Sedum Production Made Easy

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Sedum "Hot Stuff'

Consumers have long loved sedums for their late summer and early fall color, not to mention their marked durability and low maintenance.

The love affair continues with a new crop of sedums from Terra Nova Nurseries: the Candy series, the Party Hardy series, ‘Class Act,’ ‘Crystal Pink,’ ‘Hot Stuff’ and ‘Mr. Goodbud.’ Each is hardy to Zones 4-9 and offers great new characteristics, including vibrant colors and a strong, upright habit. There’s no breaking apart to worry about.

The Candy series features ‘Chocolate Drop’ (chocolaty-brown upright stems with rose-colored flowers) and ‘Raspberry Truffle’ (rosy-pink flowers over scalloped, deep brown/purple leaves). The plants grow 12 to 14 inches tall.

The Party Hardy series includes ‘Beach Party’ (masses of starry, light rose flowers against yellow/green, red-edged foliage), ‘Birthday Party’ (big, dark rose pink flower heads over bronze/purple foliage) and ‘Pool Party’ (light pink clusters contrasting with aqua/blue/green foliage). Thse plants grow 10 to 24 inches.

Another sedum, ‘Class Act,’ offers rounded masses of rose flowers on dense, upright mounds of muted green leaves. ‘Class Act’ is the winner of the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit, growing 16 inches tall. It’s hardy to Zones 4-9.

Other sedums worth a look are:
• ‘Crystal Pink.’ It bears big heads of pale-pink starry flowers on short stems. It reaches 16 inches in height.
• ‘Hot Stuff.’ It’s a dwarf form and the shortest and tightest S. spectabile-type around. ‘Hot Stuff’ features ultra-bright pink flower heads. Growing 14 inches tall, it forms tight, solid mounds of pale green foliage.
• ‘Mr. Goodbud.’ This sedum is a color breakthrough with dark mauve flowers that open from light pink buds.

To me, the newest cultivars are even easier growing for producers and consumers alike. Here are a few tips to help you make these beauties shine.

Planting
Plant one liner per 4-inch pot. Plants will finish in about 10 to 12 weeks.

Media
Plant sedums in a well-drained media with a lower organic matter component.

pH/Electrical Conductivity
Maintain pH at 5.5 to 6.5 in soilless media. Ideal electrical conductivity should be 0.75 to 1.2.

Temperatures
Sedums do well with temperatures of 55áµ’F at night and 65áµ’F during the day.

Light Requirements
Provide approximately 2,500 to 5,000 foot candles of light, but keep in mind that direct sun can reduce growth in hot regions.

Pinching & Plant Growth Regulators
Pinch sedum once. Overwintered pots may not need pinching. No plant growth regulators are required.

Fertilizer
Supply a low to medium liquid fertilizer at 100 to 150 parts per million, or use a slow-release fertilizer at 0.5 to 1 pound of nitrogen per cubic yard. Avoid over-fertilizing.

Watering
Keep plants well drained between thorough waterings. Avoid water on the leaves in direct sun.

Other Notes
A preventive fungicide after potting can be beneficial. For mixed containers, finish sedums in a 4-inch pot, then place the finished 4-inch into the mixed container ready for sales. Assemble your components when you’re ready to sell the mixed container instead of trying to grow the mixed container. This eliminates the problem of different chemical and irrigation needs during finishing.

Josiah Raymer is head grower and general manager for Emerald Coast Growers, a supplier of perennial starter plants, specialty plants and ornamental grass liners. You can eMail him at jraymer@ecgrowers.com.
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