The Q&A Archives: Propagating Stonecrop/Sedum

Question: The soil in our area is mostly clay and Stonecrop seems to do very well in spite of it. I'd like to know how to get more out of the plants I already have. They just finished flowering and are drying up now. Do they have seeds which I could save for spring or should I separate them. I purchased Burpees seed starter kits last year and did pretty good with marigolds, I'd like to expand my horizons this winter and experiment with the Stonecrop.

Answer: Stonecrop (Sedum) is easy to propagate in a variety of ways according to the American Horticultural Society's book, "Plant Propagation." Seeds would be found on any dead flower stalks. I'll include some info on seed saving below. Sow seeds of hardy sedum when temperatures are 55-61 degrees F; sow seeds of more tender species at 59-64.

You can also divide clumps of sedum in spring. Cut with a sharp knife, leaving rooted stems on each piece. Flowering usually takes a year after division.

You can also take cuttings and root them. Cut 2-3 inches of fresh growth, and allow the cutting to callus over for a day (this helps prevent disease problems). Root in a soilless seed starter mix to allow for easy root growth. Pot up as roots develop and transplant in the spring.

Finally, if you have any of the very succulent varieties with "single" leaves, you can pick off healthy, plump leaves, and place them on damp newspaper in bright shade when temperatures are at least 61 degrees. In 3-4 weeks, the leaves should form roots!

Glad you had success with the marigolds and good luck with your stonecrop!

Seed Saving
Saving seeds is quite easy and it's fun to exchange with other gardeners. However, don?t save seed from hybrid plants, because when planted it will not mature identical to the parent plant. (A hybrid plant is produced by cross pollinating two different parent plants.) Hybrid plants are labeled as such on seed packets and in catalog descriptions.

Let some flowers dry and ?go to seed.? As seeds begin to turn brown and fall off, hold a paper bag or container underneath and tap dry seeds into it. Or, tie paper bags over the flowerheads to catch falling seeds. Punch a few holes in the bag to provide circulation. Another way is to wait until about 10 percent of the seeds are brown and falling off. Then cut the entire flowerhead and stem, place it upside down in a paper bag, hang it in a cool, dry location and let the seeds separate on their own.

Collect seeds on dry, sunny days to avoid any excess moisture. If needed, dry seeds completely on sheets of newspaper for a week or so. Dispose of stems and leaves. A screen or colander works well to remove chaff. Store seeds in an airtight container in a cool, dry place or in the refrigerator.

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