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On Gardening: Lava-like Lemon Coral sedum catches the eye as it spills over containers

Norman Winter, Tribune News Service on

Published in Gardening News

The world seems to have a fascination with volcanoes and even more so with lava flow. We’ve got volcano lava cookware, lava salt lamps, lava rock mulch. Some of my favorite glazed pottery designs are called lava flow as they mimic molten lava spilling over the rim. Then The Garden Guy does a Facebook post with what looks like lime green lava spilling over the rim of a container and the questions pour in: WHAT IS THAT LIME?

Despite a few columns through the years, it still seems that there is education to do, especially since there is a new crop of gardeners every year. The plant that looks like a lime green lava flow is Lemon Coral sedum. Though it looks like lava for much of the year, as it gets ready to bloom, it looks a little bushy. Then, surprise, there are what appears to be a million tiny yellow flowers bringing in bees and butterflies.

Warning to the Industry, and you know who I mean: Don’t take away the bloom through innovative breeding. The blooms are beautiful and of course so is the lime green lava look. Lemon Coral sedum is still winning awards, such as Top Performer Cincinnati Zoo and Perfect Score All Season in Penn State Trials. It is perennial in zones 7-11 and at The Garden Guy’s house where we have had some tough winters as of late, it even stays green. I give it a Perfect Score too! Believe me when I say it is worth every penny if grown as an annual.

Then I have one other message. There are those whiners out there, raise your hand if it is you, who boo-hoo complaining that if I knock a branch off on the ground it roots and keeps living. Just accept you have become a Lemon Coral sedum farmer. My rock steps are even getting Lemon Coral sedum in the cracks and I LOVE IT!

It is known botanically as Sedum mexicanum. It will get up to 10 inches tall and spread 14 inches. If you are wondering what you can do with it, try spiller, filler or thriller in mixed containers and in a bed, it will be the showiest groundcover you have ever grown. This is your plant for average soil. In fact, the fleshy leaves store water giving it drought tolerance. It is NOT a bog garden plant.

I looked it up on Proven Winners and they’ve got 47 recipes, Holy wow! So, look for yourself. The Garden Guy uses it with Supertunia petunias, Superbells calibrachoa, Heart to Heart caladiums and ColorBlaze coleus. This is really a low-maintenance plant. Here in mid-March, it is getting ready to bloom. They are starting to bush up and forming buds. After they bloom, I usually pull or snip off the leggy remaining stems and it quickly resumes its tight appearance.


Lemon Coral sedum is like the key ingredient for all award-winning mixed container recipes. Try it this year and see for yourself.


(Norman Winter, horticulturist, garden speaker and author of “Tough-as-Nails Flowers for the South” and “Captivating Combinations: Color and Style in the Garden.” Follow him on Facebook @NormanWinterTheGardenGuy.)

(NOTE TO EDITORS: Norman Winter receives complimentary plants to review from the companies he covers.)

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