New sedums for ground cover

Two new varieties from America mark an advance in the development of sedums

Sometimes, it just takes one person, one creative plant breeder, to change a favourite group of plants dramatically. Helen Ballard did it years ago with hellebores, David Austin did it with roses, Fred Yates (a name you might not know) is doing it with begonias, Charles Valin did with foxgloves and it looks like Chris Hansen is the one who’s changing sedums*.

Chris, who’s also created some lovely hellebores, developed the SunSparkler Series of sedums in Michigan and the first thing you need to know is that Michigan is very very cold in the winter – so these plants are tough.

They all combine neat and colourful foliage with a long season of bright flowers and they spread well, making superb low ground cover in sunny places.

‘Dazzleberry’ is probably the star. The neat, rounded, slightly succulent foliage opens in spring in soft blue-grey with contrasting red stems. During the summer the foliage colour intensifies, becoming dark smoky purple, then finally in late summer and autumn the 20cm wide raspberry red flower heads open. They make quite a show, especially as the whole plant only reaches 20cm high and 45cm across.

'Dazzleberry' was selected from 4,000 seedlings and has been followed by ‘Lime Zinger’. Chris Hansen explains: “'Lime Zinger' was chosen from a field of 3,000 seedlings based on its bright lime-green foliage which is surrounded by a cherry-red picotee edge. Its compact 10cm tall and 45cm wide growth habit makes it a superb new groundcover sedum.” And, in August and September, it also features bright pink flowers.

Find suppliers of Sedum* ‘Dazzleberry’ and ‘Lime Zinger’ using the RHS Plant Finder.

*Hylotelephium has replaced Sedum as the correct botanical name for these plants but many nurseries have not yet made the change.

**Please note, the contents of this blog reflect the views of its author, which are not necessarily those of the RHS

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