How to Trim Back an Autumn Joy Sedum

Written by sandee coulter
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How to Trim Back an Autumn Joy Sedum
Sedum beginning to blossom in vibrant pink. (sedum image by Sergey Goruppa from

Autumn Joy sedum (also called a stonecrop) is a classic plant for the garden that requires little care but provides appeal for every season. There are three reasons, each with different methods and motives for trimming back this sedum. One is simply for spring cleanup of last year's dead stem and seedpod, another is to create new starts, and the third is to shorten the plant and delay bloom time. Determine the reason and desired outcome for trimming back the 'Autumn Joy' sedum and proceed with the method for that choice.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Sharp garden shears

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  1. 1

    Cut last year's sedum stem and seedpod with the garden shears immediately above the newly formed soil-level green rosettes if the purpose for trimming is spring cleanup. Remove all cut vegetation from the garden to the compost heap. This is done in late winter to early spring.

  2. 2

    Prune tips of the sedum in July, cutting 6 to 8 inches off all stems of the plant if the purpose is either to delay blooming until late fall or to shorten the 'Autumn Joy' stonecrop's height and make it more bushy. This is done with sharp garden shears. Blooms will be more abundant, but smaller if this pruning is chosen.

  3. 3

    Snip selective stem tips from the sedum if the purpose is for propagation. In summer, when the 'Autumn Joy' is actively growing, snip a four inch length of stem that includes two joints with garden shears. Strip off any low leaves and push the cutting into moist soil in a pot or another area of the garden. This stonecrop is one of the easiest to propagate and success will be nearly one hundred per cent.

Tips and warnings

  • 'Autumn Joy' sedum is prized in dried flower arrangements. Cut a few stems in the fall to bring inside for winter enjoyment.
  • If attracting butterflies and bees to the garden is desirable, this plant is a must to grow.
  • Juncos,chickadees, and a variety of other birds will feast on the seed heads if they are left to overwinter.
  • Every tip pruning, if pushed into the ground elsewhere in the flower bed is likely to thrive. The gardener can easily end up with too many of this stonecrop, so give some away or go ahead and toss them into the compost pile.

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