Sunday, September 9, 2012

Super Sedum 'Matrona'

Matrona copy
It's no big secret that I kinda love Sedums...especially the taller varieties. In the past, my go-to Sedum was 'Autumn Joy'. Now, don't get me wrong, I still love good old 'AJ', but last year I discovered the joys of one of the "newer" varieties of Sedum, Sedum 'Matrona'.

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While similar in over habit to 'Autumn Joy', the foliage of 'Matrona' is richly flushed with red. The amount of red in the foliage seems to increase if the plants is more stressed...and, generally, plants in more sun will have deeper coloring to the foliage as well.

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There is a bit of variability in the amount of red on the leaves, especially in new leaves, which sometimes have jut a picotee edge of red.

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Even more striking that the foliage are the stems, however, which are almost always a wonderful ruby-red, looking almost like pieces of red licorice. By the time 'Matrona' blooms, the stems are a fabulous red, frosted with silver and purple.

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Like most Sedums, 'Matrona' is beloved by bees...they seem to be a magnet for honeybees, in particular.

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One of the best things about 'Matrona' is that it's quite a bit taller than 'Autumn Joy', which tends to get swamped in my garden as larger plants grow over them (which is pretty much my fault). Luckily, with 'Matrona', my tendency to crowd plants doesn't overwhelm them as easily.

Sunny Matrona
'Matrona' gets around 2-3' tall and about as wide. It's very tough, hardy from zones 3-9. I have to admit, since I've moved mine around a bit, I still don't have any clumps that are really well-established, but I'm hoping next year they'll be really settle in and will bulk up. Like most taller Sedums, they have a tendency to flop open if their soil is too wet, of if they get too much shade.

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At first, I thought the coloring of 'Matrona' would make it a little tougher to use than 'Autumn Joy', but honestly, it looks good with everything. It contrasts wonderfully with cooler colors and really plays up the intensity of brighter ones. It plays well with other perennials, and looks fabulous with grasses, especially those in the blue color range (like Schizachyrium).

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So there you have it, Sedum 'Matrona', if you are thinking of planting a tall Sedum this year, give it a try!

41 comments:

  1. I just ordered some 'Matrona' for fall planting in a bed I am doing over. Actually, you were the one who suggested it, I think. It is my first sedum. I'm very excited!

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    1. Woohoo!!! That's so awesome...and I think you'll be pleased, she's a beauty :-)

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  2. And I was waiting until Spring to try it. It really does look like a great plant!

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    1. Hahahaha...it really is! Luckily, it's usually available in spring as well (not one of those plants they make you wait until fall to buy)!

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  3. I love both of them also. Same as you, the coloring of Matrona stands out and I find so beautiful but I like the more compact habit of AJ. Both are worth having in the garden.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. Exactly, they are both really great plants...just for different situations :-)

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  4. Definitely will do. My autumn joys are as flat as a pancake and sunburned. ughh. I even pinched them twice.

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    1. UGH...that sucks, Greggo :-( I have a few that really splayed out as well, but I'm guessing it's my fault this year...they were in their nursery pots for way too long and were tall and lanky.

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  5. Sedum are excellent plants. The ole Autumn Joy are a staple in my country garden :). Although I'd love some of the other varieties.

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    1. They really are...and I agree about Autumn Joy...it's a fabulous plant!

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  6. This is the only tall sedum I grow -- not because it's the best, but it was the first I tried and I loved it so didn't feel the need to keep looking.

    One caveat: deer love this plant, and prune it for me repeatedly early in the year.

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    1. Hahahaha...that's awesome...sometimes you get it right on the first try, huh ;-) Yikes...at least I don't have deer to contend with...drunk frat boys...that's what I have.

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  7. You have made this great standby fresh and exciting --- with the pictures and your description, and your obvious delight in them. I love the idea of red licorice stems!

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    1. Hahaha...me too! I can't help but get a little carried away with the descriptions, sometimes ;-)

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  8. Interesting I just put Matrona in my fall planters and will be putting in the garden in November. I didn't know much about it when I saw it at Home Depot but it looked like an unusual color, mine looks almost white as it is opening.

    Thanks for the post, looks like I got a deal at $5.00 per plant.

    Eileen

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    1. That's a great bargain, for sure, Eileen! Yes...mine are very light when they are budding and just opening...but darken up as the weeks go by.

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  9. I completely agree, S. 'Matrona' is a star. I've had one in my driveway garden for a very long time now, probably at least ten years or more. It always looks great.

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    1. That's so good to know, that they really have some staying power!

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  10. Great photos Scott. You certainly make this sedum shine! I have been adding more sedum to my very dry area in the garden. Love those red stems.

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    1. Me too, Janet...I'm really trying to keep the dryer areas full of grasses and sedums...makes the watering task so much easier :-)

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  11. It's taller than I expected, but does look good. We have a few clumps of trusty AJ, always covered in bees and butterflies, though I keep pondering swapping one of them for a more exotic cultivar...

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    1. They really are taller than I expected, for sure! I do like the extra height, to be sure, but it's nice to have Autumn Joy as a backup for in front of shorter plants :-)

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  12. Not to mention it doesn't flop, those fab ruby stems are hefty as can be, and the bees are crazy about.

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  13. Try as I might, I have a tough time growing Autumn Joy or Matrona. Other kinds of sedums thrive here, but those two just flop over and look horrible. I will just have to appreciate them from afar in your garden :-)

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    1. Oh no! To be fair...I moved mine several times before finding a spot that was sunny & dry enough to suit them. The first ones I bought just rotted in place.

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  14. If that's the sedum you have in your hell strip it's going on my search list. I forgot to ask about it at the time.

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  15. Nice photos! Sedum is a wonderful plant for Fall. One of my favorites is Sedum 'Brilliant'-a smaller more compact variety with shocking pink blooms.

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    1. I've seen that in nurseries, Lee...I have to go back and check out the blooms, as they were just budding last time I saw them!

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  16. That is a lovely cultivar--especially the foliage as you mention. I have Autumn Joy now, but I previously had a different one and for the life of me I can't remember what it was. But I think the blooms were more toward the purple/lavender end of the spectrum. I remember I planted them by simply sticking leaves in the ground from a cutting my mother-in-law gave me. Amazing plants!

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    1. Absolutely...and I'm such a clutz, that I always have a few broken-off stems that I can pop into the ground...gotta love a plant that WANTS to grow!

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  17. There are many new Sedum spectable on the market. I would love to have a bed with nothing else. Your photos are amazing, as usual. Please don't ever get tired of reading this okay? :)

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    1. Me too, Grace! Every year around autumn I start to get Sedum-crazy and want them all! I never tire of compliments...although I do tend to blush ;-)

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  18. Beautiful and very statuesque! I love all those colors or pink and blue and green.

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    1. Me too...and statuesque is the perfect word!

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  19. I also grow Matrona and love it. So do the bunnies, unfortunately. It's easy to root from cuttings if you ever end up cutting a piece back for any reason. I had to pull out a clump that needed better drainage. Most of the stems had rotted but a few were healthy enough to root in a pot of potting soil. They put out roots and are being replanted into the garden this fall. Yay! :o)

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    1. Woohoo! Glad to hear you were able to salvage enough stems to keep it going!

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  20. There's nothing better than sitting and watching (and listening to) the bees and butterflies zoom happily around them. I've never come across Matrona before, but it's certainly one I'll be keeping an eye out for.

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    1. OMG...it's so true...I find it so very satisfying to see them all abuzz with activity.

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  21. There are so many dark-leafed cultivars out there, but 'Matrona' continues to be my staple when it comes to garden designs and installs. It's often an overlooked cultivar, in my opinion, but it goes well with both warm and cool colors and the almost year round interest it possesses is truly outstanding!

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