch in one year! Plus it's very good for weed control because of the think mat of foliage it forms.

I also like S. rupestre ‘Angelina’ (with gold spiky foliage), S. acre and S. sexangulare (low and green), Sedum reflexum 'Blue Spruce' (looks just like it sounds) and S. album (kind of nubby and green). Most of the ones pictured here will grow in our area: (don't forget to look at the second page). The S. spuriums and S. kamtschaticums tend to not do quite as well here because of the humidity but if you can get them to grow they provide a different texture. Most of the Sedums bloom yellow but a few are white or pink. Throw in a few Sempervivum (Hens n Chicks) for fun and I think it could look really nice.

If you didn't stop by the nursery before you really should after this heat wave passes. We have lots of shady pines and very little asphalt so it's relatively cool. I promise :)
Carthage, MO

July 2, 2008
8:59 PM

Post #5194358

I just tried using sedum (as I thought also, as a living mulch) and it works pretty good! And the kind I used does keep weeds down, but allows my perennials to push through it. It is invasive, (which you want it to be) but it is very easy to pull up hand-fulls of it and I just cram it between some rocks or a place where I want to keep weeds down.

I did have to pull quite a bit of it up this spring, but it is so easy to pull up and then I just put it where I want more weed control. I would try it if I were you. I will try to put in a picture so you can see what it grows like

Thumbnail by misstwiggley
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Winston Salem, NC
(Zone 7b)

July 8, 2008
5:44 PM

Post #5224438

I planted sedum 'angelina' as a ground cover last year and so far it is working out beautifully. It spread out quickly, survived the winter, drought tolerant, blocks most of the weeds, and I like the look. This year I got a several little plants of smaller, denser ones to see which of them hold up the best before I invest in buying a whole bunch of is one of the sedum 'acres' and one is called 'grisebachii'. I like that it is lower and denser, but so far it grows a LOT more slowly than the 'angelina'. I have a very little yard and eventually want to get rid of the grass all together and just plant things that I can get a bit more excited about.

There is a company called 'stepables' that sells several nice varieties, but they're pricey. I'm looking at 'green roof' companies that sell them to see if they're more reasonable. There's someone on e-bay that sells sedum seeds, but I'm a new-ish gardener and don't always do so well with seed starting.

I'd love to see your results!

Thumbnail by monkapotamus
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Harrison, MI

February 12, 2009
10:32 PM

Post #6130149

ooh.. I am soo happy you asked these questions.. helped me a ton! I was also interested in using sedums as ground cover in my front landscape as I have mostly rock and a few areas of open bed. I used a little this last summer near our entry way and loved the look as it kind of draped down between the gaps in the rock border. Soo cool! I really want to use it in more areas as I like a more asia or more succulent look that is hard to acheive here in Michigan, where mostly everything is boulders and blue spruces.. lol. If anyone knows of any good sedums that will thrive in Michigan weather let me know.. I used one by stepables called john creech.. actually found it at local Meijer store.. pricey however.. and I too threw some hens and chicks in the mix as well.. looked pretty neat.

check out my link here to our house we are looking for suggestion on redoing the front landscape .. any help is appreciated .


Harrison, MI

February 12, 2009
10:38 PM

Post #6130172
Portland, OR
(Zone 8a)

February 14, 2009
8:32 PM

Post #6138795

Hi Ya'll, I've started using sedum for groundcover and I'm very pleased with the results, in Zone 6b. I didn't mulch at all this year. I'm not sure which variety of sedum I have but it stays green, it does choke out the weeds after established awhile. And I have small patches of Blue Star Creeper, good texture contrast, and doesn't invade each other's space. I'm going to use cutting or divisions for other plantings area this year, and it'll help lower my water bill.

Cedar Rapids, IA
(Zone 5a)

February 16, 2009
2:50 PM

Post #6146154

Hi - Just checking in with some pics of sedum as groundcover. I use it with great success -

First - this is the lowest growing sedum - Sedum acre "Golden Carpet" - only reaches 2" - does well in moist environments. Will die out in mid-summer, when temps get too high if in full sun, but will come back the next year just as healthy. By this stream, it does not go dormant, and is great to keep back erosion.

Thumbnail by dax080
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Cedar Rapids, IA
(Zone 5a)

February 16, 2009
2:53 PM

Post #6146172

The type in this pic is wonderful! It is called Sedum selskianum "Spirit" and reaches about 6 inches. It does not go dormant and blooms on and off through the summer with pretty yellow blooms. Also does not choke out neighbors, although spreads through them. Particularly nice with lilies, I think --

Thumbnail by dax080
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Cedar Rapids, IA
(Zone 5a)

February 16, 2009
2:56 PM

Post #6146186

Finally, in case you are looking for a brilliant gold to make a bed sparkle, I like this Golden Moneywort - Lysimachia "Aurea" - gets to be about 4", spreads between plants, and handles part sun through shade very well. Absolutely beautiful foliage, but no blooms to speak of. -- Dax

Thumbnail by dax080
Click the image for an enlarged view.

(Tracey) Mobile, AL
(Zone 8b)

August 4, 2010
2:44 PM

Post #8018566

What a fabulous idea. I have Sedum Angelina and I'm going to go home and spread it..
Deep East Texas, TX
(Zone 8a)

August 31, 2010
5:08 AM

Post #8072179

Thank you for reviving this thread. I was searching as I was thinking of using this small leaf Sedum as a groundcover for a succulent bed I am building.

I am amazed the Sedums aren't used more often as they are so cold resistant. Best I can tell, the only really enemy is excess moisture.

Thumbnail by podster
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Rolesville, NC
(Zone 7b)

August 31, 2010
5:35 AM

Post #8072205

With at least one exception, podster. At the nursery where I work we discovered that Sedum tetractinum (Chinese Sedum) will grow into water. We planted some near to a two-tier pond and it proceeded to grow over the waterfall and into the lower pond. That part of the plant rots/freezes off every winter but the next year it does it again. I'm not saying you could plant it in a pond successfully but the patch we have is growing in consistently moist to wet soil. Craziness!
Deep East Texas, TX
(Zone 8a)

August 31, 2010
4:47 PM

Post #8073387

Amazing! I will have to check out that one.

Our clay soil goes from one extreme to the other, saturation to drought and very quickly.

If I'm not mistaken the one I have now is known to be used on green roofs.
Orlando, FL

November 21, 2011
7:13 AM

Post #8899727

Yeah ground covers work dissolve after a certain amount of time and weeds and other plants will start coming up. The best bet is using weed killer and then tending the weeds every now and then. Rocks or designer mulch works great too.


This message was edited Nov 21, 2011 10:14 AM
Virginia Beach, VA

November 21, 2011
7:20 AM

Post #8899738

I have several varieties of potted sedum and I had noticed that angelina and some varieties does not do well during hot summer.
i visited a fellow DGer in Canada and she had tons of sedums growing in between rocks and boulders. She said she throws away bag full when she weeds.

i like to see your project after they take off,


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