Hylotelephium telephium ‘Purple Emperor’ (formerly called Sedum telephium ‘Purple Emperor’ or Sedum ‘Purple Emperor’) reaches 15 inches (37.5 cm) tall and spreads up to 23 inches (57.5 cm) wide in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 9. The deep purple leaves are almost black in color, and the plant produces small, salmon-pink, summer flowers for a show of contrasting color. Sedum plants are considered easy care plants with low maintenance needs.
Sedum ‘Purple Emperor’ grows best in full sun exposure areas. In hot microclimates, this plant tolerates partial shady conditions. Good-draining soil is required for this plant, which does not tolerate wet roots. Stonecrop plants work well tucked into soil pockets on piles of stone in rock gardens. They are also suitable to grow in containers.
The best time to plant Sedum ‘Purple Emperor’ is in the spring. Place the root ball in good-draining soil so that the top of the root ball is level with the ground. Spacing for this succulent is between 6 and 24 inches (15 and 60 cm). Plant closer together to speed up the amount of time it takes to cover an area.
This succulent benefits from a couple of inches of wood chip or shredded bark mulch. Mulching reduces weed growth and moisture loss from evaporation. Keep the mulch 2 inches (5 cm) from the plant stems to prevent stem rot. In rainy areas use small pebbles as mulch, this reduces the water-retaining properties of the mulch.
Stonecrop prefers dry conditions and only needs occasional watering once established. Soak the soil heavily right after planting and then again before the cold weather occurs. Once the extensive root system develops, let the soil dry out between watering.
Sedum ‘Purple Emperor’ does not require many nutrients. Do not over-feed the plant. Just a handful of 10-10-10 all-purpose granular fertilizer scratched into the top of the soil every other year provides enough nutrients for a healthy plant.
One problem that Sedum ‘Purple Emperor’ develop when over-watered is heavy flower heads on weak stems. To solve this problem, cut the flower stems back by a third of their length before the flower heads form. This causes the plant to grow shorter, stronger stems. Otherwise, the only pruning this stonecrop needs is the removal of old leaves when new leaves appear.
Sedum ‘Purple Emperor’ needs dividing every 2 to 3 years in the early spring. Lift the plant out of the ground with a shovel and pull the clump into separate plants. Replant the original plant, and then plant the new stonecrop in a new location.
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