Some of the true late summer champions in our gardens are the resilient, hardy upright sedums.
There are two herbaceous species that are the most commonly planted today, and both are reasonably hardy and drought tolerant.
Sedum spectabile varieties are native to both Korea and Manchuria and are hardy to at least Zone 5.
Sedum telephium species were originally found across northern Europe to Siberia and are hardy to Zone 2.
The true beauty of these plants is their almost year round contributions to our gardens or container:.
In coastal areas, the new succulent, like growth appears in January and continues to add foliage colour to the garden right through to late fall and into winter. Most varieties flower in August through September, attracting butterflies and honeybees.
Their colourful stalks are also great to use as inside cut flowers. As the broccoli like flower heads finish, they dry nicely, creating a great fall and winter look. In fact, they can be left on the plant until their new growth appears in January and February.
Tall sedums also blend beautifully with ornamental grasses, heathers, late flowering perennials and colourful conifers to add a very sophisticated look to summer and fall gardens.
The many new varieties, which have appeared over the past few years, come not only in a wide range of foliage colours, but also with some very unique flowers.
Sedum Autumn Joy' has been the best known variety for so many years with its green leaves and pink flowers, but S. "Brilliant" is similar with more vibrant flower heads.
Sedum "Neon" is an even brighter rosy magenta selection that simply glows in the Sedum Autumn Charm garden.
The darker foliage varieties have really captured everyone's imagination, providing the opportunity to blend foliage colours.
Sedum telephium `Matrons' from Germany has won numerous awards in Europe with its frosty grey foliage, tidy habit and beautiful soft green flowers. We've grown it for years and simply love its look and performance.
Some of the darkest foliage varieties are S.t. `Purple Emperor', `Postman's Pride' and `Black Jack', with their rich dark
purple black leaves that contrast nicely with their shades of pink flowers. I love their strong, stiff stems that stand up well in the garden.
It's a little hard to find, but "Xenox" is another of my favourites. Its darker foliage is covered in a blue glaze, giving it a waxy grey eolouration that truly stands out in a crowd. Its pink flowers further enhance this stunning plant.
New white and green variegated varieties, like S. Autumn Delight' and S. Autumn Charm' with their rosy red flowers, are some of the most vibrant you can find.
There are many varieties in garden stores now ready to add colour and brilliance to your late summer garden this year and for years to come. They are easy to grow and very disease and pest free, and they are great environmentally friendly plants. Combine them with fall grasses and late summer perennials for that `wow' we all need at this time of year.