Autumn Joy Sedum

Hylotelephium (Herbstfreude Group) ‘Herbstfreude’

Autumn Joy Sedum

Hylotelephium (Herbstfreude Group) ‘Herbstfreude’


How are the heights measured?

All tree, and nothin' but the tree! We measure from the top of the soil to the top of the tree; the height of the container or the root system is never included in our measurements.

What is a gallon container?

Nursery containers come in a variety of different sizes, and old-school nursery slang has stuck. While the industry-standard terminology is to call the sizes "Gallon Containers", that doesn't exactly translate to the traditional liquid "gallon" size we think of. You'll find we carry young 1-gallons, up to more mature 7-gallons ranging anywhere from 6 inches to 6ft.

How does the delivery process work?

All of our orders ship via FedEx Ground! Once your order is placed online, our magic elves get right to work picking, staging, boxing and shipping your trees. Orders typically ship out within 2 business days. You will receive email notifications along the way on the progress of your order, as well as tracking information to track your plants all the way to their new home!

Why are some states excluded from shipping?

The short & sweet answer is: "United States Department of Agriculture Restrictions." Every state has their own unique USDA restrictions on which plants they allow to come into their state. While we wish we could serve everyone, it's for the safety of native species and helps prevent the spread of invasive disease & pests. We've gotta protect good ole' Mother Nature, after all.

About Me


The Autumn Joy Sedum is a long-lived perennial plant that is the backbone of fall flowering in every garden. It has attractive blue-green foliage and flower buds, followed in late summer and through fall by an ever-changing display from light pink to deepest burgundy. The perfect way to bring color to your fall garden, and perfect to grown with ornamental grasses for a wonderful display. About 2 feet tall and wide, it is ideal for fronting beds, planting among rocks and on slopes or terracing, and for planters. Attracts pollinators and butterflies.

  • Spectacular pink and dark red fall flowering
  • Always attractive through the seasons
  • Fundamental plant for every garden
  • Durable and heat, cold and drought-resistant
  • Wonderful grown with ornamental grasses

Full sun is best for the Autumn Joy Sedum, which thrives in all well-drained soils, including rocky ground and heavy clays. Grows well in urban conditions and unaffected by pests, diseases, deer or rabbits. Very drought resistant and grows even in zone 3. Cut back stems once a year from late fall to early spring.

Plant Hardiness Zones 3-9
Mature Width 1-2
Mature Height 1-2
Sun Needs Full Sun
Zones 3-9

Balancing your garden across the seasons is an on-going project for everyone. It’s pretty easy to build a garden that looks great during spring, but increasingly hard to keep going as the seasons come along. Fall is both a time of glory with our trees, and also a time of decline for most of our perennial flowers. But not always, and you can bring true joy to the weeks of fall with the Autumn Joy Sedum, and have attractive planting through summer too. For long-term beauty this is a plant that is hard to beat, and one that’s easy to grow too. From the first blue-green leaves of the spring growth, through the developing broccoli-like green stage of flower development in summer, to the gorgeous changes through pinks to deep burgundies of fall, this is a plant that will please you every day you walk by it. The ease of growing it and how little it asks for will please you too, you can be sure of that. The ‘perfect perennial’ if ever there was one, this is a plant that belongs in every garden, and never tires, no matter how long you grow it for.

Growing Autumn Joy Sedum

Size and Appearance

Autumn Joy Sedum is a clump-forming herbaceous plant that sprouts each spring from a perennial root. It forms a cluster of upright stems that are covered in fleshy leaves forming pairs or trios all along the stems. The leaves are wedge-shaped, between 2 and 4 inches long, with a scalloped edge at the top, and they are soft green with a blue-white powdery coating. During the early part of the year this clump of foliage is a valuable complement to the other plants around it. The plant is between 1 and 2 feet tall and wide, becoming a little larger and more vigorous each year.

By mid-summer the ends of every stem has grown a flower head, which at this time resembles a clump of broccoli. Greenish-blue at this point, these early flower buds are also attractive, complementing everything around them. In late summer the first hint of color begins, and the heads have now flattened to be up to 6 inches across, packed with hundreds of tiny star-shaped flowers. They begin to turn rosy-pink, darkening gradually as the nights begin to cool, until by mid-fall they are a spectacular warm red, between ‘burgundy’ and ‘brick’. These warm and delicious colors are perfect in fall, and really make a spectacular display. There is never a moment, from spring to the first snow, when this plant doesn’t look attractive. In late fall the flower heads become brownish and in warmer areas they add lots of winter interest too. When the flowers begin to open they are a magnet for pollinators, from bees to butterflies.

Using Autumn Joy Sedum in Your Garden

The versatile Autumn Joy Sedum is as home in your flower and shrub beds as it is in a rock garden or planter box. Grow it in the front of your beds – it is always an attractive foreground, and turns into a major display in fall. It is a wonderful companion for ornamental grasses, other perennials, or small shrubs. It thrives in dry, difficult areas, turning them from ‘drab’ to ‘delightful’ with ease.


Autumn Joy Sedum grows almost everywhere, from zone 3 to zone 9, and it is as happy in arid parts of the country as it is in heat and humidity, or cooler, damper areas.

Sun Exposure and Soil Conditions

Full sun is the rule for Autumn Joy Sedum. Shade will weaken it, making it floppy and pale, with smaller flowers that won’t develop their full potential. It grows in just about all soils that are well-drained, from heavy clays to sandy gravels. It grows in shallow, rocky soils too. In poor, dry soils the clumps will often be smaller, but just as attractive. In richer garden soils they will be larger – so large they can need some support – so try to find a balance that isn’t too rich – manures are not needed. Once established this plant is very drought resistant, withstanding long periods of heat and drought.

Maintenance and Pruning

Pests and diseases are virtually unknown, unless the soil is too wet. It isn’t eaten by deer or by rabbits, and it isn’t toxic to humans or pets. At some time between late fall and early spring, cut off the dead stems to an inch or so. That’s it – no other maintenance is needed. In richer soils, it can become floppy, but a couple of bamboo canes and a length of string will soon fix that problem – just support it, don’t put it into bondage by tying it tightly.

History and Origin of Autumn Joy Sedum

The Autumn Joy Sedum is a descendent of a plant today called Hylotelephium spectabile. This plant was called Sedum spectabile for a long time, but DNA research has proved it isn’t a sedum at all. It grows naturally in China and Korea, and seems to have first been grown in France in the 1860s. This was a time when there was growing interest in perennial plants, particularly in England. Georg Arends was the son of a German family who owned a nursery, and from1885 he lived in England for a time, picking up that interest, which was very different from gardening in Germany. When he returned home in 1888 he set up his own nursery, dedicated to flowering perennial plants. During his life he created many garden plants we still enjoy today, including Astilbe and Phlox. He also developed sedums, and working with Sedum spectabile he created hybrids – we don’t know the exact parentage – of which the most famous is one called ‘Herbstfreude’. He first offered it for sale in his catalogue in 1955. For a long time, outside Germany, it was called ‘Autumn Joy’ or sometimes ‘Indian Chief’, but today we honor Arends by giving it the correct name. From it other plants have been created, and they are all placed together in the Herbstfreude Group of Hylotelephium, since we don’t know the exact parentage.

Buying Autumn Joy Sedum at the Tree Center

Everyone agrees that the Autumn Joy Sedum is one of the most outstanding of all perennials, and a plant that should be a feature in every garden. So this plant is always in high demand, and our stocks will be gone soon – order now and avoid disappointment.

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Autumn Joy Sedum

Hylotelephium (Herbstfreude Group) ‘Herbstfreude’