I have mentioned autumn joy for fall color before, but let’s take another, closer look at this reliable succulent. Autumn joy sedum is a plant in the crassulaceae family also known as stonecrop sedum and sometimes called showy sedum. I have just always known it as autumn joy, so named I guess because it blooms in the autumn and brings a joyous bit of color. Whatever. It has recently even been given a separate genus, hyloteleophium. Just ask for autumn joy. It is a cold-hardy succulent that is easy to grow and does add nice color this time of year.
The fleshy foliage is pretty all through the summer before blooming. The plant likes sun and will grow in poor soil. If the plant gets rich soil and lots of water, it may get tall and leggy and the heads may droop. If that happens, prune the stems back in May or June and it will become even fuller and make more flowers for you in the fall.
The flowers are clusters of small star-shaped blooms and come in various shades of red, pink, violet, and purple. There may be hybrids of other colors, but the reds and pinks are more common and that is all I have ever seen. As the flowers age, they turn darker and still make a statement in the garden.
The plant will die down to the ground in the winter, and the tops of the dead plants are easy to remove in the spring. Autumn joy is easy to root from cuttings, and over time you could come up with a large bed of the plants from your original plant that would supply a solid swath of color. As with rooting any succulent, let the end of the cutting dry and scab over and then plant directly in the dirt. Then water as you water your other plants.
Autumn joy will work well in rock gardens and regular flower beds, so give it a try if you have an empty spot to fill in the spring when you are spending money on annuals. This plant you won’t have to replace year after year. It will be there for you.