Autumn Joy SedumHylotelephium (Herbstfreude Group) ‘Herbstfreude’
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Hylotelephium (Herbstfreude Group) ‘Herbstfreude’
Outdoor Growing zone
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Autumn Joy Sedum is a versatile plant that pairs well with a variety of other plants. It is particularly stunning when grown with ornamental grasses, as the contrasting textures and colors create a visually appealing display. Other perennials, such as Coneflowers, Black-Eyed Susans, and Russian Sage, also make excellent companions. Small shrubs, including Boxwood and Spirea, can provide a lovely backdrop for the vibrant colors of Autumn Joy Sedum.
Autumn Joy Sedum is an excellent choice for rock gardens due to its ability to thrive in well-drained, rocky soils. Its attractive foliage and vibrant fall colors can add visual interest and contrast to the stones and other plants in the rock garden. Additionally, its drought resistance makes it a low-maintenance choice. Simply plant it in a sunny spot and ensure the soil is well-drained.
Autumn Joy Sedum is a very low-maintenance plant, making it a great choice for both novice and experienced gardeners. It is not typically affected by pests or diseases, and it is not a favorite of deer or rabbits. The only maintenance it requires is cutting back the dead stems to about an inch or so from the ground once a year, which can be done anytime from late fall to early spring.
Yes, Autumn Joy Sedum can be successfully grown in containers. It is a durable plant that can withstand a variety of conditions, making it a great choice for container gardening. Just ensure that the container has good drainage, as Autumn Joy Sedum prefers well-drained soil. Its attractive foliage and vibrant fall colors can make it a stunning focal point in container arrangements.
Autumn Joy Sedum is not picky about soil type, as long as it is well-drained. It can grow in a wide range of soils, from heavy clays to sandy gravels. It can even thrive in shallow, rocky soils. While it can tolerate poor soils, it will grow larger and more vigorously in richer garden soils. However, overly rich soils can make the plant floppy and may require some support.
Autumn Joy Sedum prefers full sun for optimal growth and flower production. While it can tolerate some shade, too much can weaken the plant, making it floppy and pale, and reducing the size and vibrancy of the flowers. Regardless of your climate, from arid to damp, as long as the plant gets plenty of sun, it should thrive.
Autumn Joy Sedum is a great plant for attracting pollinators to your garden. Its large, flat flower heads are packed with hundreds of tiny star-shaped flowers that bees and butterflies find irresistible. The flowers begin to open in late summer, turning from rosy-pink to a warm red in fall, providing a long season of nectar for pollinators.
Autumn Joy Sedum is a cold-resistant plant that can handle a wide range of climates. It can grow in USDA hardiness zones 3 to 9, making it a versatile choice for gardens across much of the United States. As a long-lived perennial, it will return year after year, providing beautiful fall color even as temperatures drop.
Autumn Joy Sedum is a heat and drought-resistant plant, making it a great choice for gardens in arid regions or areas prone to dry spells. Once established, it can withstand long periods of heat and drought, requiring little to no supplemental watering. This makes it a great low-maintenance choice for sunny, dry areas of the garden.
Autumn Joy Sedum has a rich history. It is a descendent of a plant called Hylotelephium spectabile, which is native to China and Korea and was first grown in France in the 1860s. The Autumn Joy Sedum we know today was developed by German nurseryman Georg Arends. He created hybrids of Hylotelephium spectabile, one of which was ‘Herbstfreude’, also known as ‘Autumn Joy’. This plant was first offered for sale in his catalogue in 1955 and has been a popular choice for gardens ever since.