Sedum Divergens Care: Old Man’s Bones Stonecrop Growing Tips

Sedum divergens [SEE-dum dye-VER-genz] is a creeping, low growing flowering plant belonging to the family Crassulaceae.

Sedums are commonly called as stonecrop.

Divergens is known by the common names:

  • “Old Man’s Bones” because the brittle stems break almost at a touch.
  • Cascade stonecrop
  • Pacific stonecrop

This creeping variety is one of the many stonecrop (Sedum) plants which makes an excellent groundcover, does well in hot, dry locations, and poor soil.

It is recommended for USDA hardiness zones 2 – 9.

Divergens Sedum - now as old man's bones, Pacific or cascade sedum

The plant adapts to harsh external conditions, are easy to grow, and require minimal maintenance.

Their toughness and low maintenance make them an excellent option for an eco-roof.

They also work great as a visually appealing addition to your garden attracting hummingbirds and butterflies.

Read on to learn more about growing this plant.

Sedum Divergens Care

Size and Growth Habit

This stonecrop sedum is a native plant species to North America and a fast grower.

  • The leaves rounded, green and fleshy
  • The growth spreading forming a thick carpet.
  • Good choice when potted in bowls, a hanging succulent basket or as a mix with other succulents in containers.
  • Plants reach a height of 4″-6″ inches with a spread of 12″ – 24″ inches.

Flowering

In summer, the plant produces small flower heads with clusters of yellow star-shaped flowers.

The foliage color of the green leaves, when exposed to the full sun starts to turn orange with red, brittle stems.

Yellow Flowering Stonecrop old man sedum
Flower Old Man Bones Sedum Stonecrop family – Image: brewbooks [CC2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Light and Temperature

Divergens tolerates extremely hot, dry climates including periods of drought. It requires full sun exposure or partial shade to be in its best shape.

Watering and Feeding

Old man’s bones is not a plant requiring excessive watering. Once planted water them for one to two weeks to keep the soil moist.

After that, water once per week in periods of drought.

Divergens doesn’t require lots of fertilizer. Apply a balanced liquid fertilizer once a month during spring and summer if you feel the plant needs it.

Soil and Transplanting

Sedum divergens prefers a fertile, well-drained soil that is ideally alkaline and neutral pH.

Add compost, shredded bark, aged manure, and dried grass clippings to increase the fertility and drainage of the soil.

Thanks to the plant’s ability to grow fast, it is easy to transplant. To divide and transplant your sedum simply cut out small sections and place them into planting holes in your desired space.

Grooming and Maintenance

This sedum is not difficult to maintain. The plant needs plenty of sunlight and does not grow in shade. It is drought tolerant but prefers dry or moist soil. Do not overwater.

How To Propagate The Old Man Stonecrop

Sow seeds in well-drained soil. Once seeds are large enough to handle plant in individual pots. If the plants are large enough, plant them outside during the summer.

Plants divide easily at any point during the growing season, although it is best done during early summer or spring.

Break off pieces and lay them on the soil. Soon they will produce roots.

For larger divisions, plant them directly in their permanent locations.

Stonecrop Pest or Disease Problems

As long as the soil is not overwatered, this plant will not face too many pest or disease problems. In wet environments, the leaves can become susceptible to rot, rust, and mold diseases.

In such situations, it is best to remove infected plants as soon as they’re detected to keep the disease from spreading to other plants.

Uses For The Old Man Divergens

This sedum is known to be used to help treat piles and given to children as laxatives.

  • Use as a ground cover and deer resistant.
  • Outdoors grow in bowls or hanging baskets where it forms dense clumps and the stems freely cascade over the sides of the pot.
  • When grown outside during the summer, divergens produces lots of bright yellow flowers.