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Sedum perfect for landscapes

My wife and I have a favorite perennial plant called sedum. Some may call it stonecrop.

We call it colorful, resilient and beneficial.

When we moved to Ohio with our young children, we searched for a plant that can grow in poor soil, thrive on little attention, feed pollinators, be deer resistant and offer color or an interesting shape for most of the year.

Really, is that too much to ask of a plant?

We found the answer in a plant called sedum. In many cases, it looks like a succulent, has green leaves and colorful flowers. Sedum plants can range from a few inches to 3 feet high depending on the variety. The shorter plants are used as groundcovers.

All varieties can grow in full sun and will grow in poor soil. Plant performance is different in varying conditions of partial shade to full sun. Plant sedum in areas that drain well.

Shorter varieties and some of the larger ones will root from leaf cuttings. The plants grow fast and spread during the first growing season. The taller variety can be propagated by breaking off a stem and just pushing the green end into the ground where it will take root to establish itself in a season or two. Plants should be spaced at least 12 inches apart.

Use very little fertilizer on sedum plants during the growing season similar to a light sprinkle of 5-10-10 or half strength of a liquid variety by diluting it with water. Be sure to follow label directions.

After establishing the plants, they require little water to grow. The sedum plants can be good food sources for butterflies and bees in the fall. Many rock and container gardens incorporate low growing sedum varieties which yield many colors such as Dragons Blood with its red flowers. The leaves grow green all summer and will turn maroon color in the fall. There is a variegated form called “Tricolor” that is attractive in the summer landscape.

Some low growing species usually used as groundcovers like Sedum acre (goldmoss) are also being used as living roof covers on buildings. These plants assist with drainage and cooling the buildings.

All four of these spiders are more likely to be found in southern and western Ohio than in the Mahoning Valley.

Spiders, like most other invertebrates, live out their lives largely beyond our notice, performing valuable functions in the environment. So pesticides are not recommended.

A good way to control spiders is to the change the environment where they are found. All spiders are predators, so cleaning up an area that may have insects, the spiders’ prey, will encourage spiders to move to another location.

Use a broom or vacuum to remove any spider webs you find. Also, reduce the use of outside lighting to minimize attracting insects and thus spiders to your house.

In general, you want to think of ways you can help spiders do their jobs without having them in your home. One great way to do this is to take advantage of the warmer temperatures and work on caulking around the outside of your home. Use caulking around every possible entry point from where the cable line comes in to any windows that need some attention. This won’t solve all of your problems, but can be a good start.

For more information on spiders, visit http://go.osu.edu/spiders.

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