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A Calendar of Succulents – March Must Mean Sedums

The genus Sedum is a group that most people have heard of haven’t they?

Sedums are green roof plants right? Or those creeping greyish plants that carpet the tops of old walls and then there are those autumn-flowering border plants with pink flowers that the bees love? These are all examples of the sedum or stonecrop family, but there are also many more exotic species that are pretty much unknown amongst the general public that should be worth knowing.

  Sedum mocinianum is something altogether quite different. A small, compact plant with plump bluish-grey leaves that are covered in dense white hairs – it looks like a small white furry mound in bright light. The plant is native to Mexico and was discovered only in the last thirty years. It is not hardy, and needs a warm bright windowsill to do its best where it will resemble a small grey animal nestling in its pot. It is a winter flowering plant – producing short stems with starry white flowers tinged with red during January and February. Do not assume that flowering means it could do with a drop of water as this is the worst thing you could possibly do and the plant will turn up its toes and die! This plant enjoys gritty, free-draining soil and needs to be kept completely dry over the winter months. Don’t be tempted to start watering again until it has completely stopped flowering and the days have started lengthening – say mid-March onwards. It will look well in a container of other succulents that enjoy dry conditions – use plants with a contrasting shape and colour such as one of the small aloes like Aloe brevifolia or Aloe squarosa and a larger echeveria like Echeveria agavoides and maybe the china blue Senecio repens planted in a wide shallow container or even a terrarium. If you want to increase your plant, use the old flowering stems as cuttings and tuck them into or onto a pot of gritty compost and leave until you see some signs of growth. Your gardening friends will be intrigued and want a piece when they see it.