How to propagate Sedum spectabile from cuttings. This is the easiest way to to create new plants for free
Propagating most succulents is easy but Sedum spectabile, also known as Hylotelephium spectabile, is probably the easiest of all. If you’re not familiar with it, you might know it by its common name of Ice Plant. This stunning and low-maintenance perennial grows into clumps that reach about a foot and a half tall and wide. They grow in all types of soil, providing that it’s well drained, and reliably grow back year after year. They’re a hardy ornamental that wows with its foliage in the summer and its blooms in autumn.
Some of the first I ever propagated from cuttings filled a long bed that bordered a friend’s driveway. Even though they filled the entire area, she barely even knew they were there except for when they exploded into magenta flowers in September. Nectar-rich, Sedum spectabile flowers are a welcome food source for pollinators well into autumn and range in color from pinks, magentas, reds, and white.
Propagate Sedum spectabile from cuttings
Succulents are a family of plants with thick, juicy leaves and stems. They include plants like Hen and Chicks, cacti, aloes, and of course Sedum spectabile. They grow reliably from cuttings, which are 3-4″ pieces of the stem and some 1-4 leaves.
- Take cuttings in spring to mid-summer.
- Pluck them off the plant with your fingernails, remove all but the top few leaves.
- Leave the stems in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight for two to three days. During this time the snipped end will dry up and form a callus.
- Plant into moist, free-draining compost, leaving just the leaves above the surface
- Keep in a bright space at room temperature or a little warmer. The cuttings should begin to form roots within a few weeks.
- Either pot on into a larger pot to grow on or harden off and plant outside.
- Ice plants like full sun and aren’t fussy about soil type as long as it’s not waterlogged. They’re hardy too so will grow even in exposed places.
Tough little cuttings
When propagating any cutting, it’s wise to use a free-draining mixture of compost, perlite, and/or grit. This helps water to drain away quickly but gives the cutting a place to grow. Too much moisture can encourage rot and disease so you want to avoid that situation at all costs.
However, as you can see from the photos, I used ordinary multipurpose compost to plant them in. Other cuttings would have sulked at not having more free-draining compost so this shows just how hardy sedum spectabile is. I even rooted another type of succulent in the compost while it was rooting without any issues. They want to grow and won’t mind not being coddled making them possibly one of the easiest plants to propagate.
The photo above shows the cuttings shortly before I potted them on. As soon as roots are visible in the pot’s drainage holes you know it’s time for them to upgrade their accommodation. In this case, I potted them up individually in slightly larger pots before hardening them off and planting them outside.
I’m happy to say that I still have these cuttings growing as large clumps in the allotment garden to this day. They’re one of the last splashes of color in autumn and one of the first plants to begin growing in spring. It’s a hardworking and easy-to-grow plant that will always be welcome in my garden.