Sedum rubrotinctum


No synonyms are recorded for this name.


Sedum rubrotinctum is a nursery hybrid and thus doesn’t exist in nature. Its “parents” instead, S. pachyphyllum and S. stahlii, are instead present in nature and are both native to Mexico, where they inhabit rocky slopes of limestone at high altitudes (up to 2400 meters above sea level in the cas of S. stahlii).


Sedum rubrotinctum is a hybrid between two Sedum species: Sedum pachyphyllum and Sedum stahlii. It is commonly known as “Jelly bean plant”, for the shape of its leaves, similar to jelly beans. S. rubrotinctum is low-growing succulent, that doesn’t exceed a height of 10-20 centimeters and takes on the habit of a dwarf bush, with slightly prostrate stems. It tends to spread horizontally over time through rooting stems and leaves. It is thus perfect as a ground-covering plant in a wide pot, especially for its extremely decorative foliage, bright green tinged in deep scarlet red. This purplish hue of the leaves is the main cause of the name of this hybrid, “rubrotinctum”. Leaves are numerous and crowded, arranged in spirals on the stems, forming rosette-shaped buds at the top of the stems. They are finger-shaped, elongated and elliptical, similar to jelly beans. In drought times, most of the leaves fall on the ground and the basic part of the stems remains bare. Flowers are inconspicuous if compared to the decorative potential of the flowers: star-shaped, yellow with a reddish tinge and a few millimeters wide, they are borne at the top of an elongated stalk in little clusters, that appear in mid-Spring.


Sedum rubrotinctum is appreciated also because it’s extremely easy to cultivate: it tolerates sun, half-shade and shade and it’s very resistent to lack of water. Here below are a few tips:
Put your S. rubrotinctum in a bright spot, directly exposed to sunlight, to enhance the reddish tinges of its leaves. A shaded position, along with too much water, can make your Sedum weak (the leaves may easily break) and less red: this is the so-called “stretching” of succulents ornamental plants.
S. rubrotinctum needs regular waterings during Spring and Summer, but don’t forget to wait for the soil to dry up completely before each watering, to avoid the risk of root rot. In Winter and during humid periods, thin the waterings until stopping completely to water during the coldest periods. The substrate should be well-draining and porous, with a good amount of organic matter as Sedums roots are shallow and develop mostly in the most superficial layer of the soil. This another reason, along with their tendence to develop horizontally, why it’s good to place them in a shallow but wide pot, not too deep. Sedum rubrotinctum, moreover, doesn’t like stagnant air: it’s important to place it in a spot exposed to drafts. Regarding the fertilization, slow release fertilisers with a low to moderate nitrogen content incorporated into the potting mix will do good if applied once a year to your Sedums.


The propagation of Sedum rubrotinctum is very easy, as any broken leaves fallen on the ground and any prostrate stem will put root when as they touch the ground. It also works to simply cut the top of the rosettes with a piece of stems and to plant it directly in the soil. The adequate period to take off the cuttings goes from April to July.


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”. The hybrids specific name “Rubrotinctum” refers instead to the reddish tinges taken on by its leaves when exposed to direct sunlight. The cultivar “Aurora”, instead, owes its name to the paler colour of its leaves, more pinkish and, thus, similar to the colours of dawn.

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