Getting To Know Sedum 'Autumn Joy'

Getting To Know Sedum 'Autumn Joy'

It's No Garden Diva

Sedum 'Autumn Joy'

Sedum 'Autumn Joy' is the scientific name for the silvery perennial known colloquially as Live Forever. Here are some of its best qualities:

  • It requires little care.
  • It can thrive in a variety of different environments.
  • The hues of this flower are subtle and beautiful.
  • It provides interest in the garden year round.


In spring, Autumn Joy "greens up," sprouting thick, silvery foliage that feels firm and rubbery to the touch.

Here in Southern Maryland, the Autumn Joy in our flowerbeds grows to about five inches by mid-April. At this time, I divide it, giving away some clumps and transplanting some.

Slowly, as spring turns into summer, Autumn Joy's thick stalks grow taller, reaching up to two feet in height by July.

At their tips, flower heads form. Eventually, the heads, which are comprised of small buds, widen and thicken.

On some of our larger Autumn Joy sedum plants, the heads grow up to four inches in diameter, with densely packed buds.

At first, these buds are nondescript—small, light green and tight.


As spring passes into summer, the pale, tiny buds of Autumn Joy's flower heads slowly open to reveal increasingly vibrant color.

At first, the small flowers appear white. However, as summer progresses, the tiny buds further unfurl, appearing delicate, almost fragile, in pale pink or lavender.


By autumn, Autumn Joy's flower buds fully open, putting on quite a display, especially the big clumps of sedum. Their masses of thickly-packed purple, deep pink or red blossoms burst with vivid color atop silvery-gray, flat-topped flower heads—ideal landing pads for butterflies, bees and moths.

Here in Zone 7, our Autumn Joy is in full flower by mid-September, just when so many other herbaceous perennials are going to seed.


To give the garden structure in winter, Autumn Joy may be allowed to dry on the stalk. As it does so, it will go through an interesting period of transformation as its fleshy stalks and heads yellow, brown and shrink.

Eventually, the entire plant turns an attractive russet brown.

Beauty All Year Round

Although I pick a few drying stalks to use in arrangements, we leave our sedum plants whole rather than cut them back.

Dried Autumn Joy provides visual interest throughout the winter, standing tall even in the snow.

In spring, as the succulent, new green growth emerges, I break off the old dry stems and add them to my dried flower collection. In their own way, they're as beautiful as pearly balls of white hydrangea or the shiny coin-shaped pods of the money plant.

Whether it be spring, summer, fall, winter—Autumn Joy has a quiet, subtle beauty every season of the year.

Questions & Answers

Question: Where can I buy a Sedum plant?

Answer: You can probably find it at a local garden center. It's also available online through Amazon and other sellers like Monrovia, Bluestone Perennials and White Flower Farm.

Question: When is the best time to plant sedum?

Answer: Here in Maryland where winters are mild, I prefer to plant in the fall so that plants have some time to establish themselves before the long hot summer.

Question: Does Autumn Joy Sedum need to be in full sun?

Answer: Yes, it grows best in full sun.

Question: How do I root a sedum?

Answer: The easiest way to root autumn joy is to divide it into clumps in spring and plant the clumps. All sedum roots easily. Autumn joy also will root from soft tissue stems or leaves. I cut or break them off and plant them.

Question: My neighbor gave me a stalk of sedum and said you can plant the leaves partially in the ground and it will grow. Is this true ?

Answer: Yes!

Question: Should sedum sit in the sun or the shade?

Answer: Sedum should be in full or part sun for about six to eight hours a day. Ours do best in full sun. Sedum is drought-tolerant, too, and some claim it's deer resistant, but we've had deer eat large chunks out of ours, so if you have deer in your neighborhood, you may want to spray your Autumn Joy periodically with a rotten egg/garlic repellent available at most garden centers.

Question: Does Sedum do well on the West Coast?

Answer: It does well in Zones 3 to 8 and does better in poor, well-drained soil than in rich soil.

Question: Is 'Autumn Fire' another name for Sedum 'Autumn Joy'?

Answer: Sedum 'Autumn Fire' is a new variety of Sedum 'Autumn Joy' that's supposed to have bigger flowerheads and longer lasting blooms.

Question: Can I grow Sedum inside?

Answer: Yes, sedum can be grown indoors.

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on September 23, 2016:

Lynn, your plant might be getting too much shade and/or too much water. I had what you are describing happen to one of our plants. Last year, its location was fine; this year, because a nearby tree grew dramatically, it was cast in too much shade and we ended up with brown flowerheads. I also watered that bed, which I usually never do because a seeper hose attached to a rain barrel runs through it, but this year the heat and drought were so bad, I did water, and I think I overdid it. You could try moving it or snapping off some and sticking it in a better location. It roots very easily. All the best, Jill

Lynn Schell on September 21, 2016:

Planted pinkish/rosey red autumn joy sedums in the late spring. As the buds are turning pinkish, they are turning dark brown! Any suggestions?

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on February 15, 2013:

Hi Eddy! "Gem" is the perfect word to describe Autumn Joy! Always nice to hear from you. Take care, Jill

Eiddwen from Wales on February 14, 2013:

So very interesting and useful;even though we only have small paved patio we grow all sorts in containers and this gem will be so useful. Have a great day.


Jill Spencer (author) from United States on February 02, 2013:

Hi Glimmer Twin Fan! Thanks so much for sharing the hub and voting. Autumn Joy's one of my favorite plants, too. Take it easy! Jill

Claudia Mitchell on January 31, 2013:

I have been adding sedum slowly over the years and really enjoy it. It's so easy to care for and I particularly enjoy the winter interest. Thanks for another beautiful and informative hub. Pinned, shared, up and beautiful.

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on January 30, 2013:

Thank you, Green Art! This hub's not getting much traffic, so I'm glad for the votes of confidence!

Laura Ross on January 30, 2013:

I have Autumn Joy in several areas in my yard and just love it! The photo's of all the changes it makes each season are great in your hub. Voted Up and Beautiful:)

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on January 27, 2013:

Thanks so much, BlossomSB. Appreciate it! --Jill

Bronwen Scott-Branagan from Victoria, Australia on January 27, 2013:

A great hub, informative and supported with lovely photos. Voting it up.

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on January 27, 2013:

Hi aviannovice! Sedum by the lake--sounds pretty. Don't think it's native though. Live Forever is native to China, I think. Thanks for stopping by!

@ ytsenoh-- You're very kind. As for being an expert ... I think of myself as more of a constant learner. Take it easy! --Jill

Cathy from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri on January 26, 2013:

I love to garden too, but you are the expert. I learned a lot about gardening from my dad, and I considered him the expert too. What excellent style and creativity flourishes in your hubs. Absolutely telling and beautiful. Thanks much.

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on January 26, 2013:

I noticed sedum all around the lake, especially around the Northern Reaches by the water. It is such a lovely succulent.

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on January 26, 2013:

Hi Patricia! Yes, it's sort of an old-fashioned plant. A good one for an informal garden. Thanks for stopping by! (: Take care, Jill

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on January 26, 2013:

This is an interesting plant. My Mother used to have these around her property and would point out to me its appearance as it morphed into a new phase. I will have to see about giving some of it a home in my yard.

Sending you Angels this evening. :) ps

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on January 26, 2013:

I really like it. Once it gets going in your garden, you can just break off bits and stick them in the soil to start new plants--just like you would any other sedum. They're all easy to grow, but ... I just really like Autumn Joy. Happy gardening!

Caren White on January 26, 2013:

Fabulous photos! I'm going to be trying Autumn Joy this year. I finally have a garden with enough sun to be able to grow it.

Watch the video: HOW THE SEDUM AUTUMN JOY LOOK FOR THIS 2020? (May 2021).