It's not usual for me to like fleshy plants - it can be all a bit plastic for my taste. But after my post about Sedum spectabile the other day, I seem to have got their succulence on my mind. So I thought I'd share some others that I have rather taken a fancy to, and which in my experience are all tops for Honeybees.
First up on the Iceplant catwalk we have this racy little number - Sedum telephium Xenox. Sounds like a photocopier, but packs a real puch of deep pink flowers and plummy leaves.
This next is rather petite, as sedums go, growing only to about 12 inches (30cm) high, with the fitting name of Sedum 'Ruby Glow'. It is a hybrid, and grows small thanks to being telephium crossed with a prostrate Japanese species.
If you're after something more understated, then see if you can find the third of my picks, Sedum telephium subspecies fabaria. It needs a good Chelsea Chop in May to keep it under control (as you can do with all Iceplants), but if you do the graceful dome you should get is wonderful, made all the neater by the smaller leaves. It can get covered in bees.
And finally, here is Sedum telephium, subspecies maximum, and this is the cultivar Gooseberry Fool - a bit leggy for my garden but such fine beetroot thighs.
All of these here are perfectly hardy.
But you know what I really fancy? A bit of Sedum spectabile 'Hot Stuff'. No, honestly, I'm not making it up!
You're right, David - most of the iceplants are great at withstanding a bit of shade and dry soil. They aren't so great for bees under there, but the fact they're giving you a ready source of new plants - and hence the all-important massed flowers - sounds fab.
Perhaps the easiest Sedum telephium to get is S. matrona, which is great too. You'll need to find a half decent garden centre, but I reckon you've got a good chance of finding it. Good luck!
Many years ago I was given an ice plant, my sort of plant! I am unable to name the variety, but it grows to about 2ft tall.
I have a border next to some conifers, they appear to take most of the moisture from the ground, but the ice plant thrives.
Over the years I have broken bits off and simply stuck them in the ground, the border is now full. They do not seem to be affected by weather or pests and attract numerous butterflies.
Thank You so much for this information. I have a childhood memory of a tall patch of sedum growing well amongst the brambles etc. in rough pony pasture. It was where we went to look at the butterflies.
My efforts to reproduce it with garden centre sedums were so disappointing I thought that my memory of it being a sedum were false - shorter plants and few butterflies and bees.
I am sure that it being one of the few good nectar plants about in rough pasture and there being more butterflies about in the sixties must have influenced the high amount of butterflies it attracted - plus as you say - the importance of it being a sizable patch in a good position.
I have never seen the plant growing in the wild, the one I recall may not have got there naturally (Dorset). But I am now determined to track down a taller, tougher Sedum telephium that can fend for its self!
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