My Butterfly Magnet

May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun
And find your shoulder to light on,
To bring you luck, happiness and riches
Today, tomorrow and beyond.
~Irish blessing

Last year, a friend gifted me a couple of stalks of something I researched and learned was Sedum.

Someone had given a bunch to her, and she had no clue what it was. Just that it was easy to grow, even for a person without a green thumb.

In case you’re unfamiliar with Sedum, here’s some in bloom this year at one of our parks:

Sedum is a perennial in the Crassulaceae family, commonly called Stonecrop. It’s a succulent, with thick interesting leaves and clusters of star-shaped flowers and is available in two varieties — a low-grower suitable for ground cover or tall stalks ideal for border gardens.

Blooming in late summer through Fall, Sedum is showy in pinks, purples, blues, and yellows. It requires little attention, seeming to love sunshine and well-draining soil.

Sadly, the Sedum my friend gave me last year died out. Totally.

And when I told her how crushed I was over it, she offered me more this year. In fact, she gave me a huge clump of them in early Spring, long before they flowered.

Since putting them in the soil didn’t work last time, I planted them in a container, which the experts say is a good growing place. It’s raised off the ground, where curious bunnies and squirrels can’t get to it.

Even Dallas isn’t interested.

As spring turned to summer, I started watching eagerly for the Sedum to do something.

Like bloom.

I didn’t know what color it would be and, like a kid digging inside a Cracker Jack box, I was curious over what “toy” I’d get.

Gradually, my Sedum got taller, and little yellowish-white nubs appeared:

Some time later, the nubs erupted into tiny star-shaped pinkish-purple flowers:

Then more flowers started showing up:

And I noticed that butterflies, moths, and fuzzy bees were drawn to it in droves. Why, it’s a butterfly magnet!

And here:

The Sedum at our park was equally popular. Look at the bees (those brownish splotches on the lower left flowers):

I can only hope my Sedum is sufficiently established to withstand an Illinois winter. The experts say I don’t have to do much of anything (deadheading, fertilizing, etc.). All that’s needed it letting it die naturally when the cold wind blows in, then waiting for new growth to emerge next spring.

What could be easier?

And honestly, isn’t its beauty worth a little effort?

Sedum in bloom at our local park

16 thoughts on “My Butterfly Magnet

  1. “And honestly, isn’t its beauty worth a little effort?”

    Yes…it certainly is! Debbie, reading this and looking at your photographs put a huge smile on my face :) Isn’t nature grand? Being someone who really loves and appreciated trees, plants and flowers, yet, knows nothing about identifying or caring for them, I know that I’ve seen Sedum before, but didn’t know its name. It’s beautiful!

    So glad your friend gifted you another Sedum! I love how you pictured the gradual growth stages. And that photograph with the butterflies is FABULOUS!

    Thanks for sharing, my friend. Have a super Sunday! x

    • Ron, I’m so glad my post made you smile!! Isn’t it cool how these plants go from a stalk to a flower in just a short few weeks?? I love seeing all those butterflies, too (the bees I could probably do without, but they’ve got to drink, don’t they?) Anyway, sometimes I stand outside beside my Sedum, just looking at it, and I’m thrilled when the butterflies leave the flower and float around my head — they’re probably thinking my cologne smells as good as a flower, ha!! Enjoy what’s left of your weekend! xo

  2. That’s really beautiful, and so different from the native stonecrops I’ve seen. Our natives look much the same, although they tend to be ground-hugging, and prefer the rocky soil of the hill country to what we have around here. But what’s similar is that they freeze back in those hill country winters, and then come back in the spring, so I suspect yours will, too. For one thing, I can’t imagine that places like public parks would invest in something they had to replant every year. Budget, baby!

    • I’m going to keep my eyes open for some of the low-growing varieties, Linda. The photos online, especially of the blue ones, look so beautiful. Thanks for reassuring me they should come back next year — I’d hate to beg my friend for yet another few clumps!

      And you know, I’d never even thought of it, but you’re absolutely right — public parks surely wouldn’t plant Sedum if they knew it was just going to die away. The monetary cost for the plants themselves, as well as manpower to care for them, means they’re only interested in easy-growers, and who can blame them? Great point!

  3. How wonderful that it attracts so many butterflies! And yes, it’s certainly worth a little effort! I hope it survives the winter – are you planning to plant it out now it’s grown?

    • I’m thrilled it grew this year, after trying so hard last year and coming up empty-handed. I love the color, too! Of course, I’m planning to see how long I can keep it alive, FF. As long as nothing much is required in the way of overwintering it, I think I’m good. We will see!

    • Thanks, Virginia. When the friend who gifted it to me told me about the butterflies, I just knew I had to try growing Sedum. Now, some of these guys are spending most of their day “attached” to my flowers! They don’t move when Dallas goes outside, but usually they’ll flutter around if I do — and what fun that is!!

  4. It’s a perennial, so it will come back in the spring, BUT maybe not if it’s left in a container…there it’s likely to get it’s roots frozen. In the ground they come back year after year. Contact a nursery to see if leaving it in a container over winter will work on your plant zone, and ask how often to water it over winter and whether to trim it prior to winter or wait till spring to cut off the spent blooms.

    • What wonderful advice — thank you, Dawn! I checked with a local garden shop, whose owner told me she has Sedum in a container on her patio and has had it growing there for SIX years!! She said she never has to mess with it (like covering it or burying the entire container and digging it back up in the spring). She said I can even pinch off a stalk or two and plant them in the ground in a different sunny location — that way, they’ll propagate and I’ll have more for the butterflies to enjoy. How cool is that?!?

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