Elisabeth C. Miller Library

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Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Native plants--Washington, Green roofs (Gardening), Sedum

I am trying to find a Sedum expert to help figure out better uses for this plant as a green roof material. Can you help point me in the right direction? Also, are there native Sedums?


Here is a list of the books the Miller Library has on this subject, including the following titles:

  1. Planting green roofs and living walls by Nigel Dunnett and Noel Kingsbury (Timber Press, 2004)
  2. Ecoroof: questions & answers by Portland Environmental Services (Portland, Or. : Environmental Services, 2004)
    Note: Portland's Ecoroof Program is a cooperative effort of the Bureau of Environmental Services and the Office of Sustainable Development. The program promotes ecoroofs by researching ecoroof technologies an providing information and technical assistance to community members.
  3. Green roofs: their existing status and potential for conserving biodiversity in urban areas by Ecoschemes Ltd (Peterborough: English Nature, 2003)

An article by Jessie Keith from The American Gardener (March/April 2005, pp. 38-41) mentions different types of Sedum appropriate for a green roof, which I will list here:

  • Sedum album 'Coral Carpet'
  • Sedum 'Green Spruce'
  • Sedum lydium
  • Sedum rupestre (syn. S. reflexum)
  • Sedum sexangulare
  • Sedum spurium 'John Creech'
  • Sedum telephium 'Matrona'

You might also want to speak with someone at the Cascade Cactus and Succulent Society of Washington State.

There are some Sedum species native to the Northwest.The Sedums that are native to the Pacific Northwest, according to The Encyclopedia of Northwest Native Plants for Gardens and Landscapes by Kathleen Robson, (Portland, OR: Timber Press, 2008)include:

  • Sedum divergens Cascade stonecrop
  • Sedum laxum Roseflower stonecrop
  • Sedum oreganum Oregon stonecrop
  • Sedum oregonense Creamy stonecrop
  • Sedum spathulifolium Broad-leaved stonecrop
  • Sedum stenopetalum Wormleaf or narrow-petaled stonecrop

Two additional species are listed in Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast, edited by Jim Pojar and Andy MacKinnon (Richmond, WA: Lone Pine Publishing, 1994):

  • Sedum integrifolium Roseroot
  • Sedum lanceolatum Lance-leaved stonecrop

Date 2017-07-18
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Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Annuals and biennials, Zinnia, Daisies, Verbena, Coreopsis, Artemisia, Salvia, Lavandula, Achillea, Echinacea, Xeriscaping, Tagetes, Sedum, Herbs, Container gardening

Our neighborhood has a small planter area at its entrance. There is no water supply to this area, but a nearby resident is willing to water occasionally. The soil contains much clay. We would like to plant a few drought-tolerant annuals to add color and supplement the more permanent shrubs--such as boxwood--planted in the area. Can you recommend some plant choices? How could we amend the soil to best hold water during the upcoming dry months? Would a commercial product such as "Quench" be of any value, in addition to organic mulches?


I found the following article by Nikki Phipps on GardeningKnowHow.com about drought-tolerant container planting. Here is an excerpt:

"...many plants not only thrive in containers but will tolerate hot, dry conditions as well. Some of these include annuals like marigolds, zinnias, salvia, verbenas, and a variety of daisies. Numerous perennials can be used in a xeriscape container garden such as Artemisia, sedum, lavender, coreopsis, Shasta daisy, liatris, yarrow, coneflower and more. There is even room for herbs and vegetables in the xeriscape container garden. Try growing oregano, sage, rosemary, and thyme. Vegetables actually do quite well in containers, especially the dwarf or bush varieties. There are also numerous ornamental grasses and succulents that perform nicely in containers as well."

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden's book The Potted Garden (21st Century Gardening Series, 2001) provides a list of drought-tolerant plants for containers.

I had not heard of Quench, but since it is cornstarch-based, it is certainly preferable to the hydrogel and polymer products which are more widely available. I found an article by garden writer Ann Lovejoy in the Seattle P-I (June 3, 2006) about Quench. Here is an excerpt:

With pots and containers, mix dry Quench into the top 12 inches of potting soil in each pot and top off with plain compost. Few roots will penetrate deeper than a foot, so it isn't very useful down in the depths of really big pots unless you are combining shrubs and perennials.

I would not recommend hydrogels or polymers as a soil amendment. Professor Linda Chalker-Scott of Washington State University has written about these products and their potential hazards. Here is a link to a PDF.

You could consider applying a liquid fertilizer (diluted seaweed-fish emulsion would work) to your containers once every week or two during summer. Here is general information on container maintenance, from Ohio State University Extension. Excerpt:

"Once planted, watering will be your most frequent maintenance chore, especially if you are growing plants in clay containers. On hot, sunny days small containers may need watering twice. Water completely so that water drains through the drainage hole and runs off. Water early in the day.

"If you incorporated a slow release fertilizer into the potting mix, you may not need to fertilize the rest of the season; some of these fertilizers last up to nine months. You can also use a water-soluble fertilizer and apply it according to the label directions during the season.

"Mulch can be applied over the container mix to conserve moisture and moderate summer temperatures. Apply about one inch deep.

"Depending on the plants you are growing, you will need to deadhead and prune as needed through the season. Monitor frequently for pests such as spider mites. Pests usually build up rapidly in containers."

Date 2017-05-26
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Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Echeveria, Propagation, Sedum

I am learning how to propagate plants for my yard. I am now into Sedums and other succulents. I am trying to learn how to propagate Echeveria x hybrida "The Rose." This one has me totally baffled. Can you help?


First, here is some general information. The propagation method you choose for Sedum depends on the habit of the plant, according to the American Horticultural Society's Plant Propagation (edited by Alan Toogood; DK Publishing, 1999). Most species will root easily from cuttings in 1 to 6 weeks.

Tender species can be propagated from leaf cuttings. Take leaves off a stem. Place on damp newspaper in bright shade at 61 degrees F. Roots and plantlets should form in 3 to 4 weeks. You can also use stem cuttings by taking 2 to 3 inches from the tip of a stem and allowing the cutting to callus for a day. With hardier forms of Sedum, use 3/4 to 1 1/4 inch stem cuttings.

The book Echeveria Cultivars by Lorraine Schulz and Attila Kapitany (Schulz Publishing, 2005) offers directions on propagating from offsets, cuttings, cuttings from crests, head cuttings, leaf and stalk cuttings, and seed.

Date 2017-05-24
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Garden Tip

Keywords: Agavaceae (Agave family), Yucca, Reference books, Lewisia, Cactaceae (Cactus family), Xeriscaping, Cactus and Succulents, Sempervivum, Sedum

Ready for a truly drought tolerant garden? Plant hardy cactus and succulents. The only requirement for these plants is perfect drainage. Hardy succulents can die of rot in our winter wet. Overcome that challenge by building raised beds and mixing plenty of gravel and sand into the planting hole. The book Cacti and Other Succulents by Keith Grantham and Paul Klaassen (Timber press, $34.95) reports the following plants are good candidates for growing outside in the Pacific Northwest:

  • Cacti
    • Echinocereus triglochidiatus (hedgehog cactus)
    • Opuntia humifusa (prickly pear cactus)
    • Coryphantha vivipara (pincushion cactus)
  • Succulents
    • Delosperma cooperi (ice plant)
    • Calyptridium umbellatum (pussypaws)
    • Yucca
    • Agave paryi
    • Lewisia cotyledon
    • Sedum
    • Sempervivum.

Date: 2007-04-03
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Garden Tip

Keywords: Rosa, Garden design, Amelanchier, Sedum, Hydrangea

It's easy to plant a garden that is colorful and interesting in June, more difficult is designing a garden that shines in October. Read Autumn Gardens by Ethne Clark (Soma, 1999) to learn both design principles and the best trees, shrubs, perennials, bulbs and grasses to plant in fall. Oakleaf hydrangea, Canadian serviceberry, species roses, and sedums are just a few of the plants featured that will extend the garden interest beyond Labor Day.

Date: 2007-07-13
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