All About Gardening and Gardening Q & A by Pernell Gerver

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"Growing the Many Different Types of Sedum"

Sedum are easy-to-grow perennials that add colorful flowers and interesting foliage texture to the garden. Depending on type, they have a bloom period that ranges from midsummer to autumn, providing a long bloom season. In addition, many are evergreen, looking good all year long in the garden. There are both upright and trailing types of sedum. Click on a plant name below to order it from Pernell Gerver's Online Store.

Sedum 'Brilliant' is one of my favorite late-summer-blooming sedums. It's an upright-growing sedum that forms a handsome clump of foliage. Its fleshy, chartreuse leaves are the perfect backdrop for its large flat-topped clusters of flowers that stand atop its stems. The flowers are brilliant pink and bloom in late summer and continue blooming into early autumn. It grows about a foot and a half tall and as wide.

Striped sedum is another upright-growing sedum that sports stunning foliage and attractive flowers. Its leaves are lemon yellow edged with green and are quite unique. It bears flat-topped clusters of pale-pink flowers atop its stems in late summer and early autumn.

Sedum spurium coccineum is a low-growing, spreading sedum with small, rounded leaves held on trailing stems. The leaves have a reddish-bronze cast that deepens in autumn. Small clusters of red flowers nearly obscure the foliage when in bloom in midsummer. It grows just a couple of inches high, but can spread a foot or more across.


Sedum 'Ruby Glow' is another spreading sedum that combines unique foliage and striking flowers. Its small, rounded foliage has a blue-purple blush and is carried on red stems. Clusters of ruby-red flowers begin blooming in midsummer and continue blooming into early autumn, providing an exceptionally long season of bloom. It grows to eight inches high with the flowers and spreads to form a handsome carpet of flowers and foliage.

At my gardening workshop this week I will have a large selection of these and many more different unique sedums for sale. See the "If You Go" box for more info.

Pernell Gerver's Gardening Q & Aby Pernell Gerver

"Brown tips on house plants caused by fertilizer salts or low humidity"

Q. Why do my house plants turn brown on the tips of the leaves? I'll appreciate your input. Thanks.

A. There are a couple of reasons I can think of that would make the tips of the leaves of your house plants turn brown. One is not enough humidity. This is a problem especially during winter when the relative humidity inside the home is quite low. The dry air causes the tips of the leaves to turn brown and, in some cases, the entire leaf may drop off. This often occurs on spider plant and ferns.

Another reason the tips of the leaves turn brown is a build up of fertilizer salts in the potting soil in the pot. Chemical fertilizers, especially water-soluble fertilizers, have a tendency to accumulate as salts in the soil and this can cause the tips of the leaves to turn brown. Take the plant to the sink and pour clear water in the pot until it comes out the bottom. You'll notice that the water that first comes out of the pot will be brown - that's the build up of salts. Continue watering the pot until it drains clear.

To prevent build up of fertilizer salts, at every fourth watering, water with clear water to help rinse out the excess salts. Even better, switch to an organic fertilizer that doesn't create a build up of salts. I use Electra Plant Food on all my house plants (as well as all the plants in my garden). It's an organic, slow-release fertilizer that doesn't burn. It's a gray powder that you sprinkle on the surface of the soil and either scratch it in or water it in. I alternate between Electra Plant Food and Electra Bloom Food every three weeks all year long.

Click here to read more about Electra Plant Food and order it from Pernell Gerver's Online Store.

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