May 2014 Plant Highlight: Sedum clavatum

by Brian Kemble


South-central Mexico has an amazing variety of Sedum species, and one of these is Sedum clavatum, native to the State of Mexico, to the west of Mexico City. Before it was given its scientific name in 1975, it was referred to as the Tiscalatengo Gorge Sedum, after the canyon in which it grows.

Sedum clavatum grows as a small-scale ground-cover, branching and also making offsets from the base to form a clump which remains short (about 4 inches high, or 10 cm) but spreads outward over time. It prefers light shade rather than full sun, except in cool coast-side locations. Though not terrifically cold-hardy, it can take overnight temperatures into the upper 20’s F (to -3 C).

S. clavatum


Each stem of Sedum clavatum ends in a rosette of chubby club-shaped leaves which are milky bluish in color, sometimes flushed with pink at the tips. The leaves are up to an inch long (25 mm), and the compact rosettes are up to 2 inches across (50 mm).

Sedum clavatum comes into flower in the spring, blooming in late April and May at the Ruth Bancroft Garden. The short inflorescence emerges from the side of the stem a little below the growing tip, arching upward and not overtopping the rosettes by much. It has chubby bracts on the lower portion, looking much like miniature versions of the leaves, and ends in a tight cluster of small star-like white flowers subtended by pink-tipped sepals. The flowers are a little over a half-inch across (about 14 mm).

S. clavatum flower

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Mission Statement
The mission of the Ruth Bancroft Garden, Inc. is to preserve this exceptional example of garden design and to continue to develop its collection of water-conserving plants for the education and enjoyment of the public.  
Grant Funders

The Ruth Bancroft Garden would like to recognize the following grant funders:

The Quest Foundation for funding our Education Coordinator’s position

The Mervyn L. Brenner Foundation and The Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust for funding our directional signs

The California Horticultural Society for funding towards our restoration projects

The Bonita Garden Clubfor funding restoration and education projects


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