Origin and appearance
Sedum Acre belongs to the thickleaf family (Crassulaceae). Carpet-forming specimens are also called wall pepper. There are about 400 species, which occur predominantly in the temperate and subtropical zone of the northern hemisphere. Some species can also be found in Central Africa and South America. The largest variety of fat hens is found in North America, followed by Asia. Many horticulturally growing garden varieties and hybrids have arisen from the great stonecrop (Sedum telephium) – it is also native to the United States.
Its fleshy, rounded to spatulate leaves are alternate, opposite or vertebrate, depending on the species. They serve the sedum species as water reservoirs and turn the plants into real drought specialists. Therefore, they can be found in the free nature also almost exclusively in dry mountain regions, steppes, on dunes or lean grasslands with dry, stony to sandy soils. Most species prefer the full sun, but some also grow in semi-shade. The up to 70 cm high growing Sedum Acre prefer well drained locations like the carpet-forming types. On damp and overfertilized soils, the stability of the plants decreases. Even after flowering, which usually begins in July and lasts into autumn, depending on the species and variety, high-fat hens are very decorative: covered with frost or snow, the seed stands ensure a noble appearance of the garden even in winter. The flower colours of the umbrella-like, terminal pseudo umbels vary in the high varieties from silvery-white to pink tones to a strong dark red. The flowers of the high fat hens are also real butterfly magnets and are also strongly flown by bees and other insects.
The small flowers of the carpet-forming species are white or yellow from June to August. The variety ‘Fuldaglut’ (Sedum spurium) even glows carmine red. Even in dry, sunny locations, the plants reliably form beautiful carpets of leaves and flowers. Many small growing Sedum species are wintergreen and also colour their leaves in autumn, such as the variety ‘Coral Carpet’ (Sedum album), which changes from green to an intense coral red, or the shade tolerant ‘Weihenstephaner Gold’ (Sedum floriferum), whose leaves show a reddish brown hue.
The carpet-forming species of stonecrop are very suitable for green roofs, dry walls or rock gardens. A classic duo for the greening of gravel surfaces and wide pavement joints is the yellow-flowering hot pepper (Sedum acre) and the sand thyme (Thymus serphyllum). Because of their frugal nature, carpet-forming species are also popular for grave design and can also be kept in plant troughs and flat plant trays without any problems. In spring they not only have an attractive bud, but also show their chocolate side even with their late autumn seeds. They are often planted in small groups and combined with asters, coneflower and ornamental grasses such as switch grass (Panicum virgatum) or riding grass (Calamagrostis). Perennials with elongated inflorescences such as Veronica form wonderful contrasts with the plate-shaped fat hen flowers. High fat hens are also suitable for tub planting and are excellent cut flowers. In autumn wreaths the flowers can be worked in wonderfully together with hydrangeas, clematis or rose hips. They dry out and then last very long.
One cuts back the high fat hens usually only in the spring, since their seed states are very decorative in the winter. Carpet-forming species do not need a cut.
Sedum Acre are very durable. You only split them when the eyries or carpets get too big over the years. This is best done in early spring.
other care tips
The plants are most beautiful if you keep them short – so do not apply compost or fertiliser regularly and do not water fat hens too abundantly even in dry weather.
There is hardly a plant that is as easy to reproduce as the stonecrop. You simply prick a piece of the eyrie or carpet from all species in spring and put it back in the desired place. To green the roof, a few rungs are sprinkled on the leveled roof substrate by Sedum acre and then well watered. Even in the flower vase, the flower stems usually form roots after just one week. In addition, some species also sow themselves in the garden.
Diseases and pests
Carpet-forming species sometimes suffer from wilt diseases (Verticillium). Remove dead parts generously and replace the soil before planting. Higher types are attacked easily by the gray-mildew (Botrytis) with too moist location. Powdery mildew can also occur occasionally. One of the most common pests is the pine weevil: the beetle eats typical bay-like depressions in the fleshy leaf margins.