Common name: Tricolor stonecrop
Latin name: Sedum spurium ‘Tricolor’
Plant type: Groundcover
Plant size: 1-6″ high by 12″ wide and spreading
USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-11
Cultural needs: Poor, moderate to dry, well-drained soil; sun (for pink color) to light shade
With parents native to Iran, Tricolor stonecrop is the type of rugged plant that laughs in the face of drought, heat, and poor soil, but cringes when it rains too much. A raised bed of soil, mixed with sand or other drainage material, will take care of this succulent’s need for dry feet. The plants in the photo live on a rock retaining wall. Whorled leaves painted in pink, white, and green look like they belong at a carnival, here photographed in the children’s section of the G&O outdoor garden railway (www.slhrs.org). Alongside 0-gauge track, a 3″ speeder, and Elfin thyme, the stonecrop is fairly plausible as a scale plant.
Regardless of your standards for tiny leaf size, it’s a very low plant that thrives on neglect. For this public garden railway, where members would rather run trains than fuss with plants, it’s great. It’s easy to divide by yanking out plants and tucking them into areas where weeds want to take hold. If solid-green leaves begin to emerge, pull those stems out, as they are reverting to the parent plant and will be twice the size.