Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ – dying or dormancy?
These Cottage classics are a toughy (like most succulents are) and will grow in most conditions bar super soggy soils. Their soft pink petals deepen to rich reddish-purple as the season progresses, prolifically blooming throughout the warmer months, attracting and pleasing bees and butterflies. Plus they grow to the perfect height of 60cm! Maintenance is minimal.
However, every autumn we receive many a phone call and email from worried customers asking ‘What’s happening to my Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’?’ Those who order this little beauty during late autumn are also met with surprise when what is in the pot is either a yellowing stemmed succulent or a pot with little, dead stumps.
First things first – it’s not dead! It’s going dormant!
The cold can make many succulents suffer, some wither or dissolve, turning into a gross sludge. These succulents obviously don’t tolerate the cold. Crassula, Aloe and Echeveria are such succulents who will wither and die if the cold even looks at them the wrong way. Others, such as the Sempervivums, Delosperma and Sedums tough it out by either reducing their surface area that would be hit by frost or cold by dying off on top or by just copping it on the leaves!
In the case of the ‘Autumn Joy’ it will reduce in size, its foliage and flowers dying off and turning yellow. At first glance it looks like a case of over watering but when you look closer to the base of the plant, teeny tiny rosettes of new growth are forming in the warm soil. These little buds will burst forth when the temperatures warm up again in spring.
At this time of year gardeners across the state are busy dead-heading and pruning back the dead and dying foliage of cottage plants that are going dormant for winter and ‘Autumn Joys’ are one such plant that receives a hard haircut. If you want to neaten up your Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, just give it a prune, removing all stems down at the base of the plant (see photos below).
If you’re worried about your Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ and are unsure if it is over watering or just plain cold, give us a call on (03) 9359 3331 and one of our trained horticultural staff will be able to assist you.