13 Best Stonecrop Varieties for Your Rock Garden

If you’re looking for plants that thrive in rock gardens and coarse, nutrient-poor soil, check out stonecrop! These plants have thick, succulent-like leaves that allow them to thrive in environments where many other plants perish. Gardening expert Briana Yablonski shares 13 stonecrop varieties to consider planting.

A cluster of pink stonecrop flowers, delicately held aloft by deep purple stems. In the blurred background, additional blooms of these charming flowers create a picturesque scene, adding to the allure of the composition.


When it comes time to design your garden, one of my best pieces of advice is to turn to nature. While you may be able to coax a desert plant to survive in the humid southeast or use shade cloth to protect a woodland plant from the harsh sun present in an open yard, it’s easier to choose plants well suited to your environment. 

So, if you’re looking for plants to brighten up rock gardens, stone walls, and patios filled with pavers, turn to stonecrops! These plants grow on exposed rocky cliffs and mossy woodland boulders, so they’re well-suited to the shallow, poor soil often found in rock gardens and related areas. Plus, they’re resistant to deer, rabbits, and other problematic pests.

And don’t think you’re limited to a few options! You can choose from vining stonecrops with tiny leaves that resemble pine needles and varieties that send up tall steps topped with bright flower clusters. With so much diversity in types of stonecrop, it can be difficult to decide which plants to choose. That’s why I’ll introduce you to 13 of the best stonecrop varieties to add to your rock garden.

Stonecrop and Sedum: What’s the Difference?

Purple stonecrop flowers in full bloom with vibrant petals, surrounded by their leaves underneath. The blurred backdrop reveals a verdant landscape filled with lush greenery, enhancing the beauty of the delicate stonecrops.
The common name, stonecrop is used for any member of the Sedum genus.

Before I dive into some stonecrop varieties that work well in rock gardens, let’s clear up some common confusion surrounding the terms sedum and stonecrop. Are these two words interchangeable? Does one nestle inside of the other?

Sedum is the genus name used to describe a group of approximately 420 species, but people often use the common term sedum to refer to any of these plants. Using the genus name to describe included species also occurs with plants like violas and fuchsias.

The Sedum genus used to contain more species, but scientists reclassified some of these plants into the smaller, separate genera Hylotelephium and Rhodiola. Although the species in these genera technically are no longer members of the Sedum genus, people often still refer to them as sedums.

So, what about stonecrop? It turns out stonecrop is just the common name for any member of the Sedum genus and related genera. So you can use the terms sedum and stonecrop interchangeably. 

13 Best Stonecrop Varieties for Your Rock Garden

Although all types of stonecrop grow well in poor and shallow soil, each variety has unique preferences. For example, some types of sedum grow well in dappled shade, while others require full sun to thrive. Read through the following characteristics of each plant and select one (or more) that’s right for you!

Woodland Stonecrop

A thriving woodland stonecrop grows vigorously next to a sturdy rock, showcasing nature's resilience. Its round, succulent leaves complement the landscape while delicate white flowers with spiky petals add a touch of elegance to the scene.
This plant thrives in partially shaded rock gardens and moist, mossy areas.
botanical-name botanical name Sedum ternatum
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to full shade
height height 3-6 inches
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

Also known as wild stonecrop, whorled stonecrop, mountain stonecrop, and three-leaved stonecrop, this species is native to much of the eastern and central United States. It naturally grows on rocks and boulders in the dappled shade of forests, meaning it’s an excellent choice for partially shaded rock gardens. Since these plants handle moisture better than other types of sedum, they’re also a great fit for moist and mossy areas.

As far as looks, woodland stonecrop maintains a short and vining form that sprawls to form a dense groundcover. During the late spring and early summer, the plants send up short flower stalks covered in white, star-shaped flowers with four delicate petals.

Woodland stonecrop doesn’t mind moist soil or shade, but it requires good drainage. Fortunately, most rocky areas are naturally well-draining. You can also plant it in containers filled with sandy or coarse soil.

‘Autumn Joy’ Sedum

In a garden, 'Autumn Joy' sedum blooms burst forth with purple elegance amidst verdant foliage. The rich greenery provides a picturesque backdrop, accentuating the vibrant hues of the flowers. Bathed in sunlight, they exude tranquility and natural splendor.
Avoid over-fertilizing and overwatering ‘Autumn Joy’ plants for optimal growth.
botanical-name botanical name Hylotelephium spectabile ‘Autumn Joy’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 18-24 inches
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-10

‘Autumn Joy’ is one of the most popular varieties of tall stonecrops. If you’ve seen a plant with succulent-like light green leaves and tall stems topped with clusters of tiny pink flowers, chances are good it was ‘Autumn Joy!’

The plants produce their beautiful flowers in the middle of summer, and the blooms stick around until the fall. Even after the flowers fade, ‘Autumn Joy’ adds interest to the garden as the blooms change from pink to warm shades of orange.

Since ‘Autumn Joy’ plants grow a couple of feet tall, they work well in larger plantings of drought-tolerant flowers. Just ensure you don’t over-fertilize or overwater them—these plants grow best in poor, dry soil and will suffer if you provide them with too much tender care.

Cliff Stonecrop

Sunlight gracefully bathes a cliff stonecrop, highlighting its textures and vivid green hues. The plant's rosettes embrace the sunlight, showcasing nature's ability to thrive  in harsh landscapes with elegance and determination.
The Appalachian stonecrop is challenging to spot in the wild.
botanical-name botanical name Sedum glaucophyllum
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 1-4 inches
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-7

Also known as Appalachian stonecrop, this species grows on limestone outcrops in the Mid-Atlantic region. However, it’s concentrated in a small area, so it’s difficult to see in the wild. Despite this, the plants survive well in rock gardens and make good additions to native plant gardens. 

Its growth form is quite unique, with small rosettes of leaves covering the ground. Most of the leaves are light green, but those near the outside of the rosette turn a lovely rosy pink. Since the rosettes remain short, this stonecrop is an excellent ground cover for rocky areas or sandy soils. During the late spring and summer, the plants send up short flower stalks covered in white and pink flowers.

Like most types of stonecrop, this plant prefers poor and well-draining soil. Cliff stonecrop prefers partial shade or dappled light, so it makes a great plant for the sides of houses or the understory of taller plants.

White Stonecrop

A white stonecrop, a succulent with thick, slender leaves, displays elegant white flowers. The green grass below complements its delicate beauty, while a sizable rock adds a natural contrast.
This grows rapidly through spreading stems but may outcompete other plants.
botanical-name botanical name Sedum album
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 3-6 inches
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

When you look at white stonecrop’s light green leaves, you may wonder what the term white refers to. But your confusion will fade once you see the plants’ clusters of white, star-shaped flowers.

White stonecrop grows via spreading stems that can root into the ground, so it can quickly grow and expand in the proper environment. While this is a good thing if you’re looking for a plant to fill in empty spaces, be aware white stonecrop can sometimes choke out other low-lying plants.

Due to its high tolerance of bright light, high temperatures, and shallow soils, white stonecrop is a popular plant for green roofs and xeriscapes. However, don’t think you can walk on this tender plant! Like most types of stonecrop, its fragile leaves will become damaged when trampled. 

Cascade Stonecrop

Bright yellow cascade stonecrop flowers catch the sunlight, spreading cheer in a garden. Clusters of succulent foliage, reminiscent of jellybeans, adorn the plant's red stems. Their vibrant hue contrasts beautifully with the surrounding greenery.
The cascade stonecrop thrives in well-draining soil and partial sun.
botanical-name botanical name Sedum divergens
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 1-8 inches
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-9

Also known as spreading stonecrop, this plant produces small, rounded leaves along sprawling stems. If you squint and use a bit of imagination, it almost looks like the stems are covered in green jelly beans! The plants also produce bright yellow flowers in the summer.

As its common name suggests, Cascade stonecrop is native to areas in the Pacific Northwest with well-draining soil and at least partial sun. Try planting it in rock gardens or other areas with loose and nutrient-poor soil.

Sedum ‘Blue Spruce’ 

Vibrant, succulent sedum 'Blue Spruce' plant flaunts lush, thick leaves with a captivating blue-green hue, creating a striking visual contrast. The densely packed foliage gracefully cascades along the stems, forming an enchanting and resilient ground cover.
This variety produces tall flower stalks with bright yellow blooms.
botanical-name botanical name Sedum reflexum ‘Blue Spruce’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 4-8 inches
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-11

If you’re looking for an attractive stonecrop to fill a gravel-covered area of your garden or trail over a rock wall, put ‘Blue Spruce’ on your list. This hybrid variety produces trailing stems covered with thin, pointed, blue-green leaves that resemble spruce needles. 

While the foliage alone is gorgeous, the plants also send up tall flower stalks topped with bright yellow blooms. These flowers continue blooming for about a month and are favorites of beneficial insects, including butterflies, ladybugs, and parasitic wasps.

As long as ‘Blue Spruce’ receives at least six hours of bright light each day, it is a hardy and easy-to-grow plant. Remember to plant this stonecrop in an area with well-draining soil, and don’t forget these plants thrive with little water and fertilizer.

Sedum ‘Angelina’

A close-up reveals a sedum 'Angelina,' basking in the warmth of the sun's rays. Its succulent foliage showcases green hues complemented by striking red tips, creating a picturesque contrast.
A sprawling stonecrop like ‘Angelina’ creates a thick carpet as a ground cover.

botanical-name botanical name Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun or partial shade
height height 3-6 inches
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9

Many of the stonecrop varieties on this list cover the ground with muted shades of green, but ‘Angelina’ mixes things up with chartreuse and yellow leaves. S,  if you want to brighten up your rock garden, this is the stonecrop for you!

‘Angelina’ is another sprawling stonecrop with trailing stems that grow to form a dense groundcover. If provided with the proper care and environment, a single plant can eventually cover more than a cubic yard of space! However, you can easily pull rooted stems from the ground to contain the plant’s spread.

The plants produce yellow flowers, but it’s often difficult to see these blooms amidst the similar colored leaves. While these flowers fade in the fall, the plants put on a new show as their leaves fade to orange.

Sedum ‘Coral Reef’

A close-up of sedum 'Coral Reef' reveals its lush, round leaves arranged in compact rosettes. The leaves exhibit a striking combination of green hues intermingled with deep shades of purple, creating a visually captivating display.
This features disk-shaped leaves in green and pink hues along trailing stems.
botanical-name botanical name Sedum tetractinum ‘Coral Reef’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 3-4 inches
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-8

A hybrid variety of the stonecrop commonly known as Chinese sedum, ‘Coral Reef’ stands out from other stonecrops due to its disk-shaped leaves. These rounded and flattened leaves appear along trailing stems, leading to a whimsical appearance. When you add in the fact that the leaves are a combination of green and pink, it’s easy to see why this variety is a popular addition to well-drained areas.

When long days arrive, the plants send up stems covered in tiny flowers that may be some shade of pink, yellow, or white. The flowers stick around for at least a month as long as the plants receive enough sun.

To keep these plants happy, plant them in an area with direct sun and well-draining soil. Either moist or dry soil is fine—just make sure the plant isn’t sitting in constant moisture.

Mossy Stonecrop

A mossy stonecrop plant showcasing its lush green leaves. Bright yellow and red flowers bloom gracefully amidst the verdant foliage, adding bursts of color and charm to the serene garden scene.
This plant’s dense growth fills rocky areas but may outcompete lawn grasses.
botanical-name botanical name Sedum acre
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 1-4 inches
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

Don’t let the common name fool you; this is a type of sedum and not a true moss! However, it’s easy to spot the dense clusters of tiny green leaves covering a rock and think you’re looking at a lush patch of moss. But you’ll notice the succulent green leaves grow out from short stems when you step closer.

Depending on your goals and the environment, mossy stonecrop’s dense growth can be either a pro or a con. The plant’s spreading, horizontal stems quickly fill in bare and rocky ground with color, so it’s a great option for empty rock gardens and well-draining garden patches. However, this non-native stonecrop can outcompete common lawn grasses and become problematic.

Sedum ‘Ogon’

A vibrant sedum 'Ogon' plant featuring leaves blending hues of green and red. The striking color variation creates a visually appealing and lively display in any garden or indoor space.
Japanese sedum variety ‘Ogon’ features bright yellow leaves in spring and summer.
botanical-name botanical name Sedum makinoi ‘Ogon’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 2-4 inches
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 6-10

A beautiful variety of Japanese sedum, ‘Ogon’ features small rounded leaves along short stems. The leaves remain bright yellow throughout the spring and summer, and they change to a brilliant salmon pink when cooler weather hits.

Although mature ‘Ogon’ plants can tolerate moderate to severe drought, this stonecrop variety can also handle wetter soil better than other types of stonecrop. The plants still require well-draining soil, but they won’t mind if the soil stays moist.

Another benefit of ‘Ogon’ is that it forms dense patches without choking out surrounding plants. Therefore, you can mix it with other types of stonecrop and succulents without worrying about it taking over.

Broadleaf Stonecrop

A potted broadleaf stonecrop, displaying red and green leaves arranged in rosette patterns. The succulent's colors intensify under the sunlight, creating a striking contrast against the pot's backdrop.
The broadleaf stonecrop is a versatile plant native to the West Coast.
botanical-name botanical name Sedum spathulifolium
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 4-8 inches
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 6-10

Native to the West Coast of the United States and Canada, you can find broadleaf stonecrop growing along rock faces and cliffs in the wild. Since this plant tolerates both full sun and partial shade, it’s a great addition to many rock gardens and patios, especially in the West. Try planting it under tall flowering plants and grasses since it doesn’t mind the shade.

Broadleaf stonecrop produces short stems covered with tiny, rounded, light blue-green leaves. The tops of the leaves form rosettes that resemble miniature wild roses. While these leaves remain green for much of the year, they develop a beautiful pink hue in the fall.

Sedum ‘Tricolor’

A close up of sedum ‘Tricolor’ leaves exhibits green hues, accented by delicate edges tinted in white and pink. The blurred backdrop offers a glimpse into a lush cluster of similar plants, echoing nature's serene beauty.
This variety of stonecrop features light green leaves with white and pink edges.
botanical-name botanical name Sedum spurium ‘Tricolor’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 3-6 inches
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

While many types of stonecrop develop two-toned colors as the temperatures drop, ‘Tricolor’ remains multicolored year-round. The small leaves are light green in the middle and have white and pink edges. During the fall, the entire leaf develops a pink hue. For the best color, plant this variety in full sun.

Although this plant has short stems, it can expand to form a dense ground cover. Therefore, it works well for filling in rocky patches in gardens or adding color to rock gardens. The plants also produce pink flowers during the summer.

Although ‘Tricolor’ may look extraordinary, it grows in the same poor, well-drained soils as other types of stonecrop. It can also tolerate a wide range of temperatures, so don’t hesitate to plant it if you live in a cooler region.

Gray Stonecrop

A cluster of gray stonecrop plants, displaying a rich green hue, with their succulent leaves arranged in captivating rosette formations. These hardy and drought-resistant perennials add a touch of elegance to any garden or landscape.
Use gray stonecrop to fill empty spaces in rock gardens with its spreading underground runners.
botanical-name botanical name Rhodiola pachyclados
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 2-6 inches
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-11

Many stonecrop varieties produce rosettes of fleshy leaves, but few rival those of gray stonecrop. These plants produce many tiny rosettes that resemble a cute little cabbage patch or cluster of miniature roses. Each leaf has wavy margins, aka edges, creating an even more unique appearance.

Gray stonecrop has underground runners that spread and create dense ground covers, so you can use the plants to fill empty spaces in rock gardens. However, the plants also look beautiful trailing over stone walls.  Along with beautiful leaves, gray stonecrop produces delicate, white, star-shaped flowers.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of which stonecrop variety you choose, you can count on a low-maintenance plant that thrives in poor soils. Remember to plant these succulent plants in an area with well-draining soil and avoid applying too much fertilizer. Don’t be afraid to mix and match a few varieties to create a rock garden filled with different colors and textures!

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