moccasinlanding

Sedum 'Autumn Joy' flower color

Moccasin
11 years ago

Two falls ago I planted a couple of these. They grew and prospered. This season, they are very healthy and look the color of boiled broccoli flowerettes, loaded with potential blooms.

Only, I've been disappointed in the color of the flower. What color are they supposed to be?

I have no issues with the plant itself, because it stands there like a champ covered with snow when everything else looks dead.

Comments (60)

  • Moccasin

    Quoting Claire: "Didn't the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle say that a watched sedum never colors? We'll see."

    Sounds like a truism to me.
    And today when it stopped raining, I took a look for color. Only one head had the slightest pink on a couple of the tiny blooms. In a few other heads, there was dark brown in a couple of flower tops. Almost like seed hull color. I will take the camera with me when I look again.

  • Moccasin

    Does anyone else see the traces of color?
    I am getting those little brown things in the middle of the tiny blooms. My camera does't get in for macros, so I'll do my best.
    {{gwi:1085768}}

    or
    {{gwi:1085769}}

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  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

    I'm just getting a hint of pink buried in a field of celery. No little brown things.
    My macro function doesn't work - maybe because I don't have an appropriate tripod. I actually get good results by standing back a bit and zooming in.

    Claire

  • diggerdee zone 6 CT

    Nice photos, everyone! I'm enjoying this thread. My Autumn Joy is pretty much the same - starts off pinkish and turns to that rust-colored red. No pictures though!

    :)
    Dee

  • evonnestoryteller

    I have no idea what varieties I have, but there are at least three different kinds that still have green blossoms. I noticed in the valley, where it is a little warmer, their flowers are just starting to turn pink.

  • ctlady_gw

    Here are mine on August 10... on the way to an initial rosy pink...

    {{gwi:1085772}}

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

    And as usual zone 5 is way ahead of coastal zone 6b... mine are nowhere near that color. No pink at all here.

    Claire

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

    Well, here on the languid coast I'm just beginning to see color. Granted, this sedum is not in full all-day sun. None of mine are. In fact, almost none of my garden is in full add-day sun.

    Claire

    Claire

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

    Aargh.. that's what happens when you correct typos and then hit submit message rather than preview message.


    all-day and only one Claire.


    Claire

  • Moccasin

    Well, DRATS!!
    Here is the picture I took yesterday. I can barely see a hint of pink. At least the BEES know it is maturing, but I keep hoping I'll see the joy of autumn come through
    {{gwi:1085775}}

  • Moccasin

    here is the larger image of the sedum color. taken yesterday

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

    I've never looked so closely at sedums before! After I saw your photo I went out to check my sedums and sure enough there was a bee working the field.

    Not quite like this morning when I was tying up some roses and one determined bumble bee insisted on collecting pollen from a rose right by my ear. Those guys are loud!.

    Claire

  • ctlady_gw

    Here are mine (taken a few minutes ago). These are from the same clump and as you can tell, the flowerheads are in varying degrees of color. But the overall soft pink is not far off now ... with the deeper rose of late September still weeks off. My other sedums (Matrona, Black Jack, etc.) are all at about the same stage of opening...

    We're inland, northwestern Connecticut (so probably cooler nights and warmer days of late?)

    {{gwi:1085778}}

    {{gwi:1085779}}

  • Moccasin

    It seems to me that your plants have more color than mine. My photo is about right, there just is not much pigmentation in the plants I have.

    Could it be a matter of nutrients? The soil is very rich or at least it has been supplemented for many years. The plants are all large and healthy. That includes the banner crop of nasturtiums along 100 foot of rock wall, I only bought seeds the first year and collected them. Right now, the runners of the nasturtium are assaulting the sedum.
    And this year the seeds are slower to grow, probably from the lack of a really really hot summer.

    Thanks for hanging in there with me on the sedum experiment. :)

  • evonnestoryteller

    We had a little cooler weather starting yesterday. Today I notice all the smaller sedum have suddenly turned bright pink! The large, special varieties are still in the process of turning.

  • earthworm

    Love the sedum, takes so little care, no watering, a little weeding ( its so dry here in York county,PA)..
    Mine usually does not flower until the last week in August; then the green flys, wasps, bees, butterflies have a ball..

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

    A week later than ctlady's sedums, mine are at a similar stage (photo from yesterday, Aug. 29). One clump, multi-stage, one flowerhead mostly open with medium-light pink florets.

    Claire

  • evonnestoryteller

    I took a couple of photos of the plantings of sedum at Whiteflower Farm today. They look gorgeous, although they are still starting to turn. The one with the dark leaves is called Black Jack. Next year, I will have to get some of that!

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

    evonnestoryteller: The Autumn Joys look like cotton candy - it must be getting into Fair Season.

    Black Jack looks interesting. I saw a variegated sport of Matrona at Katsura Gardens a week ago. I think it was named Diamond Edge, or something like that. Next year.

    Claire

  • Moccasin

    evonnestoryteller, the pictures are great! I would really enjoy visiting Whiteflower Farms, we managed to tour the VT Wildflower Farm in early August and I liked that too.
    The BlackJack sedum is definitely different, but so is the Autummn Joy, like cotton candy as Claire says.

    Tomorrow I put up my latest color shot of the AJ in my garden. This year it seems to have more color, but no where near the true pink shown in your pictures.

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

    The times they are a-changing! Scary how fast the seasons change when they put their mind to it. Is it really September?

    Today my sedums have that cotton candy look from a distance - that's Rose Carefree Delight in the back. The colors are pretty close to true, at least on my monitor.

    Closer up, there are still two different stages present in the flowerheads, but pink is becoming more pronounced.

    Even closer...

    They're beginning to look like sea urchins, or some other exotic marine creature you see in underwater photos.


    Claire

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

    Today, a week later, the same sedums are getting a deeper rosy tint to the color.

    Claire

  • ctlady_gw

    Claire -- those are beautiful!! Mine are a similar rosy hue, but I am wondering why they have (almost all of them) "splayed" so much this year? They went from upright earlier in the season to a totally flattened mass. I suspect it may simply be that they need dividing, but I've noticed this with a lot of my plants (coneflowers, the sedum, grasses) this year and am wondering if it's just me or if others are seeing this. I wonder if it's from all the rain... or all the worms...?! I see all these lovely upright stands of sedum everywhere and mine now look as if an elephant sat on them! But they ARE a lovely rosy pink (deepening by the day), lying there in a heap ...

  • evonnestoryteller

    Those are beautiful!

    I ended up purchasing several Autumn Joy plants. The flowers really have a nice contrast right now with pink and green! I have neon as well that is a really bright pink right now. The variegated one I planted this year has a very small flower head.

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

    And a week later (today, Sept. 18), the rosy color is getting much deeper. I must admit I waited for the late afternoon light to get the best color, but it really is this rosy. You can just see a few blossoms of the rose Carefree Delight in the background, and the sedum is now deeper in color.

    The individual florets are now uniform in tint.

    I don't remember the sedums looking this good last year, although I've never peered at them so closely before. I keep checking the green leaves in the photos to make sure the colors are reasonable.

    Claire

  • diggingthedirt

    Ctlady - Yes, I think it's the rain (stop blaming the innocent worms!) Sedum likes lean, dryish soil, and the wet spring, while it was great for many plants, meant too much growth, too fast for some things. I've staked plants this year that I've never thought of staking before.

    Dividing should help, too. Lots of spare plants for the spring swap!

  • Marie Tulin

    Mine are flopping. They never do. It was the rain

  • ctlady_gw

    Glad to know it's not me (or my worms!;) ... such a disappointment when things start out looking so great and then SPLAT just when they begin to really bloom!

    So we want rain, but not too MUCH rain -- probably next year will be a drought and we'll all be complaining about that (well, all of us but the sedums!). Come on, Ma Nature ... give us a break!

  • runktrun

    During hotter drier summers I tend to have large infestations of aphids on many of the plants surrounding my Autumn Joy (particularly Japanese ilex) and during those hot dry summers the flower color on my sedums are a muddy mauve/brown rather than the cheerful cherry colored blossoms I have this year, whether the color difference is the result of aphid (or some other insect) damage to the flower or the color difference is temperature related I have been unable to research. Does anyone know what the cause might be?
    I do try to divide mine every spring to control the floppiness and at the end of the summer tie a taught string around its mid section to help with this problem as well. If I have not divided them that spring I may need to tie a second tight string as the flower begins to bloom and becomes heavier. Cutting these in half does seem a little radical in the late winter/earlyspring but they grow into large full size plants regardless each summer.
    Ctlady & idabean I would suggest you divide yours next year or regardless of the amount of rain they will be floppy. If youÂre not willing to divide your plants you might either pinch or cut them back in mid to late spring.
    These were divided in half last year (didnÂt get to it this year) so they were extra floppy and are tied with string around their middle. Note that I didnÂt have the large amount rain the rest of NE had as a matter of fact I lost a number of new shrubs to lack of watering but I did have cooler temps and fewer sunny days.


    Last years divisions that were dug up and transplanted from a different location this spring.

  • ctlady_gw

    What a GORGEOUS mass of Autumn Joy! And yes, I have learned that division is an every-year chore with these guys. The ones that were divided this spring, though a bit smaller, are actually nice and upright. One actually has much brighter pink blossoms and more lime-green foliage as well, which I don't fully understand but assume is related to the soil (it's in drier, less rich/amended soil). Good to know! I'm used to assuming ALL plants benefit from better (enriched, amended, etc.) soil ... not the sedums, I guess?

  • evonnestoryteller

    That is a beautiful planting of sedum!

    I was looking around at sedum photos. Some photos of Autumn Joy appear so red! I found the prettiest sedum site while surfing. They did such a wonderful job of the photos!

    Creeping red sedum seems to have the most intense color.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Dryscapes

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

    Continuing with the progression of color of the Sedum Autumn Joy (is moccasinlanding still around?), this is the color today, Sept. 27, in between bouts of rain.

    Somewhat out of focus, a closeup (it started to rain again)

    To try to give an idea of the tint of the color, I also photographed the rose Carefree Delight which showed in earlier photos, and a Knockout rose which is nearby.

    Carefree Delight


    Knockout

    The sedum is a much more muted tone than the roses.

    Claire

  • Moccasin

    Hey Claire!! Yes, I am still here and trying to stay dry. I loaned out my camera and cannot take the shots of my sedum's color. Not until maybe tomorrow any way.

    But the color is lovely!! I do not think as intense as yours seems to be, but it is definitely not BROWN this year.

    I had a terrible outbreak of black aphids on my 100' row of nasturtiums which has kept me busy treating it, until I finally gave up and yanked most of them out of the ground. That exposes the sedum. With all the rain, they are sprawling all over the place, because they grew very very tall and bushy.

    Clumps of grass have nice seed heads on them, on the other side of the walkway. They have a burgundy flush on the leaves and seedhead fuzzes, and when the sun sets behind them I get a great color coordinated effect. I cannot claim credit for it, it was all a happy accident. Even the hydrangea which began white now has burgundy florets on it, and I found a great hibiscus with purplish leaves and dinnerplate size blooms which will go there. I'm hoping all of this color will greet me next spring when we return from south Alabama.

    I will post an updated sedum photo in the next couple of days. Ciao ciao.

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

    moccasinlanding: Are your clumps of grass with nice seedheads switchgrass (Panicum virgatum)? I have some cultivars I've planted, but I occasionally find pretty ones in the yard (native).

    These photos are from mid-August. The leaves are getting reddish colors now. Fizzes is a good description of the seedheads.
    Panicum virgatum Rotstrahlbusch

    Claire

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

    Oops, fuzzes, not fizzes.

    Claire

  • Moccasin

    Claire, my soninlaw brought my camera back tonight, so tomorrow I will get some seedhead shots, and the very ultimate deep maroon of the sedum. I am AMAZED that they look so GOOD. Last year they were pfffft for flowers. I thought I might have some weak offspring, but I learned that is not so.

    Don't cha kno that the minute you don't have your camera is the moment you really NEED to take a picture? Today is his birthday, so we bought a Sony digital camera for him--but it won't be delivered until tomorrow. I about go into withdrawals when I don't have my camera in my purse.

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

    moccasinlanding said: "the very ultimate deep maroon of the sedum. "

    Strike out that ultimate adjective - there are still color changes to come! Just like humans, Sedum Autumn Joy continues to reinvent itself (or at least its outward appearance) as it ages.

    Claire

  • Moccasin

    Quoting Claire: Strike out that ultimate adjective - there are still color changes to come! Just like humans, Sedum Autumn Joy continues to reinvent itself (or at least its outward appearance) as it ages.
    Claire

    From the experience I'm having with this plant, I can say that it is appropriately named "Autumn Joy." No brief flash in the pan with the sedums.

    Mine are splaying over too. I like the mental image I got of an ELEPHANT sitting in the middle of the clumps. :)


    ....
    and a couple more of the clumps of grass in the yard:


    and

    and


    and this interesting horizontally striped specimen:

    So what do I have? I misplaced the tags.

  • Moccasin

    Runktrun, your pathway flanked by the sedums is a painterly object of beauty. Like that topic about "Framing the View", this shot has the closeup sedum in the right front quadrant, and it leads you down the walkway to the house. The textural nature of the sedum heads brings out the texture of your house siding. The colors are as complimentary/complementary (both) as they would be if you were choosing coordinating wall paints. You made the choices dead right. I thoroughly enjoyed looking at your photo.

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

    moccasinlanding: Looks like you have Artemisia Powis Castle with your sedums. I love Powis Castle, but it doesn't always winter over here in my yard. Early on, I used them as a major design element, and then they all died off leaving big holes.

    Your grasses with the furry tails are probably Pennisetums, maybe a P. alopecuroides Hameln, and a P. setaceum rubrum. I don't know what the third one with the branched seedhead is (although I may have one here as a volunteer).

    The striped one is probably Miscanthus sinensis zebrina, or something similar.

    Claire

  • runktrun

    Thanks moccasin what you might not be able to tell from the photo is between each clump of sedum is Erica à darleyensis ÂKramerÂs Rote that bloom during the worst part of our winter Jan-April. This being an entry garden I learned early on that concessions had to be made for the four seasons. kt

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

    Thinking about the grass I couldn't identify, I wonder if it's a Miscanthus Gracillimus? Mine is just opening now. It's a lot fuller than your grass, but it's also more established.

    I looked at my volunteer and the leaves are nothing like those in your photo, whereas the Gracillimus is similar. When you run your fingers along the grass leaves, back toward the stem, does it feel like sandpaper? My Miscanthuses all have that sandpapery feel.

    Claire

  • paigect

    I didn't read this whole thread so forgive me if someone already mentioned this, but to control flopping you can pinch back sedum AJ (and other tall sedums) by about half in spring, when it is around 8 inches tall. I did it this year for the first time and my sedum is still standing tall.

    Beautiful photos everyone!

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

    And if you're going to pinch them back, cut the top off and plant it. Like the Sorcerer's Apprentice you'll have more, and more, and more....

    Claire

  • frank_10b

    will moles or voles eat them? Can I plant Sedum near the eaves where the cold rain will fall on them, but they will get morning sun? Thanks!

  • terrene

    Beautiful photos of Sedum and grasses on this thread! KT, love your walkway! Good to know that I can pinch these, the Autumn Joy was getting just a bit floppy toward the end of the season.

    Thought I'd add a picture of Sedum Matrona and Purple Emperor when they were blooming at the end of August - also very pretty.
    {{gwi:261440}}

    Claire that looks like Gracillimus to me, it might be my favorite Miscanthus. Just an all around beauty, doesn't flop, and even grows fairly well in mostly shade without irrigation. Here is one of mine earlier in October -
    {{gwi:872776}}

  • runktrun

    terrene,
    Thank you, your Sedum Matrona and Purple Emperor look incredibly slug/snail free and very happy. I grow both of those with marginal success. Have you considered growing Sedum 'xenox' (black sedum)? It is by far the most happiest sedum I grow. kt

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

    One final look at Sedum Autumn Joy on December 20, 2008:

    Claire

  • mary71

    Can someone please tell me the proper way to divide my precious autumn joy sedum? The clumps are very large (just buds now). Last summer they flopped over for the first time (I've had them for 6 years but never divided them). I don't want to harm them in any way, but I know they should be divided. Do you dig them up or what?

    Thanks so much for any advice.
    Mary in MD

  • runktrun

    Mary,
    First I would say relax you really can't do any harm to these guys. I have divided them by simply taking my shovel and cutting them in half right in place not disturbing the one half. I have also dug the entire clump up and cut the plant in half with a saw, replanting one half. I have also dug up and potted pieces of plant material for a swap forgot them under a shrub and re-discovered them three years later still happily growing and ready for this years swap. If your clumps are very large make certain your shovel has a sharp edge as it will be difficult to cut through. What other plants are you growing with your sedum?

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