How to Grow and Care for Stonecrop Flower
Family and Genus
The Stonecrop is a succulent Sedum plant. Sedum refers to a large genus of flowering plants that belong to the family Crassulaceae, which is also home to many other succulents like the Jade plant. The name Sedum derives from the ancient Latin term “sedere” which means “to sit.” It is essentially a succulent herb that is known to include almost 600 different species. While these plants are primarily found in the North Temperate Zone, they also extend into South America and Africa. Some of the well-known species include Sedum Acre (also known as golden Stonecrop or wall-pepper), Sedum Album (white Stonecrop), Sedum Spurium (Caucasian Stonecrop), etc. Generally, the genus consists of annual, biennial as well as perennial herbs. Some of the species have waxy leaves, while others tend to be covered in leaf hair.
Features of Stonecrop
Perennial refers to plants that last for several years, while biennial refers to any plant that completes its life cycle in just two growing seasons. The Stonecrop is a perennial flower and is the most popular type of Sedum. It has strong and fleshy stems with succulent and is usually characterized by alternate leaves. The plant can creep around on the ground; therefore, it can be used as both potted plants and for the wider landscape. They are also grown in greenhouses due to their showy flowers as well as in rock gardens and rock walls to be used as garden borders and for beautification. Usually, smaller sedums are used in rock gardens, while taller ones are used in garden borders. Since succulent plants are known for the ability to retain water in their leaves, they are very drought tolerant. They can also take on the soil in arid climates. The plants can flourish well, provided they have minimal water and maximum sun exposure.
The flowers borne are of many different colors and range from purple, red, white, yellow, and pink. Stonecrop typically has fibrous and underdeveloped roots, and each flower usually has about five star-shaped petals in terminal clusters. Stonecrops crops use a special mechanism of photosynthesis known as Crassulacean acid metabolism. This type of photosynthesis is common to all plants in the Crassulaceae family. The plants usually bloom during late summer up to early fall.
Best Growing Practices
The best time to plant Sedum has been recommended during early spring when the bitterness of the frost is longer there, and it’s not too hot out yet. A well-drained soil, average to rich, is essential for proper growth. Too much moisture content in the soil can cause the plant to rot. They are usually grown by bringing them in pots and then transplanting them to the garden or wherever you would like to grow them. Full sun is best preferred while growing Stonecrop. A minimum recommendation is at least 6 hours of sunlight every day.
While planting, make sure that each plant is at least 6 inches and 2 feet apart, but this can always change based on what variety of Sedum you’re planting. The planting can be done either as divisions or as cuttings. For divisions, dig a hole, place plant in the hole, and then fill it up with soil. Make sure that the surface and the top of the root ball are on a level with each other. And for cuttings, simply place the end of the cuttings in the soil, and you can grow it like that itself.
Taking Care of the Plant
Once you have planted them, stonecrops don’t require much effort from your side. With enough water and more than enough sunlight, they can grow on their own. When the flowers bloomed, you can cut them accordingly to maintain them in shape. This will also limit them from spreading to other areas. But during spring or fall, the plants are likely to spread, so make sure to divide the plants.
Basically, since stonecrops can survive on their own even without water, the requirement for fertilizers is also quite less. Common practices include fertilizing the soil each spring with a handful of all-purpose fertilizers. If the soil is very rich in nutrients, then they need to be fertilized only every other year. An all-purpose fertilizer is recommended since they contain nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium all in equal amounts by weight. Compost is a great alternative to fertilizer, and sedums only require about 2 to 4-inch layers of compost on their base to meet all its nutrient requirements after planting.
While pests are not a serious issue for growing the plant, it does have its own set of enemies. Some common pests of the Stonecrop include mealy bugs, slugs, snails, and even birds that eat the succulent foliage. They also attract spider mites in a few cases. In some areas, animals like deer and squirrel are also known to feed on the new shoots of the sedum plant. Some of the commonly used preventive measures against pests include removing dead leaves, ensuring that the plants are dry, avoiding the usage of dead leaves from a previously infected plant into the compost, etc.
Uses of Stonecrop
Even though stonecrops are primarily used for designing purposes, it has several other uses too. You can use them on stone walls, planting beds and gardens. They are also used on green roofs since they don’t attract much pests or insects. Being able to thrive in even arid conditions and also being practically disease and weather resistant stonecrops make a great choice for environmentally friendly green roofs. Stonecrops are also used in beauty, makeup, and skincare products thanks to their ability to remove makeup and unclog all pores effectively. They are used as mists, gels, serums, and a wide variety of other beauty products. Other benefits of Stonecrop in skincare include reducing pigmentation, lightening the complexion, reduce aging, moisturizing, and calming sensitive skin.
Yes, stonecrops require very less maintenance once you have planted them. They are succulent plants that can hold water in their leaves so that they can survive without water for a long time. They only need abundant sunlight and well-drained soil to grow to their full ability.
Stone crops can survive without water, but they cannot survive without sun exposure. Full sun with at least 6 hours of sunlight is recommended.
Although they require very less water to survive, about 0.5” to 1” of water is typically recommended for them to look their best even in hot summers. But make sure you don’t overwater them since the plants won’t hold too well when the soil has too much water content.