ruprechtii - An Epilogue

I was wandering through a client’s garden the other day, and casually said something nice about Sedum ‘Matrona’, which was looking sensational.  The reply was more spat than said.  “I don’t care what you say, Michael McCoy, it’s the best of the lot”

After a few moments of ‘What did?…who said?….do you mean?…”, I managed to splutter out that my rant about Sedum ruprechtii in a previous post could hardly be considered an implied condemnation of all the others.  And anyway, I’d recommended ‘Matrona’, and purchased and placed it in her garden!

So just to irritate her further, I’m going to keep on about Sedum ruprechtii.  I was aware that the flowers didn’t last long at their best, and that they then browned off to generally spoil the show.

What I didn’t know is that they were capable of then colouring up in a slow ripening process to match the richest, brickiest-coloured ‘Autumn Joy’ or ‘Matrona’. This hasn’t happened any other year I’ve grown it, though it has never seen this much sun before.

At first it’s all a bit mixed, and looks squeamishly like some sort of raspberry ripple cheesecake.  But eventually all the flowers ripen to the same hue.  I don’t have a pic of it specifically at this stage, but you can see it in the background of yet another pic of the wall.  Sedum ruprechtii (and for the sake of silencing the critics, properly S. telephium subsp. ruprechtii) is on the left in the rear of the pic, then to the right, slightly taller, is ‘Matrona’ which is, for a few weeks at least, the exact same colour.


  1. I wonder how many gardeners have cut those icky brown heads off their Sedum ruprechtii, never knowing they put on a second autumn party dress? But even they are completely overshadowed by the stunning beauty of that wall…..

    1. Hey, thanks Catherine. Hearing you describe it like that makes me a little more tolerant of its imperfections

  2. Hello Michael.
    I bought only one plant of matrona as a tubestock 2 years ago.. I love it. It looks very lonely. I havent pruned it yet.
    I live in coastal sydney. The stems have never dried out only the flowers which I have cut off both summers.

    Should I trim it furthet. Or cut it off at the ground?
    Maybe it will bush up for me (?). Or perhaps I should buy it some buddies.

    I love your work

    1. Hi Sue. Definitely cut it back to the ground. If the basal clump is, say, the diameter of a cricket ball, you could divide it in half. If double that, you could divide it into four (all done with a sharp spade), and replant.

Leave a Comment

More Blog Posts

When the dog bites

Some plants just make you ache.  There’s thousands of plants I like, hundreds that I love, and just a few that can make my heart skip a beat – plants that hold my attention for ages, and then hav ...

Hellebores revisited

I can’t stop looking at these hellebores I’ve been given.  I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what they reminded me of – where I’d seen that colour combination elsewhere in nature.  I kep ...

Straw, Silver, Brown and Black

I remember being blown away when James Van Sweden, speaking in Melbourne in 1989 about his huge plantings of perennials in the USA, told us that many of his clients found that their favourite season w ...