Sedums (Sedum spp.) provide eye-catching texture and structure with their waxy foliage and dainty, colorful flowers. Many varieties make low-maintenance indoor plants, where they will thrive with minimal care. Growing sedums takes little effort, but you must choose a variety suited to growing indoors and provide the right conditions.
Most sedum varieties grow outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 8, but hardiness varies among species.
Choose the Right Type
Visually striking and warmth-loving sedum varieties make the best choice for indoor growing. Trailing types such as burro's tail (Sedum morganianum, USDA zones 10 through 12) work well as hanging plants. Their 2- to 4-foot-long stems drape gracefully and are lined with masses of fleshy, 1-inch-long leaves of a jade-green color.
The aptly named showy stonecrop (Sedum spectabile, USDA zones 4 through 9) explodes into bloom in late summer, sending up masses of pink flowers. It has an erect growth habit that can reach a mature height of 18 inches with an 18-inch spread. The stems are lined with flat, fleshy, bluish green leaves with serrated edges.
Another suitable choice for indoor growing is jellybean plant (Sedum rubrotinctum, USDA zones 9 to 12). Rounded, waxy foliage crowd along its 6- to 12-inch-tall stalks. Heat and cold impact the plant's coloring, causing a pinkish blush at the tips of the leaves.
Jellybean plant is sometimes sold under the common name "pork and beans" due to its leaf shape.
The right growing conditions mean the difference between a sedum that tolerates the indoors and one that thrives.
Get the Light Right
Sedums need plenty of light and warmth to grow well indoors. Place them within a few feet of a south-, west-, or east-facing window where they will receive at least six hours of light each day. In hot climates, choose a window with some light shade at midday or sheer curtains covering the panes to prevent leaf burn.
Pot and Soil
A clay pot with drainage holes around the base is the best container for growing sedums, just make sure that the pot is no more than 1 to 2 inches larger than the plant's previous pot.
Sedums do not need rich soil, but they do need excellent drainage. Choose a succulent-formula potting mix, or make one yourself by combining 2 parts potting soil, 2 parts course sand, 2 parts peat and 1 part perlite or crushed charcoal. Fertilizer amendments are not necessary for sedums.
Keep sedums away from cold drafts and heater vents to minimize stress.
The right care is vital to keeping healthy sedums houseplants. Check the soil every few days by sticking your index finger about 1 inch below the surface. Water only if it feels dry, adding water until the soil is saturated and the excess liquid dribbles from the drainage holes. Let the soil dry out completely during the winter, watering only if the sedum leaves start to pucker slightly.
Sedums are not heavy feeders, although they benefit from fertilizer during the growing season to encourage lush foliage and ample blooming. A monthly application of dilute liquid fertilizer works best. Use a low balanced fertilizer such as 15-15-15 when growth is vigorous and the days are long and warm. Dissolve 1/4 teaspoon of fertilizer in 1 gallon of water and water with the solution each month. Don't fertilizer in fall and winter to allow the plant to rest.
Stop fertilizing if the sedum produces lanky stems with dark green, widely spaced leaves.
- North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension Service: Sedum Spp.
- University of Illinois Extension: Cacti and Succulents as Houseplants
- Michigan State University Saylor Plant Encyclopedia: Sedum morganianum
- Fine Gardening: Showy Stonecrop
- Mountain Crest Gardens: Sedum rubrotinctum
- University of Illinois Extension: Succulents Make Great Houseplants
- Logee's Plants for Home and Garden: Cultural Information--Sedum
- University of Georgia Extension: Growing Indoor Plants with Success
Samantha McMullen began writing professionally in 2001. Her nearly 20 years of experience in horticulture informs her work, which has appeared in publications such as Mother Earth News.