Purple Emperor Sedum

Tips for Growing Cacti and Succulents

Cacti shipped early in the spring may be dormant. As the weather warms, these cacti will expand and green-up. Remember, after an initial watering to settle the soil around the roots, no further water should be applied until the weather warms up. If plants are dormant and the spring weather is rainy, protect the plants from too much moisture by covering them with a gallon plastic milk container with the bottom cut out. Leave the top off the jug so heat build up isn’t excessive in sunny weather.

Soil Preparation

All the species of hardy cacti and succulents require fast-draining soil.

Planting in the ground

Put the plants on a slope or raised area of the garden, not in a low spot which collects water. Select a bed with full sun exposure, preferably next to a south or west facing wall. These areas will provide extra winter warmth. In heavy clay soils, it is essential to replace half or more of the soil from a 10”x 10” or larger hole with coarse sand and gravel mixed thoroughly with the remaining soil to ensure adequate drainage. No compost should be added, only a small handful of Planters II and Yum Yum Mix®.

Planting in an outdoor pot or planter

Use a planting mix of 3 parts garden soil + 2 parts coarse sand + 2 parts coarse perlite (or similar material). When growing plants indoors in pots, use a good quality potting soil to mix with the sand, and expanded shale instead of garden soil.

Planting Instructions

1. Cacti, agaves, and tap-rooted succulents (Aloinopsis, Titanopsis, Nananthus) should be transplanted bare-root. Let the soil in the pot dry out for a few days. Then remove the pot and gently loosen the soil so it falls away from the roots. Trim off any broken roots. Bare root plants should then be planted into a shallow hole. Spread out the roots evenly and sprinkle the soil into the hole until full. The base of the plant should rest on top of the soil. Mulch with a 1⁄2”-1” thick layer of pea-sized gravel around the base of the plant to protect it from contact with soggy soil over the winter months. (See planting diagram on page 12 of our Planting Guide.)

2. Succulents with fibrous roots (Ruschia, Delosperma, Sedum, and others) need not be transplanted bare-root, instead, the root ball should be scored and roughed out like other perennials.


1. Bare-root cacti and tap-rooted succulents must not be watered right away, but should sit dry for a day or two to allow the roots to callus over any broken or damaged areas. Other succulents can be watered in right away. Water thoroughly with a mixture of SeaCom-PGR and Superthrive to stimulate strong new root growth. Water again with this mixture two weeks later.

2. Outdoor beds with new plants should be initially watered once every 5 to 7 days for the first month or so after transplanting. Cacti and succulents enjoy regular watering during the heat of the summer and will grow vigorously. After the first year, most cacti species need a good soaking only once every 2-4 weeks during the spring and summer if there has been no rain.

3. Potted plants require more frequent, regular watering, especially if the weather is hot and dry.

4. To prepare cacti and succulents for the approach of winter, begin withholding water in the fall so the plants can begin to dehydrate and shrivel. Plump, well watered plants are ripe for cold damage when temperatures plunge in late fall/early winter.


Cacti and succulents are very modest in their fertilizer requirements. When planted in the ground, fertilizing in spring with SeaCom-PGR and Yum Yum Mix® will encourage plentiful flowers and good stem growth. When planted in pots, remember to feed monthly with the same mixture as above, beginning in late summer.

Winter Protection

Garden plants: Many cacti and succulents are quite cold hardy if kept dry in the cold winter and spring months. In areas that receive a lot of winter and spring moisture (especially rain), it is strongly recommended that plants be protected from cold, wet soil conditions. For example, a temporary cold frame can be constructed using pipe or PVC hoops covered with a clear plastic sheet to cover the entire bed. Or individual plants can be covered with plastic gallon milk jugs with the bottom cut out to keep the ground around the plants dry. Leave the top off the jug so heat build up isn’t excessive in sunny weather. Problems will occur if plants are in wet soil all winter or sit under melting snow for extended periods.

Potted plants: Should be moved under a roof overhang on the south or west side of the house or placed in a well ventilated cold frame. Water pots and other containers lightly a few times over the winter during warm spells.

All our cacti, agaves and succulents are seed-grown or cutting-grown in our greenhouses. Cacti and agave plants are 2-4 years old; succulents are 1-2 years old. Please, never collect cacti from the wild unless it’s to rescue plants from construction sites. Many species are close to extinction in their native habitats due to irresponsible collectors.

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Perennials are described and classified differently by different gardeners but all would agree that they are plants that come into flower every year from early spring to late summer, the exact time dependent on variety and most die back to ground level in autumn and winter.

As for all plants, soil preparation is time well spent. Dig over the area to be planted ensuring that the ground is free draining. If not then you may wish to either consider planting in a different spot or raising the level of the planting area by adding additional topsoil, well rotted garden compost and/or well rotted manure. Add ‘Fish, Blood and Bone’ fertiliser or a high potash fertiliser to encourage good root growth and development.

It’s always a good idea to plant a few of the same plant together, we recommend planting in 3’s or 5’s to provide a bold effect but allowing them plenty of room to develop.

Always check eventual plant heights when planning borders to ensure that the taller plants are at the back (or at the centre of an island bed) followed by the medium and then smaller low growing plants.

Remember to deadhead perennials after flowering, trim back lightly in autumn as required to tidy the border and if necessary trim again in spring once the risk of heavy frost has passed.

If perennials get too big, start to flower less and less or if it seems to be dying off from the centre, consider dividing the plant but always check that the particular variety is happy to be divided and that you divide at the right time of year for the plant.

By using this simple guide and a little time, perennials can make an absolutely spectacular difference to your garden.

Scientific Name

Sedum spathulifolium ‘Purpureum’

Common Names

Purple Broadleaf Stonecrop, Purple Spoon-leaved Stonecrop, Purple Stonecrop, Purpureum Stonecrop, Red Chalk Stonecrop

Scientific Classification

Family: Crassulaceae
Subfamily: Sedoideae
Tribe: Sedeae
Subtribe: Sedinae
Genus: Sedum


Sedum spathulifolium ‘Purpureum’ is a mat forming, evergreen perennial up to 4 inches (10 cm) tall, with fleshy, reddish-purple leaves up to 0.8 inch (2 cm) long. Flowers are bright yellow in small, flattish terminal clusters, and appear in late spring and early summer.

Photo via gorraonline.it

How to Grow and Care

When growing Sedum, keep in mind that Sedum plants need very little attention or care. They will thrive in conditions that many other plants thrive in, but will do just as well in less hospitable areas. They are ideal for that part of your yard that gets too much sun or too little water to grow anything else. A common name for Sedum is Stonecrop, due to the fact that many gardeners joke that only stones need less care and live longer.

Sedum is easily planted. For shorter varieties, simply laying the plant on the ground where you want it to grow is normally enough to get the Sedum plant started there. They will send out roots from wherever the stem is touching the ground and root itself. If you would like to further ensure that the plant will start there, you can add a very thin covering of soil over the plant. For taller Sedum varieties, you can break off one of the stems and push it into the ground where you would like to grow it. The stem will root very easily and anew plant will be established in a season or two… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Sedum.


Garden origin.


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Stonecrop is a succulent herb that includes perhaps 600 species — mostly in the North Temperate Zone. Many make excellent garden subjects, but they are usually not found in most nursery centers and are only available from the various rock garden societies. The genus name is from the ancient Latin term, sedere, “to sit,” referring to their low-spreading habit or possibly from sedere, “to quiet,” alluding to their supposed sedative properties.

Description of stonecrop: Sedums have strong stems with succulent, usually alternate leaves. Terminal clusters of small, star-shaped flowers have 5 petals. Stonecrop ease of care: Easy.


How to grow stonecrop: Sedums need only a good, well-drained garden soil in full sun. They withstand drought and do amazingly well in very poor soils.

Propagating stonecrop: By seed, by leaf cuttings, or by division.

Uses for stonecrop: The tall sedums, like Sedum spectabile, are excellent in the bed and border, especially effective when planted in masses. The shorter, sprawling types are best for the rock garden. Most make excellent cut flowers.

Stonecrop related species: Sedum Aizoon reaches a height of between 12 and 18 inches with yellow to orange flowers in summer. Sedum kamtschaticum is only 4 inches high and has deep green, scalloped leaves. It bears orange-yellow flowers from July to September. Sedum sieboldii is often called the “October Daphne.” It’s a trailing plant with lightly scalloped leaves and lovely pink flowers appearing in late fall. Bloom is often killed by frost. Sedum spurium is a creeping sedum, evergreen even in Zone 5, and makes an excellent ground cover. ‘Bronze Carpet’ has leaves that are tinted bronze and bears pink flowers, while ‘Dragon’s Blood’ has dark red flowers.

Stonecrop related varieties: Hybrid Sedums: Probably one of the top ten perennials in the garden world today is ‘Autumn Joy.’ It is also known as ‘Herbstfreude’ or ‘Indian Chief.’ Although best in full sun, plants will take light shade. They are always attractive: whether in tight buds of a light blue-green a top 2-foot stems; rosy pink in early bloom; in late bloom as the flowers turn mahogany; or a russet-brown during the winter. ‘John Creech’ is 2 inches tall with showy pink flowers. ‘Sunset Cloud’ had scalloped blue-green leaves that are purple in winter and late season, and wine-red flowers on 4- to 6-inch plants. ‘Matrona’ is perhaps the best of the large sedums, with stiff stems clothed in blue-gray leaves and terminal clusters of dusty pink flowers that dry to rich chocolate brown. ‘Purple Emperor’ has rich purple flowers and rose flowers on open clumps to 15 inches tall and 18 inches wide. ‘Ruby Glow’ and ‘Bertram Anderson’ have weakly upright or sprawling 12-inch stems with rounded purple-tinged leaves and ruby-red flowers. ‘Strawberries and Cream’ has purple leaves and rosy buds that open to white flowers. ‘Brilliant’ opens its fluorescent pink flowers in midsummer. ‘Meteor’ bears carmine-red blossoms on 18-inch stems.

Scientific name for stonecrop: Sedum spectabile

Phedimus spurius

  • Attributes: Genus: Phedimus Species: spurius Family: Crassulaceae Life Cycle: Perennial Country Or Region Of Origin: North Eastern Turkey to Northern Iran Wildlife Value: flowers attract bees and butterflies Play Value: Attractive Flowers Attracts Pollinators Textural Wildlife Food Source Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems): good drought tolerance Edibility: Stems and leaves, when very young and tender, may be eaten raw. Later, until they flower, they may be briefly cooked. Dimensions: Height: 0 ft. 2 in. – 0 ft. 6 in. Width: 2 ft. 0 in. – 3 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits: Plant Type: Ground Cover Poisonous Leaf Characteristics: Semi-evergreen Growth Rate: Medium Texture: Fine
  • Fruit: Fruit Type: Capsule
  • Flowers: Flower Color: Gold/Yellow Orange Pink Purple/Lavender Red/Burgundy White Flower Value To Gardener: Long-lasting Showy Flower Bloom Time: Spring Summer Flower Shape: Star Flower Petals: 4-5 petals/rays Flower Size: < 1 inch Flower Description: White, pink to purplish star-shaped flowers on 6 in. stems in summer
  • Leaves: Leaf Characteristics: Semi-evergreen Leaf Color: Gold/Yellow Gray/Silver Green Leaf Feel: Slippery Leaf Value To Gardener: Showy Deciduous Leaf Fall Color: Red/Burgundy Hairs Present: No Leaf Length: < 1 inch Leaf Width: < 1 inch Leaf Description: Leaves arranged in two columns along the stem; deciduous towards the stem base and evergreen near the tip; foliage takes on burgundy hues in fall
  • Stem: Stem Is Aromatic: No
  • Landscape: Landscape Location: Houseplants Naturalized Area Recreational Play Area Woodland Landscape Theme: Butterfly Garden Children’s Garden Drought Tolerant Garden Pollinator Garden Rock Garden Attracts: Bees Butterflies Pollinators Songbirds Resistance To Challenges: Drought
  • Poisonous to Humans: Poison Severity: Low Poison Symptoms: Unknown, but possibly gastrointestinal symptoms. Poison Toxic Principle: Alkaloids sedine, sedamine, and others. Causes Contact Dermatitis: No Poison Part: Flowers Leaves Roots Stems

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