How to Propagate Sedum Using Seeds, Division, and Leaf or Stem Cuttings
The Division Method of Propagation
Dividing your sedum plants is by far the best method to use for propagating if you are a home gardener because it is usually very successful and easy. These are the only two supplies you will need for this method:
- A trowel or shovel (for digging up the plant)
- A clean, sharp knife (for cutting)
Dividing your sedum needs to be done in early spring when new green shoots are seen. Assuming you have an already-rooted sedum plant, dig up the entire plant, making clean cuts with the shovel on each side. Make sure your shovel is inserted deep enough to ensure that you have a complete root ball. Beginning at the center and slicing toward the outer edge, your goal is to either end up with two or four sections with roots, making certain that each piece includes green buds. The ideal outcome would be to end up with sections that have multiple eyes, or stemmed sections with multiple roots.
Be sure to replant the divisions as soon as possible so they don’t dry out. Plant your divided sedum at the same depth as before and cover with soil and mulch, which will help to conserve moisture.
Planting Sedums From Seeds
Sedum seeds must be handled with care. They are very tiny, lightweight, and thin. You can buy them in packets or you can collect them from your existing sedum. To collect your own seeds, cut off several seedheads when flowering is finished and they are turning from green to brown. Place the seedheads in a paper bag and store the bag in a cool, dry location for at least a couple of weeks allowing the seedheads time to dry.
When they are completely dried, remove them from the bag and thresh (separate the seeds from the seedheads with your fingers) over a very fine screen (placed over some type of bowl) that will allow the seeds to fall through, keeping the rest of the debris on the screen. When you have all the seeds, put them into a labeled plastic bag stating the name of the sedum and the date the seeds were collected. The seeds harvested from fall-blooming sedum can be sown the following spring, although you can store the collected seeds in your refrigerator for up to a year.
The ideal time to plant seeds is in the spring when temperatures are between 40 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Always use a fine-textured, sterile seed-starting soil mix. Dampen the soil slightly and press the seeds into it, but don't cover the seeds with the soil.
If you are using flats, sow the sedum seeds in rows and place your container in a location where it is not exposed to wind or drafts (either can dislodge the tiny seeds). Germination will usually take from two to three weeks, but you need to keep the soil moist during that time.
Stem Cutting Propagation
Propagating Sedum Using Stem Cuttings
This is my own personal way of propagating any plant because it allows you to make a lot more new plants from only one. You can take stem cuttings from the plant anytime it is not budding or flowering and almost all types of sedum can be propagated in this manner.
All you have to do is start with one healthy stem. Generally, you need to cut a section that is about two to three inches long (as a rule - the larger the plant, the larger section you will need). Each of the sections you cut should have at least a few leaves on it. If you are propagating trailing types of sedum, the leaves will need to be stripped on the stem very gently.
First, dip a stem in water and then in rooting hormone (I use TakeRoot® by Garden Safe® and have always been successful with any cuttings). Lightly push the stem into a tray or pot of some potting soil (well drained) and water carefully every day, at least once a day, but it is better to let the cuttings dry out a little between waterings, so only water them twice a day when it is absolutely necessary. It can take up to three weeks for your cuttings to become rooted and when they are successfully rooted, you can begin watering them less.
Leaf Cutting Propagation
Propagating Using Leaf Cuttings
You have the potential for hundreds of new sedum plants using this method of propagation, as each leaf on your existing sedum could potentially become a new plant. Leaf propagation is faster and more predictable than starting your plants from seeds.
To propagate your sedum using leaf cuttings, snip off only healthy leaves with a very sharp knife, making sure each of them also has a short piece of stem. Dip the end of the leaf in rooting hormone, then stick the stalk into a moist potting soil.
If you have a gardening heating pad, try and keep the bottom of the tray or pot at about 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray frequently with water to maintain adequate humidity levels. Or, you can cover your tray or pot with clear plastic.
The leaves should be well rooted after about two to three weeks, with new plantlets forming at the base. Those new plantlets forming around the stem are used to transplant and the old leaf can now be discarded.
A Few of Over 400 Varieties of Colorful SedumClick thumbnail to view full-size
- Horvath, Brent (2014). The Plant Lover's Guide to Sedums, Timber Press, Portland, OR. pp 204-206
- Thomas, R. William (2015) The Art of Gardening, Timber Press, Portland, OR
- The Encyclopedia of Flower Gardening, Sunset Books, Menlo Park, CA
- Hillier, Malcolm (1995). Container Gardening Through the Year, Dorling Kindersley Publishers, London, New York, Stuttgart
- Leese, Timothy (1999). Designing With Perennials, Courage Books, an Imprint of Running Press, Philadelphia, London
Questions & Answers
© 2018 Mike and Dorothy McKenney