Click the Play arrow to hear Paul Parent and David Wilson as they discussed Sedum cauticola ‘Lidakense’ on The Paul Parent Garden Club radio show (March 18, 2007).
Here's a tough little stonecrop that forms gorgeous cushions of purple-edged, blue-gray foliage and sports lots of starry pink flowers in mid to late summer.
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Stonecrops are famous for being easy care groundcovers, requiring minimal upkeep. Here's an especially attractive one that is heat and drought tolerant and attracts butterflies, too!
This delightful, hardy succulent forms dense clumps of bluish gray foliage that spreads out to make cushions of long lasting color that is beautiful and carefree. In my garden, it gets to about 12 inches or so wide by about 4-6 inches high - a perfect size for scrambling over the edges of rocks on a sunny, sloping, hillside bed.
The tightly packed leaves are very attractive and always look so neat and tidy. Like a well groomed, happy, family pet, Sedum ‘Lidakense’ seems to bask in the sunshine and glow with contentment. It has endurance, too, lasting from late spring all the way through to autumn. The pretty, dome-shaped mounds give their best with appealing color, interesting shape, and pleasant-to-touch texture.
In mid to late summer, the whole plant becomes covered with multitudes of small, star shaped, bright pink flowers. The beautiful effect of the brilliant pink, with the odd bit of blue foliage sticking out, is quite stunning. And when the flowers are out, you can be sure that the butterflies will be in!
Hardiness Zone: USDA 4
Hardy to Zone 4 and above, this is a reliable, cold hardy perennial that goes dormant in winter and is hardy anywhere in our northeast region.
Light: Full Sun
The spongy, succulent-like foliage is perfectly equipped to deal with high summer temperatures and short periods of drought. When planting, choose a sunny site with freely draining soil; follow the planting instructions on the tags; and water it regularly until the root system is established. This tough little cookie will take care of the rest. As long as any recently planted specimens receive a little TLC (tender loving care) until they are well established in their new surroundings, they should be able to cope flawlessly with almost anything the summer weather conditions can throw at them.
They are not called Stonecrops for nothing! Well-drained soil conditions are very important. They will not grow in wet, sticky soils. Make sure that they do not lie wet, especially in early spring and winter, and the rest is easy. That said, the better the conditions, the better the growth will be. In long, dry periods, an occasional deep watering (especially during the first year) will help to sustain growth and maintain good performance.
The original species grows natively in rocky maritime areas, making it a useful plant near the shore. Since it requires so little attention, it is an excellent choice for holiday and retirement homes. The same goes for town gardens and city precincts because - provided it is given a decent start - it will thrive in rubble-based soils and won't flinch at the sticky, hot conditions caused by heat from buildings or inhospitable expanses of blacktop and cement.
Speaking of urban areas, I have seen it used very successfully on several green roof projects. It as been extensively used in many balcony, container, and planter gardens. While it is very well suited to all these uses, in my opinion, it is at its best when it is planted as drifts of groundcover.
It’s not easy to find something this reliable that stays so pretty for so long. Not many plants can match the performance of stonecrops in demanding conditions. And when it comes to finding a variety that performs and thrives on so little care, and looks so stunning when massed in flowing groups, I don't mind telling you that Sedum ‘Lidakense’ is very definitely in a class of its own.
It is great planted in combinations, too. I love the way the attractive, steely tones soften and blend easily with neighboring plants. There's no need to worry about a color clash here. The muted smoky-blue goes perfectly with everything. Even the brightest yellows, the hottest reds, or the piercing hues of indigo and violet harmonize easily in its presence. In my garden, I have it near some lavender and a clump of the blue flowering Nepeta ‘Blue Wonder’. On the other side, there is a pretty mound of garden pinks. This is a simple combination that works well for me, but you will find that it will work well with almost any combination. If you are feeling creative, but a little unsure how to go about building good combinations, Sedum ‘Lidakense’ is a good plant to help you take the plunge.
Sedum cauticola grows wild on rocky cliffs on the south coast of Hokkaido, Japan. It was classified by Robert Lloyd Praeger, the famous Irish botanist and naturalist, in his monograph on sedums in 1921.
Our form, Sedum cauticola ‘Lidakense’, is a selection that appears to have been introduced by the accomplished German nurseryman Georg Arends (1863- 1952). His "Art and Trading Nursery" was responsible for introducing many fine selections of astilbe, roses, sempervivum (hens and chicks), aconitum, and sedum. He was a pioneer in the breeding of hardy plants, and it is a testament to his foresight and demanding standards that today there are numerous, world famous perennials with the name "arendsii" attached somewhere in their names or background.
We are not the only ones who rate this perennial so highly. In 2006, The Royal Horticultural Society in England, after conducting trials at their gardens at Wisley, bestowed their Award of Garden Merit on Sedum cauticola ‘Lidakense’. This is no small feat, because this award is only granted after a stringent period of observation and trial. This recognition comes from judging and appraisal by a committee of top British horticulturists who compare and assess plants for garden decoration or use. It formally indicates that it is recommended by the RHS. The idea, of course, is to help gardeners make informed choices about plants for their gardens.
Sedum ‘Lidakense’ is an excellent performer. It's easy to grow and maintain and will bring untold pleasure and rewards to your garden. It will be available in our Garden Splendor® centers later this season. If you would like to make sure you get yours for your garden, stop in, email or visit us soon, because a plant this good won't last long in our garden center once it arrives.
Until next time, remember.... Enjoy your gardening. It's good for you!