Sedum Autumn Joy also known as Hylotelephium (hy-loh-te-LEE-fee-um) is a herbaceous perennial originating in China and belongs to the family Crassulacea.
The plant gets its name from the beautiful flowers that bloom during the fall months from late September to late October.
It is a low maintenance Sedum plant popular due to the winter interest it can add to any landscape. But, also all year long as it goes through changes throughout the seasons.
NOTE: The official name is Hylotephium spectabile but is still listed and sold as Sedum spectabile ‘Autumn Joy’ and Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’
Autumn Joy Sedum Care
Size & Growth
Sedum spectabile Autumn Joy has a moderate growth rate and continues to grow until the plant reaches 24″ inches tall.
It has a rounded appearance and a spread of about 18” to 24” and listed as hardy to grow in USDA hardiness zones 3 to 9.
Flowering and Fragrance
This plant has round shaped or flat thick leaves, deep green in color.
During the bloom time from late summer to late fall, Autumn Joy produces flower heads with gorgeous ornamental rich, dark pink flowers that will either be pink, white, or red in color.
These flowers start off as a pale green, open up to pinker petals and will eventually fade to a copper brown color until winter rolls around. The flowers have no fragrance.
Light & Temperature
Autumn Joy does best in full sun, but can handle some light shade.
It is not a frost-hardy plant and unlikely to survive in temperatures below 30 degrees Fahrenheit. However, it will grow back once spring rolls back around.
Watering and Feeding
Autumn Joy has low water requirements. Once established it is drought tolerant due to its ability to store water in its thick leaves.
Water plants more if planted in full sun during unusually hot weather.
The plant will do well with regular watering when the soil begins to dry out. Make sure not to overwater Autumn Joy plants.
For fertilizing, stay clear of high-nitrogen varieties as the nitrogen helps plants produce weak growth.
The best choice is to add a layer of compost on an annual basis.
Soil & Transplanting
Well-drained soil is essential for a healthy Sedum. It cannot survive in waterlogged, heavy soil.
Rich soil is also a no-go as it causes plants to have flopping stems and weaker growth.
Transplant Autumn Joy in spring as soon as you see new growth appearing.
This will give the roots a chance to settle in before the extreme heat of summer arrives.
Grooming and Maintenance
Prune plants in the fall or early spring to keep them short.
How to Propagate Hylotelephiumdum Autumn Joy
Propagate sedums through division or stem cuttings.
When using division to propagate Autumn Joy, take care to do it on a day when it’s not too hot.
Dig around the perimeter of the plant until the plants lift easily out of the soil (no heavy pulling).
Divide plants gently using your hands or by cutting it with a knife.
Plant the new division in its decided location and make sure to keep the soil moist until the plant takes root.
If propagating using cuttings, take cuttings from newer growth as opposed to older mature stems which root much slower.
The best time to take cuttings is during their growing season either early in the morning or late afternoon.
Cut about 2″ to 6″ inches and remove the leaves along the stalk.
Place them in a plastic bag along with a slightly damp paper towel to keep the cuttings from drying out before planting.
Plant the cutting in a well-draining cactus soil mix and wait for roots to form.
Autumn Joy Sedum Pest or Disease Problems
This plant may be toxic when consumed. Keep children away and take extra precautions when handling it.
Autumn Joy Sedum is also susceptible to visits from deer and aphids from time to time.
Control Aphids by applying diatomaceous earth (food grade).
Suggested Uses For Autumn Joy Sedum
Autumn Joy is deer resistant and makes a great addition to rock gardens. It can also be grown as a ground cover, border plant or as a container plant.
It goes well as part of a winter landscape due to the dry stems that stay throughout the season even as the flowers and leaves die down.