Apr 7, 2015

The Blooming of Sedum Valens #030613B5b

The Blooming of Sedum Valens #030613B5b

Sedums, for the most part, are low-growing (up to two feet) plants with succulent leaves. There are somewhere around 600 species growing in virtually every habitable place on the planet. In bloom they can make quite a splash as they produce colours in virtually every hue, but even out of bloom they can be quite delightful. With roughly 600 known species the likelihood of discovering one that is unknown to science is problematic. Eventually it comes down to splitting a known or accepted species into two groups. Many times the differences noted are purely based on botany  Thus it is with Sedum valens, a ‘newly’ discovered species from the Snake River Canyon in central Idaho. Morphologically it resembles Sedum borsch and Sedum leibergii, but does have characteristic differences - hence the new species status.

I purchased seeds of Sedum valens (#90214.12) from Alplains (a wonderful purveyor of alpine, arid climate and high altitude seeds, mainly from the central and western United States) in early 2013. They were duly planted on March sixth and germinated, quite well, on March 30th, 24 days later. By June I had 14 plants in pots. In May of 2014 I foolishly planted two in a sunny, gritty part of the garden but investigating today I find no evidence they were ever there. Our winters are simply too damp. Now, unless there are others hiding in the cold frame, I am reduced to one plant. On February 6th of this year I transplanted the survivor to a hypertufa trough and have been watching and waiting to see how it developes. Well, it seems happy, and has produced a flower stalk whose buds seem ready to open. A few weeks of warm, dry weather and it may be fooled into thinking it is growing quietly on a basalt cliffside above the Salmon River and open those closely wrapped petals.

Sedum valens

Plant is two years old and the basal rosette measures 1 1/2 inches in diameter, the flower stalk is 2 3/8 inches tall.

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