Hylotelephium, Sedum, Showy Stonecrop 'Autumn Joy'

Hylotelephium spectabile

Family: Crassulaceae (krass-yoo-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Hylotelephium (hy-loh-te-LEE-fee-um) (Info)
Species: spectabile (speck-TAB-ih-lee) (Info)
Cultivar: Autumn Joy
Additional cultivar information:(aka Herbstfreude)
Synonym:Sedum spectabile
View this plant in a garden


Alpines and Rock Gardens


Cactus and Succulents

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun




This plant is resistant to deer

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone



Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

From leaf cuttings

From herbaceous stem cuttings

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Birmingham, Alabama

Gadsden, Alabama(2 reports)

Juneau, Alaska

Seward, Alaska

Phoenix, Arizona

Batesville, Arkansas

Bear Valley Springs, California

Canoga Park, California

Castro Valley, California

Clayton, California

Clovis, California

Elk Grove, California

Fairfield, California

Golden Hills, California

Knights Landing, California

Lake Arrowhead, California

Lookout, California

Oakhurst, California

Sacramento, California

San Anselmo, California

San Leandro, California

San Lorenzo, California

Sonoma, California

Stallion Springs, California

Tehachapi, California(3 reports)

Aurora, Colorado

Denver, Colorado(2 reports)

Fort Collins, Colorado

Grand Junction, Colorado

Peyton, Colorado

Cheshire, Connecticut

Cos Cob, Connecticut

Fairfield, Connecticut

Stamford, Connecticut

Wethersfield, Connecticut

Ellendale, Delaware

Lewes, Delaware

Wilmington, Delaware

Green Cove Springs, Florida

Inverness, Florida

Pensacola, Florida(2 reports)

Wellborn, Florida

Athens, Georgia

Braselton, Georgia

Cordele, Georgia

Lawrenceville, Georgia

Stone Mountain, Georgia

Kamiah, Idaho

Godfrey, Illinois

Hampton, Illinois

Hinsdale, Illinois

Jacksonville, Illinois

Machesney Park, Illinois

Mount Prospect, Illinois

Niles, Illinois

Oak Lawn, Illinois

Palmyra, Illinois

Pontiac, Illinois

Spring Grove, Illinois

Springfield, Illinois

Washington, Illinois

Waukegan, Illinois

Williamsville, Illinois

Columbus, Indiana

Evansville, Indiana

Fishers, Indiana

Georgetown, Indiana

Macy, Indiana

Davenport, Iowa(2 reports)

Des Moines, Iowa

Nichols, Iowa

Oskaloosa, Iowa

Storm Lake, Iowa

Olathe, Kansas

Wichita, Kansas

Ewing, Kentucky

Hebron, Kentucky

Murray, Kentucky

Symsonia, Kentucky

Ruston, Louisiana

Slidell, Louisiana

Brunswick, Maine

North Yarmouth, Maine

South Berwick, Maine

Westbrook, Maine

Cumberland, Maryland

Laurel, Maryland

Amesbury, Massachusetts

Attleboro, Massachusetts

Dracut, Massachusetts

Halifax, Massachusetts

Lakeville, Massachusetts

Roslindale, Massachusetts(2 reports)

Saugus, Massachusetts

Uxbridge, Massachusetts

West Harwich, Massachusetts

Westford, Massachusetts

Dearborn Heights, Michigan

Eastpointe, Michigan

Garden City, Michigan

Hillsdale, Michigan

Owosso, Michigan

Lake George, Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minnesota(3 reports)

Saint Cloud, Minnesota

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Florence, Mississippi

Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Mathiston, Mississippi

Albany, Missouri

Belton, Missouri

Bolivar, Missouri

Cole Camp, Missouri

Doniphan, Missouri

Saint James, Missouri

Thayer, Missouri

Lincoln, Nebraska

Franklin, New Hampshire

Greenfield, New Hampshire

Hebron, New Hampshire

Littleton, New Hampshire

Warner, New Hampshire

Metuchen, New Jersey

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Elephant Butte, New Mexico

Farmington, New Mexico

Roswell, New Mexico

Ballston Lake, New York

Buffalo, New York

Croton On Hudson, New York

Deposit, New York

Elba, New York

Himrod, New York

Jefferson, New York

Manorville, New York

Mount Vision, New York

Penn Yan, New York

Trumansburg, New York

Charlotte, North Carolina

Concord, North Carolina

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Greensboro, North Carolina

Holly Ridge, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina(2 reports)

Rowland, North Carolina

Taylorsville, North Carolina

Belfield, North Dakota

Medora, North Dakota

Akron, Ohio

Cincinnati, Ohio(3 reports)

Clyde, Ohio

Columbus, Ohio

Coshocton, Ohio

Defiance, Ohio

Glouster, Ohio

Grove City, Ohio

Lewis Center, Ohio

Oak Hill, Ohio

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Yukon, Oklahoma

Dallas, Oregon

Gold Hill, Oregon


Portland, Oregon

Salem, Oregon

Irwin, Pennsylvania

Lansdowne, Pennsylvania

Norristown, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania(2 reports)

Pottstown, Pennsylvania

Reading, Pennsylvania

Schwenksville, Pennsylvania

Watsontown, Pennsylvania

West Chester, Pennsylvania

Wakefield, Rhode Island

Clinton, South Carolina

Columbia, South Carolina

Florence, South Carolina

North Augusta, South Carolina

Orangeburg, South Carolina

Clarksville, Tennessee

Crossville, Tennessee

Hendersonville, Tennessee

Knoxville, Tennessee

Lenoir City, Tennessee

Murfreesboro, Tennessee(3 reports)

Nashville, Tennessee

Pocahontas, Tennessee

Seymour, Tennessee

Austin, Texas

Belton, Texas

Burleson, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas(2 reports)

Houston, Texas

Irving, Texas(2 reports)

Kerrville, Texas(2 reports)

Mc Kinney, Texas

North Richland Hills, Texas

Quinlan, Texas

Rowlett, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Sugar Land, Texas

Salt Lake City, Utah

South Jordan, Utah

Tooele, Utah

Randolph, Vermont

Elkton, Virginia

Fairfax, Virginia

Front Royal, Virginia

Leesburg, Virginia

Lexington, Virginia

Martinsville, Virginia

Mechanicsville, Virginia

Newport News, Virginia

Richmond, Virginia

Stafford, Virginia

Woodbridge, Virginia

Bellevue, Washington

Burbank, Washington

Elma, Washington

Everett, Washington

Freeland, Washington

Kalama, Washington

Kent, Washington

MOXEE, Washington

Orchards, Washington

Redmond, Washington

Seattle, Washington

Spokane, Washington

Huntington, West Virginia

Weston, West Virginia

Ellsworth, Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Oconomowoc, Wisconsin

West Bend, Wisconsin

Casper, Wyoming

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jun 18, 2018, GarySutt from Manchester, NH wrote:

Cannot say enough about this plant. It is excellent for the beginning gardener or the well seasoned one. Contrary to a note here, it does attract bees and butterflies.

Propagate: Break a stem, stick it in the ground and water once or twice. That is it.

Annual maintenance: Break stalks down to the crown after first frost. Mulch stems.

The two types I have, the pink flowered opens grow to 12" tall and the red ones to 18". Pinch them back in June to keep them shorter if you want. Root /plant the stems.

Deer, rodent. insect, resistant. Loves drought and neglect!


On May 20, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

True 'Autumn Joy' is a sterile hybrid, which is why the 'seedheads' don't shatter and instead remain for winter interest. As with Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm', much of the material offered for sale in the US is seed-grown, and is not the true cultivar. Most of these impostors bloom earlier than 'Autumn Joy', which begins to bloom here (Boston Z6a) the first week of September.

All of these upright sedums tend to sprawl if not divided every few years---best done in early spring, before they put on much top growth---or at least cut back in late spring/early summer.

They tolerate partial shade, grow well in acid soils as well as alkaline, and aren't in the least deer resistant. The foliage is glaucous and not glossy.

I've never seen 'Autumn Joy' get over ... read more


On May 19, 2014, Oenone22 from Portsmouth,
United Kingdom wrote:

'Autumn Joy' is a hybrid of spectabile and telephium. It does not produce nectar, and consequently does not attract butterflies, unlike S. spectabile cultivars such as 'Carmen', and 'Brilliant'.


On May 19, 2014, quiltbug48 from Bolivar, MO wrote:

I planted my autumn Joy about 19 years ago and it is still going very strong; however, it keeps it's pale green heads all through autumn, never turning to pink nor red. It gets full sun. Also it has never spread more than about 12 inches in diameter. I do nothing to it other than admire the pretty leaves and pale green heads, no watering, no fertilizing. Should I be doing something to encourage the heads to change colors?


On Sep 27, 2012, lanahi from Kamiah, ID wrote:

The pollinators are always on this plant, so I'd plant it for that as much as anything else. It is a neat and interesting plant.
I have seen it growing in the shade, and it doesn't have as bright flowers as the ones growing in full sun.
The leaves and stems of ALL sedums are edible, BTW. They have a kind of peppery taste that goes well raw in salads or cooked with other ingredients.


On Feb 28, 2012, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

A dependable Sedum, though it is used a bit too frequently in my opinion. Blooms September-October in my garden.


On Sep 14, 2011, JanWR from Trumansburg, NY wrote:

'Autumn Joy' is a nice foil for other late bloomers such as asters, and a good contrast to fine-leaved plants. Have grown it successfully in heavy clay soils in Maryland and Virginia, and moist loam in central New York. This is one tough plant, but well-behaved. However, in southern Virginia it is 'deer resistant' only to the extent that my plants have survived years of cropping by the night raiders, who seem to love both the flowers and the juicy leaves.


On Aug 7, 2011, Wrenflower from Fort Collins, CO wrote:

Very hardy. I picked this up for free at a garage sale. It was dried out and appeared dead. I sat the plastic pot out on some rocks with a hot southwest exposure against a light colored wall over two winters and it comes back every year. Whether I water it or not it survives. I planted it in the same location and it is still going strong.


On Jul 25, 2010, mezzomomm from Tehachapi, CA wrote:

I've just been given some cuttings and am wondering if I have to put this in a gopher cage. Does anyone have any experience with this particular plant and gophers?


On Oct 11, 2009, JoyfulSeason from Kerrville, TX wrote:

When I lived in Maryland (zone 6), the Autumn Joy sedums thrived, and were seen everywhere. In the late afternoons, they tended to wilt a bit, but by morning they were upright, again. The sedums did tend to flop when they bloomed, but I learned that if I cut mine back by 1/2 around July 4th, they didn't flop in the fall. I grew new plants from the cuttings and planted them when they rooted. In a few years, I had them growing all over my flower beds, and was giving them to friends. Now, I live in Texas (zone 7b), with entirely different growing conditions. Gave the Autumn Joys a try in a container last year, but they got whiteflies (huh?????). They were mostly in shade, which may have been the problem. Quickly took some cuttings and destroyed the mother plants. The cuttings are doi... read more


On Jun 29, 2009, carpathiangirl from Akron, OH (Zone 5a) wrote:

Quite long-lived perennial too -- mine is more than 10 y.o. Not floppy for me. Comes back early in the spring and already set buds (end of June).


On Jun 29, 2009, beachwoman from South Kingstown, RI (Zone 5b) wrote:

After seeing Autumn Joy in a friend's yard four years ago, we took cuttings and started growing it as well (South Kingstown, RI). It has quickly become one of our favorites, growing in all sections of the yard, flourishing in different kinds of soils or sun conditions, needing little or no
care. Since Autumn Joy did so well, we tried other varieties of sedum which are also hardy and beautiful, perfect choices for rock gardens, around walkways and container gardening. Many positive comments from neighbors!


On Jun 29, 2009, planterlady from Thornbury,
Canada wrote:

I have this plant as a border around our small patio - there is green all season and then of course we enjoy the color changes. Gives the patio privacy without closing it in entirely. Great plant.


On Jun 29, 2009, ptworek from West Harwich, MA wrote:

I have first year plantings that began very well. But June has been a month of rain almost every day. The plants are laying on the ground, stems flopping sideways from the center. Sould I try to raise and stake the stems, hoping that the remainder of the summer will help them reposition and grow upward? or should I leave them laying on the soil?


On Jun 19, 2009, darylmitchell from Saskatoon, SK (Zone 3a) wrote:

I have two Autumn Joy sedums in the south-facing flower bed against my house. They're both planted in the rain shadow of the house, so any water they get comes from when I water them with the hose. They're pretty tough and survive the extreme cold of our winters. One seems to be smaller than the other, but it could be because it's shaded for part of the day by the front steps. Other than that, they seem to thrive on neglect.


On May 17, 2008, Katze from Minneapolis, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

This plant is definitely a tough plant and one that is nearly impossible to kill. They will grow in part shade, but will not get as large as those in full sun. The 'Autumn Joy' cultivar seems to have foliage that are one of three shades: the regular deep gray-green described here, variegated (yellow with a lighter green), and a lighter green that is almost the same color you'd find on Stock 'Vintage Mix' (we have all three in our yard, planted by the former owners of our house). I've never had problems with these plants flopping, but maybe that's because I ignore our Sedums unless it is unusually dry out.

The main reason I keep these is because of their blooms, which start out a pale pink and slowly darken to a deep brown-red.


On Apr 13, 2008, sunnytop56 from Lincoln, NE (Zone 5a) wrote:

I had this plant growing all over the yard when I moved in. At first I thought I'd have to get rid of it thinking it to be the ugliest plant. However when fall came it made up for the rest of the year and I ended up leaving it all alone. I was amazed that sun was listed. Most of mine are growing under shady trees and grow like weeds into huge plants.


On Nov 17, 2007, kd2000 from toronto,
Canada wrote:

This is a fabulous plant and does very well in my Zone 4/5 Canadian garden. It provides great spring/summer foliage and shape interest, and a nice fall colour display. I have found propagation to be very easy. I divided 4 mature specimens into 10 in early spring, and all 10 recovered to the size of the parent by fall with only a bit of bonemeal as aid. Cuttings also root very easily, I take 4" cuttings leaving 2 leaves on and stick them directly into a nursery bed in spring, most try to flower by fall. However, as they seem to recover size so quickly through division I would recommend division, as my cuttings seem to grow very slowly.


On Aug 4, 2007, mystic from Ewing, KY (Zone 6a) wrote:

Received the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), 1993 Award of Garden Merit. Reconfirmed in 2006.


On Jun 21, 2007, susybell from Vancouver, WA (Zone 8a) wrote:

For me, basically effortless. Hasn't taken over the world like so much seems to do, fills in nicely, blooms every year. I leave the seed heads for birds over the winter and cut them back when the new growth is starting to pop up. That's all I do. I may divide them this year.


On Oct 17, 2006, laura10801 from Fairfield County, CT (Zone 6b) wrote:

I find this plant to be a bit leggy, but aside from that it is nice enough. I am really not that fond of it and I don't treat it particularly well, but the thing seems to be made of cast iron, I've moved it 3 times and it always seems to be fine. It reminds me in appearance of purple flowered broccoli.


On Sep 1, 2006, soulbloom from Richmond, VA wrote:

I bought this plant last year and didn't know much about gardening. I neglected the plant by leaving it in its original pot outside over the winter. Suprisingly, it came back. This year, I platned it in a small bed with other succulents and it has done very well. I hope to add some more to my garden in the future.


On Jun 13, 2006, yoho05 from NCR,
Canada wrote:

I could not provide my zipcode to the 'Regional' area of this page as I do not live in the USA. This plant grows like a house on fire here in Ottawa, Ontario; we are in Canadian zone 5a, where winter temps can creep down to -30C.

This is a most reliable and sturdy plant that is green for most of the summer and blooms profusely just as most of the other flowers here are fading - a joy in autumn indeed. Easy to share by splitting, which you have to do every few years anyway. It seems salt tolerant, as we use a lot of this in my area, just to keep from injuring ourselves as we walk about in the winter LOL. Great for small gardens or large ones.


On May 23, 2006, winging from Cincinnati, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

This plant is quite hardy and provides winter interest if you leave the stalks with the seedheads over the winter. The only problem I've had with it is that in one specific spot the plants always die from root rot, but this is likely because of the slope and the lack of drains in the retaining wall.

So moral of the story, it doesn't like wet feet.


On Dec 26, 2005, berrygirl from Braselton, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

I have been growing these for several years now and love them. They are absolutely fool-proof and require no care whatsoever. So very easy to make more- cut off a bit and stick in the ground and voila- more sedums! Hot, humid and dry Georgia summers don't faze them a bit. I love the way the plants look during all 4 seasons.


On May 18, 2005, Gindee77 from Hampton, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

The sedum in my garden attract butterflies and they look good when the blooms are open. They look like thousands of little roses.


On Mar 22, 2005, PerryPost from Minneapolis, MN wrote:

In reference to JoanJ's comment about 'Autumn Joy' as a bee magnet, two years in a row now we have found late season bees (honey and bumble) on the blooms in the early morning, so cold they could barely move (great opportunity to pet them!) After some time in the sun they are able to fly away.

Moral of the story?... ...plant Autumn Joy for your late season nectar and pollen feeders. In the warmer states they are supposed to be great for Monarchs too. I wouldn't know, most of the Monarchs have left Minnesota by the time Autumn Joy is in full swing.


On Dec 29, 2004, Joan from Belfield, ND (Zone 4a) wrote:

This is a truly lovely plant in late fall when the gardens are starting to look a little tired. This pulls through and blooms strong and is a bumbleebee magnet.


On Oct 21, 2004, jsandco from West Bend, WI (Zone 5b) wrote:

This plant provides some winter interest to the garden. The rust flower stalks stay upright all winter, look nice with frost on them or especially when they catch the snow.


On Oct 18, 2004, henryr10 from Cincinnati, OH (Zone 6b) wrote:

We have found w/ all Stonecrop type Sedum that pinching back helps the correct the 'floppies'.
This helps tremendously w/ those grown in less than ideal conditions, soil too rich, too little sun, etc.

We pinch at 6" high then take off about 4-6" at 12" tall
(which become our new starts).
You'll get a fuller straighter plant w/ far more blooms.

'Autumn Joy' though is one of the sturdier of this type.
Far less prone to flopping.


On Aug 5, 2004, shortcm from Wilmington, DE (Zone 7b) wrote:

I'm glad to hear the reason for my "floppy" plant. I'd actually dug it up and replaced it with a newer, sturdier version. I'll try the leftover clump where it won't get much water, and more sun.

If anyone wants a root cutting for postage or trade, email me!


On Aug 4, 2004, PurplePansies from Deal, NJ (Zone 7a) wrote:

This is a fine plant...... good if you want something really indestructable and easy to grow...... Looks nice with echinaceas and rudbeckias......... NOt the prettiest plant though...... pretty leaves although they can look very catctusy and inaapropriate in some gardens...... especially up north..... the blooms are nothing to write home about..... Look like broccoli...... good for low maintenance long term long season though not year round interest though......... would I reccomend it...... naaaahhhhh


On Sep 23, 2003, Karenn from Mount Prospect, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

The more you ignore this variety, the better it does. Yes, it does take a year or two to really establish a clump, but you should not amend clay soil, and you should not "feed" these plants. The amended and fed soil (along with too much water) is what creates the "floppies"! Left to their own devices, they self-sow willy-nilly anywhere within 10 to 20 feet! And, yes, they are very easy to propagate. Break off a stem & stick it in the ground! You'll have a small plant the next year, and a mature plant the following year.


On Jun 20, 2003, haleygem from Saugus, MA wrote:

Very Hardy. I have it growing in a mostly shade garden in the NE zone 6. I know it is a sun plant but this just shows how hardy it is.


On Apr 24, 2003, beckykay from Godfrey, IL (Zone 6a) wrote:

I have been growing them for several years and have passed these plants on to friends and neighbors. Very easy to divide. I do use a round cage to help hold them together after they are about 6" tall or they seem to fall over. Have a great gardening day today. Thx.


On Apr 24, 2003, jkom51 from Oakland, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

I hope these do better their second year compared to the first year (container plants installed March '02). Contrary to what others have posted, here in Northern CA mine bloom in the springtime after the winter rains. What I found disappointing is that without regular water, the flowerheads don't even open; just turn an ugly brown.

During the summer the plants were rather unattractive, particularly compared to the lantana, scaevola, euryops, etc., which bloomed very well on smaller amounts of water than the sedums apparently needed.

They died back a bit in late winter last year and now have almost doubled in size. I'm crossing my fingers that they'll perform better this year.

I think their foliage is very ordinary-looking compared to the newer ... read more


On Apr 23, 2003, Kelli from L.A. (Canoga Park), CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

My Autumn Joy bloom in August and are a sign to me that the oppressive summer heat will soon be tapering off.


On Apr 23, 2003, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

This perennially-popular perennial was created in 1955 by crossing Sedum spectabile with Sedum telephium. It is often found listed as S. spectabile or S. telephium.


On May 3, 2002, loisbeth wrote:

Autumn Joy Sedum is a succulent perennial with 6" flat-topped flower spikes that open pale-pink darken with age to bronze. Foliage is grayish green. Nice early fall addition to the garden.