Oregon native Sedum that is found at mid and high elevations of the Cascades. It makes its home on recent road cuts and rocky, gravelly cliffs. Small rolly polely green succulent leaves line trailing stems. Very juicy. Forms a thick evergreen mat in full sun to part shade in well drained soil. Excels in enriched soil that also drains. Light to regular summer water to retain luster otherwise completely adapted to summer drought. Rock walls, containers, rock gardens. Easy to grow native that is one of our most attractive stone crops. In late spring 4″ stems rise with clusters of bright yellow/gold star shaped flowers. As with all Sedums they are coveted by pollinators. Takes on red tints in cold weather. Evergreen. Oregon native plant.
Plant Type: Succulents & Cacti
Succulents offer dramatic shape and architecture rarely seen in our gardens. Whether hardy specimens for rock gardens or as dramatic seasonal plants nothing can beat their exotic structure. We include yuccas and succulent perennials in this list. There are several tricks to growing some of the more dramatic cold hardy Agaves in our climate. First, they should be planted as soon as the soil warms in spring. Tilt the rosette- this is best on a slope so that winter rain/ice will run out of the rosette and not gather and freeze- causing stress. Give them VERY good air circulation and take away any leaves from deciduous plants that have gathered in the rosette. Be careful. Some people use a blower, I’ve had luck with a can of air to clean office equipment. Save your hands from the spikes. Ouch.
Amend the soil for success
Normally we aren’t big fans of soil amending. It seems ridiculous for most native plants and its a huge carbon footprint when a truck has to bring you compost. In the case of cold hardy succulents amending is crucial in our climate because of our winter rainfall pattern. To site: Find a slope in full sun and excavate a large amount of the soil and save. Add medium to large boulders underground and on top. Incorporate 1/2″ minus or any other rough hued gravel into the saved soil and add a small amount of all purpose fertilizer and replace. Plant carefully, its not usual to see people using BAR B Q tongs and ovenmits to handle Cacti and Agaves. Plant hardy rosette forming plants at a tilt to avoid the accumulation of water/ice into the crown- it should be able to drain away. Plant, water in well. Most succulents grow when its warm so to establish them you should water them well in the first HOT summer they are in the ground. Roots will penetrate deeper as the soil temperature will be warm too. Let the soil dry completely between watering. For hardy Cacti and Succulents weeds and weed seeds can pose a difficult problem. Eliminating them is painful and tedious at any time of the year. Mulch with gravel and keep up on your weeding, especially in winter when you think least to do it.
Do not leave rocks/leaves in the rosette- it will cause winter rot
Remove all rocks and leaves from the center of the Agave before winter hits. The most efficient way is to use a blower and clean out the duff completely. If leaves are left in the crown they will rot the plant as they decompose. Agaves like to dry off between rainstorms. Put them in a fully exposed site facing south and do not let other plants over top them. This is also fatal. When desperate one of those cans of air to clean office equipment is also useful. Hold it no closer than 1′ from the plant (too close and it can freeze the plant as it is super cooled and can form ice) but at least a foot away you’ll still get enough of an air blast to knock just about anything out.
Winter aridity is the key to hardiness
If you plan on growing your hardy succulents in containers make sure that you don’t pot it into a container that is too difficult to move. Many succulents are very hardy to cold as long as they are dry in the winter. Most come from summer rainfall areas. They prefer moisture when its hot but dryness when its cold. Move containerized plant to a dry spot- under an eave or a cold greenhouse BEFORE winter rains begin and leaves start to fall. Dryness in winter can afford you almost 10ºF extra` degrees of cold hardiness. Keep them dry in winter. In the ground, this is where sharp drainage and amending pays dividends. Also, Agaves and hardy Cacti are actually tender until they have fully rooted out into the ground. The more roots you have, the better established the better the plant can resist cold and wet. Plant them as soon as it warms in spring and care for them for their first season. Again always let hem dry between irrigation. In subsequent years you can add one handful of all purpose prilled fertilizer each spring.
Location is everything
These plants all need to be sited carefully to succeed. Plant them in hot south facing aspects, on slopes, in hot rock gardens at the base of a hot wall. Even a thoughtfully placed boulder can absorb and radiate enough sun heat that it will offer benefits to these plants. Remember most of these plants are experimental in our climate. Our rainfall patterns that combine cold and wet are anathema to where they grow. Though they take preparation and thought very few plans offer as much bold structure and simplicity. They are worth it.
Climate Adapted Plants for Gardeners in the PNW
Sedum makinoi ‘Ogon’
Interesting small yellow Sedum from Japan that is from a summer rainfall climate. That means that it likes consistent water in the summer. Good drainage is key and this plant performs a valuable role as the glowing understory to woodland perennials and shrubs. Rich, well drained soil with regular summer irrigation in part shade to shade. Bleaches to almost white in full sun. Early spring flowers are yellow and brief. Excellent as the lower level of a summer planting. Evergreen and easy. Aerate the soil well by double digging and incorporating oxygen into the soil before planting. To 3″ high and spreading to more than a foot wide in a season. Its best home is in containers where it makes a great, glowing year round element. Excellent as a ground cover under shrubs in a container.
Not hard to tell where this stone crop is endemic. It resides mostly in the middle elevations of the western Cascades. Rocky slopes, cliffs, and road cuts is where you find the clusters of small green rosettes that makes large colonies. In summer 4″ stems arrive topped with bright gold/yellow flowers- a pollinators dream. Little spreading plant to just inches high but expanding to several feet wide in well drained, somewhat enriched soil with light summer water. Full sun to quite a bit of shade. Forms a dense mat and may be used as a small scale weed blocking ground cover. Easy to grow plant. Roots into the ground as it spreads- evergreen. Oregon Native Plant.
Sedum oregonense ‘McKenzie River’
There are so many great native Sedums that it can be hard to choose? But why choose when you can have them all. This little succulent creeper is most often seen on rocky slopes in the western Cascades. It occupies the hottest regions but sends its roots between the cracks in the rocks to absorb moisture. In summer 4″ spikes hold boisterous gold flowers- adored by pollinators. Spreads very slowly to about 3″ tall and 1′ wide. Adapts to rich, well drained sites with light to little summer moisture. Excellent in rock gardens, slopes, among small drought adapted shrubs. Very easy to grow. This form is from the central Oregon Cascades. Oregon native plant.
One of the very best Sedums that we grow. Trailing stems hold relatively large rosettes of fleshy blue gray leaves. Superficially it resembles a tender echeveria etc. But, its totally hardy and incredibly adaptable. Forming mounded spreading colonies from a dome shape and encompassing an area several feet wide shortly. Adaptable to full sun and no water but also a surprising amount of shade. Its best application is perhaps in containers and specifically winter containers. Excellent winter appearance. In early spring it erupts in clouds of bright yellow flowers. To 6″ tall x 2′ wide in rich to average, well drained soil. Not a fussy succulent by any stretch it persists with just average conditions. Native to the highest elevations of Mexico. Cold hardy (when not saturated) to at least 0ºF. Widely used in seasonal and permanent containers in Europe. Picture a Sempervivum (Hens and chicks) on a slightly trailing stem. Light consistent summer H20 but accepts drought. Very easy to propagate by moving stems from one location to the next. Even share with your neighbors. Easy.
One of our favorite trailing succulents for containers. This is a half hardy Sedum (Zn8b) that will persist in most gardens most winters. Rolly poly emerald green foliage takes on dramatic red tints- especially on the older leaves. To 6″ tall and 20″ wide in a season. Rich, WELL DRAINED soil with light summer water. Full sun to part shade. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it bloom and I don’t really care. Trails 1′ over the edge of containers. Mix with other succulents or low water perennials such as Erodium or Scutellaria. Excellent performance at the Oregon coast.
Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’
Immensely useful, if rambunctious sedum that glows in vivid gold to chartreuse. The needle like leaves are vivid and line trailing stems. The stems root where they hit the ground- good local solution for erosion. Fast growing plant that spreads indefinitely in sun to quite a bit of shade. So easy to grow that I suggest you plant it in AVERAGE well drained soil. No need for amendments because the truth is once you have this plant you will always have it. Evergreen. Easy to remove from unwanted places. Simply pick it up off the ground and dispose. Or move it. I use this plant as a fast low water place holder when I’m deciding what to put in next. To plant simply toss it on the ground and water. You can bury it a little but its really not necessary. Avoid strongly compacted soil. Yellow flowers in early spring. Nice ground cover under trees. Hardy. Oh, so hardy.
Sedum sediforme ‘Spanish Selection’
A really good Sedum that I got from a friend who collected it on the Iberian Peninsula in the Spanish mountains. Very soft blue gray foliage is shaped like pine needles lining trailing stems. Forms a good ground cover very fast. In summer 10″ vertical stems support clouds of soft off white flowers. Very different from so many other Sedums that bloom yellow. This soft color is very effective in the garden and of course draws pollinators from miles around. When spent the stems remain erect and turn gray- they may easily be collected by simply giving each a soft tug- or a whole a handful and they will break cleanly. Full sun to very light shade. Average to enriched soil that is not compacted. Good looking year round appearance. Not quite as dense or prolific as Sedum reflexum but still good. Slopes, between shrubs, as competition for weeds. Roots along the ground as it grows. Moves with ease and may be used as a temporary place holder while you think of what to plant next. Simply scoop up the foliage and move it to another place. Actual planting is not necessary. Share with friends. Great in seasonal as well as winter containers. To several feet wide. Light summer water or none when established. Easy plant.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Sedum spathulifolium ‘Cape Blanco’
An old standard form of our native and widespread Stonecrop. This form is unique for its very pale gray almost white rosettes of leaves. It spreads vigorously in rich to average well drained soil with light summer water. Soil should be light and not compacted. It makes a very good small scale ground cover. Also excellent in rock gardens and even winter containers. Great long lived and easy container subject. To just inches high a single plant can reproduce to several feet wide. In late spring 6″ stems grow upright to display masses of brilliant yellow flowers. Adored by all pollinators. When cold wet weather arrives the entire plant takes on red/raspberry tones. Very pretty. Easy to grow native perennial. Full sun to quite a bit of shade. Oregon native plant.
Sedum spathulifolium ‘Carnea’
Interesting form of Stone crop that has foliage that takes on brilliant red/purple tints in cold weather or with drought stress. Powdery blue foliage is arranged in rosettes at the end of 3″ stems. Starting with the outer most leaves the vivid tints become most apparent in mid-late summer through winter. Red stems support clusters of gold/yellow flowers in early summer. Excellent pollinator plant as are all Sedums. Easy to grow in any soil that drains reasonably well. In regular ground double dig the soil to incorporate oxygen into the soil and avoid compaction. It will spread to multiple feet across in short order. In rock gardens it can be a little rambunctious around delicate plantings. Give it room and plan for it to spread. Great in seasonal containers, troughs, rock walls. Light summer water speeds the growth rate- it also inhibits the bright color. Oregon native plant.