Thursday, February 19, 2009


While I’m awaiting spring to arrive, I thought I’d start doing some homework on garden cleanup. I purchased a great book last year, Month by Month Gardening in Michigan. This weekend will allow me more time to browse through it, but I do know it doesn’t go into detail beyond basic plant categories. Therefore, I'm going to look up some individual plants to see how I should be catering to them in a month or so.

I remember this as being the only type of succulent we have on our lot. Out of all the different types of sedum, I believe our plants are Autumn Joy. There are several around, but the largest by far grows in the back alley bed. This guy grew enormous last year with beautiful color arriving in late summer or early fall. I read Sedum prefer well drained soil, so this full sun bed more than likely kept the moisture level down and the plant happy.

As far as spring cleanup, most sites recommend using pruners to trim old stems and flowers back to the ground. Be careful not to prune the new growth. Mulch around the plant, but avoid placing mulch right up to the stems or else rot may occur. Since Sedum likes well drained soil,  rocks are suggested as a mulch option for this type of plant.

Let’s return to the enormous, beautiful Sedum from last year. By early fall, a hard rain would soak the flower heads and cause the plant stems to droop. The thin stems grew so long they couldn’t support the water weight. The Yardener site suggests trimming stems by about 1/3rd in early summer (late May or early June) before the flowers form to avoid this problem in the fall. I’m definitely going to give the technique a try.

I was wondering last year if the monster in the alley bed would have to be divided this spring. It seems sedum tell you they need to be divided when the center of the plant no longer has stems growing from it. I’ll keep an eye on the plants this spring and will address the “how to” when/if  necessary.

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