Sedum adolphii is widespread all over the world, in different continents: Mexico, New Zealand, Canary islands, Italy (in Sicily). It grows on volcanic rocks, in a specific symbiosis with Hechtia tillandsioides. It in facts takes the organic nutrient it needs from the decomposition of the leaves of this plant.
Sedum adolphii is a low-growing, perennial succulent shrub that reaches 20 centimeters in height. It forms clumps of 50-60 centimeters in width, with its numerous, branching rosettes. These rosettes are 7.5 centimeters wide and show one the largest leaves of the whole genus Sedum (4-5 centimeters long). Stems, instead, are reddish-brown, erect to curved. Leaves show various ting: from yellow-green to orange. They are triangular in shape and acutely pointed, as well as slightly curved upwards.
Inflorences consist in cymes borne on an elongated stalk. Cymes are umbellate: this means that the flowers are
arranged in an umbel inflorescence. This is an inflorescence, also typical of the carrot family, in which the pedicels arise from about the same point to form a flat or rounded flower cluster. In this case, the inflorescence is rounded and the flowers are white, equipped with 5 or 4 petals, lanceolate and extremely small (2.5 millimeters long).
Sedum adolphii, like all Sedums, is very tough and needs very little care. Here below are a few tips:
Place it in direct sun to enhance the purplish tinge if its foliage. We advise though to provide some light shade at least during the hottest hours of Summer days.
The minimum tolerated temperature of this species is around 3-4ºC. If grown in pot, it should be kept indoors in Winter. It though should be able to resist outdoors, being a tough specise.
Water it about twice a week in Spring and Summer, waiting for the soil to dry up completely before each irrigation, and stop watering in Winter.
Sedums have no specifical needs regarding soil. The most important thing is to choose a well-draining substrate. To grow them in pots, a standard soil for cacti or a mix of sand and peat is the best option.
Fertilization is not necessary if the plant is repotted regularly. In any case, it’s advisable to do it once a year in early spring with a product specific for succulents, rich in Phosphorus and Potassium and poor in Nitrogen, diluting it at half the doses recommended on the label.
Repot in Spring every two years, when the S. adolphii outgrows its pot. Choose large, shallow pots.
Sedums can usually be propagated easily by leaf or branch cuttings. In the case of Sedum adolphii, however, the best method is to divide the bush. That is to say, you detach a portion of bush that includes its soil and roots, and replant it in another pot.
The name “Sedum” means ‘plant, annual herb’ in Latin. Such a generic name is justified by the wide distribution of this genus. Recently, this plants have become pupular in roof coverings, the so-called “green roofs”.
Sedum adolphii was discovered for the first time in Mexico, in 1906, and was named, at the beginning, Sedum nussbaumerianum after Ernst Nussbaumer, who was the head gardener at the Bremen botanic garden in Germany. Until 1944 it maintained this name, until being reintroduced in the market as Sedum adolphii in 1933. Although there has been some uncertainty about the real name, the two plants have the same chromosome count, came from plants grown from the same source (the first discovering in Mexico) and share the umbellate inflorescence, so should be definitely considered the same plant. The valid name is therefore Sedum adolphii because it is more recent.
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