Plant Review: Sedum x ‘Bertram Anderson’

by Andrew Keys on March 3, 2010

Pronunciation // I’m ashamed to admit I never grew a creeping sedum until 2009. Unconscionable, I know. I tend to think big when starting beds (and I’ve started far, far more beds than I’ve finished) and top it off with the small stuff. Plus I always figured Sedums would be there, right? I mean, they’re colorful, they’re succulents, they’re a million things I love, but they’d be around. Well, taking Sedums for granted was my loss.

‘Bertram Anderson’ was the Sedum that changed all that. Reason: it’s PURPLE. It is such a great purple, people. I’ve been on a purple foliage kick for a while now, and this is one your neighbors will cross the street for. (Mine did.) OK, so in the pics here it’s a little blue, but that’s because mine was in a little shade. The more sun it gets, the purpler it is.

All the great Sedum attributes apply — drought tolerance, low maintenance, ease of growth. Bloom is pink, but fades to a chocolate brown that works in concert with the leaf color in a way I can’t get over.

The only drawback I’ve found, and this would apply to any creeping plant, is that when I planted it so it would trail over the cobble edging of my front flowerbed, I didn’t think about the “mow high” organic lawn we have growing on the other side, so grass grew through the Sedum. Oops. In this case, Sedum, I think it’s not you, it’s me.

Confession: these photos suck. Clearly I’m even still taking Sedums for granted in photographing my garden. Sedums: I promise, this is our year!

Lowdown:

  • COLOR, COLOR, COLOR: You know the urgency with which “fire engine” describes the color that is “fire engine red”? Think of this as “fire engine purple.” Flowers are bright pink, but again, I love them even more once they’ve browned. Brown + purple = a match made in color heaven.
  • LIGHT: Full sun is a standard Sedum requirement, but I gotta tell you, I noticed quite a lot of them growing in part shade late last year, and as I said, Bertram turns a nice blue in shade. This shall require further investigation.
  • WATER: All Sedums are succulents, and they’re low-water plants.
  • LOW MAINTENANCE: Periodic weeding, removal of dead stuff in early spring. That’s it!
  • FAMILY TREE: Sedums are part of the family Crassulaceae, which includes a lot of little house leeks and hens and chicks you’d recognize. Also? The common jade plant, Crassula ovata. ALSO, there’s a chance this Sedum may be called Hylotelephium now, but I think there’s some back and forth with that, so I’m sticking with Sedum. Bertram is a cross between Sedum cauticola and another I couldn’t find — anybody know the other parent?

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