There’s such a buzz about succulents right now, but did you know they’ve been around much longer than you think, and they can be grown outdoors too. And, what’s even better, those outdoor kids are as easy to care for as their indoor siblings!
You know, we all lead busy lives, and seek out shortcuts with many of life’s every day activities. One of those is the way we care for our plants. We may buy plants and start out with all good intentions of watering them every day, feeding them, la la la… But, that just DOES NOT happen! How about a plant that really doesn’t need much water, because when it does get some, it stores it to use at a later date!?
But, we aren’t talking just any plant. We are talking about the most beautiful tapestry of plants the garden has ever seen. And they are the result of a 20 year labour of love. These are the Sunsparklers, who really do just that, sparkle in the sun!
A brand new family of low-growing succulent plants for growing outdoors. They come in a rich variety of colours and will thrive in your brightest, sunniest border! A welcome plant to breathe new life into your tired rockery, a snazzy new basket mixer or a border ‘fronter’- take your pick. It can do it all!
Sedum Cherry Tart
How was this plant created?
Ahead of the succulent curve, Chris Hansen from Michigan had his interest piqued by the Sedum world years ago. He could see that a few breeders were creating new upright border Sedum, but not one person was creating new ground cover types, or being that inventive with how they used them.
Chris then collected an amazing 300 different species of Sedum from all over the world, and he soon started making interspecific crosses, i.e. just mixing every thing up. That must’ve been a fun moment, and even more fun when the seed set, and he could then grow on the progeny… There was no book on which species can cross with each other, so Chris experimented for years, in his backyard and at home. He has a spreadsheet of 10 years of his experiments, showing which species can cross with each other, I reckon one day he could write a book on the subject!
Ignoring the naysayers, Chris pursued his experiment with this previously unpopular family of plants, and the first results were pretty swish. Before long, he was building a very interesting colour palette with varieties such as Dazzleberry, Lime Zinger and Firecracker. And their succulent tendencies made them damn good garden plants too!
Sedum Jade Tuffet
What’s different about this plant?
Chris says everyone breeds lookalike plants these days, and he’s right. Because he really IS looking for significantly different plants, and is VERY selective, we can really shout about the qualities of the Sunsparklers Series and now we’re right!
Retailers were initially reluctant, as Sedum weren’t exactly a plant that set the garden centre shelves on fire, However, Chris urged them to trial them, and before long they really understood the power of the plants and of the brand Chris had built. Since the conception of Petunia ‘Surfinia’ way back in the 90s, branding has proved to be an important part of a plant launch. When people see a new Sedum under the Sunsparkler umbrella, they just know that it’s gonna be a good one.
Sedum Blue Pearl
Where can you plant Sedum ‘Sunsparklers’?
Chris selected the Sedums for hardiness, first and foremost. These plants grow well in most European climates and across the USA, from zone 4 to zone 9, that’s from Canada to northern Florida. The second, super improtant criteria for the moder gardener, was to create trouble-free plants. Sedum ‘Sunsparklers’ needs hardly any maintenance, in fact you could probably go on a round the world cruise and come back and they’ll still look just as sparkly!
Breeder Chris Hansen
Where can you buy this plant?
Plants are available in garden centres across Europe, or by mail order from here, or here in the USA.
Sedum Lime Twister
How to grow Sedum ‘Sunsparklers’:
Flowering time: July to September
Location: Borders, bedding, patio pots, rockeries
Soil: Any well-drained soil
Hardy: Survives down to -30C!
Care: Prune lightly after flowering, just to tidy up!
Size: 20cm (8″) high x 45cm (18″) in spread
Sedum Plum Dazzled
Shrub of the Month is sponsored by Plantipp, a company based in The Netherlands who handle the introduction of new plants into Europe (with Concept Plants doing the same job in North America). Sedum ‘Sunsparklers’ is bred by Chris Hansen, and a dedicated Sunsparklers can be found here.
To find out about more hardy succulents, click here.
Michael has been involved with gardening and plants since he was just five years old. He is a self-professed Plant Geek, and was listed in the Sunday Times top 20 most influential people in the gardening world, thanks to his plant hunter role at Thompson & Morgan.
Michael was responsible for new plant introductions such as the Egg and Chips plant and the FuchsiaBerry and keeps busy travelling the world in search of new plants as well as lecturing worldwide, including stints in Japan. He is very active on social media – so why not give him a follow at @mr_plantgeek or Facebook. You can also listen to The Plant Based Podcast with Michael and co-host Ellen-Mary on iTunes, Spotify and Google.