Sedum nussbaumerianum (coppertone sedum or coppertone stonecrop) is a low-growing succulent known for its bright copper to orange foliage. Native to the southern regions of Mexico, this succulent typically grows on rocky slopes and cliffs. It does well as ground cover in full sun or as part of rock gardens and mixed containers.
The fleshy, elongated leaves grow in a rosette formation on spreading stems. The foliage is olive green, becoming bright copper to orange in full sun. Coppertone sedum produces clusters of white, star-shaped flowers in the spring.
|Scientific Name||Sedum nussbaumerianum (syn. Sedum adolphii)|
|Common Names||Coppertone sedum, coppertone stonecrop|
|Plant Type||Mat-forming succulent, perennial|
|Size||Up to 8” tall, 20-26” spread|
|USDA Hardiness Zones||9-11|
|Propagation Methods||Leaf cuttings, stem cuttings, division, seed|
|Climate||Arid to semi-arid|
|Soil Type||Well-draining, rocky|
|Sun Exposure||Full sun to partial shade|
Sedum Nussbaumerianum Care
Sedum nussbaumerianum requires 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight a day. In partial shade and indoors, the leaves will be mostly green with copper tips. The foliage becomes bright copper to orange in full sun. During periods of extreme heat, create a shelter using shade cloth or bring containers to a shaded location. Coppertone sedum grows best outdoors but also does well as a houseplant. Place next to a bright, east- or south-facing window and bring outside for the warmer months.
Tip: When moving potted plants outdoors for the summer, slowly acclimatize them to direct sunlight over a week or two to prevent stress. Start by placing in the morning sun or dappled light before exposing to full sun.
The soil should be well-draining and rocky or sandy. Avoid planting in heavy clay that will create waterlogged conditions. For container plants, mix two parts succulent soil with one part perlite. In humid areas, mix equal parts soil to perlite.
Coppertone sedum prefers dry conditions. Depending on the climate, mature outdoor plants may receive sufficient irrigation from rainfall. Check that the soil is dry to at least 2 to 3 inches deep before watering. Avoid planting in regions with heavy rainfall or poorly draining soil. For indoor plants, water once the soil has dried completely. Water well and let the excess drain out of the pot.
Sedum nussbaumerianum is adapted to growing in arid climates with low humidity. Most typical indoor environments provide adequate humidity levels. If growing in a region with moderate to high humidity, ensure good airflow between the plants and incorporate at least 50% perlite or coarse sand into the substrate.
Apply a quarter-strength, diluted fertilizer once or twice in the spring. Coppertone sedum prefers nutrient-poor soils and over-fertilizing may lead to rapid, leggy growth and root burn.
Frequent pruning is not necessary. However, occasional pruning will help to control its shape and appearance. Prune in the early spring.
- Overgrown: If the plant is growing beyond its boundaries or out of the container, trim the outer edges back.
- Leggy growth: Cut back leggy stems to encourage compact, busy growth.
- Spent flowers: Prune or pinch off dead flower heads.
- Dead or damaged growth: Remove diseased or damaged parts.
Note: Use a clean, sharp knife or pair of scissors. Sterilize tools with rubbing alcohol before and after pruning.
Mature plants will produce flowers in the spring to early summer. The flowering period can last from 4 to 6 weeks.
- Provide adequate sunlight. Supplement indoor plants with a growing light.
- Water sparingly – overwatering can inhibit flowering.
- Apply a balanced, diluted fertilizer in early spring. Avoid high-nitrogen fertilizers which encourage foliage growth over flower production.
- Remove spent flower heads.
- Expose the plant to slightly cooler temperatures (50 °F to 70 °F) over the winter and at night.
Sedum Nussbaumerianum Propagation
Coppertone sedum propagates well by leaf, stem cuttings, and division. It is possible to grow from seed but it is less common. Propagate healthy plants in the early spring.
This succulent propagates easily from leaves.
- Select a large, healthy leaf.
- Gently pull the leaf away from the plant. Take care not to damage the leaf.
- Let the leaf dry and callous over for several days.
- Lay on a well-draining substrate and moisten lightly.
- Place in bright indirect light.
- Roots may develop in 2 to 4 weeks followed by plantlets in a further 4 weeks.
Stem cuttings are a good option for overgrown or leggy plants.
- Select a healthy stem.
- Cut a length 3 to 4 inches long using a clean, sharp knife or pair of scissors. Cut just below the leaf node and remove the lower leaves from the stem.
- Let the cutting dry for a few days.
- Plant the cut end around 1 inch deep into a well-draining, gritty substrate. Water lightly.
- Place in bright light but avoid direct sunlight. Roots should develop within 2 to 4 weeks.
Divide larger plants that have outgrown their container or garden bed. Divide container plants when repotting.
- Gently remove the entire plant from its container or garden bed. Take care not to damage the foliage or root system.
- Shake off excess soil.
- Identify natural divisions or clusters and gently separate. Use a sterilized, sharp knife if necessary. Ensure each divided section has its own root system and stems.
- Replant each divided section into a pot or directly in the ground. Water lightly.
- Protect from intense sun for a few weeks whilst the plants establish.
Repot every 2 to 3 years in early spring or once the plant shows signs of needing a larger container.
- Overcrowded roots.
- Overgrown stems and foliage.
- Compacted soil.
- Slow growth or loss of vigor.
Choose a slightly larger pot that has adequate drainage and plant with fresh substrate.
It is possible to grow Sedum nussbaumerianum outside all year round in USDA zones 9-11. Bring indoors in colder climates when temperatures drop below 30 °F. Water less frequently during the winter.
Note: This succulent doesn’t exhibit true dormancy, but may slow its growth during the colder months as well as extremely hot periods.
- Yellow leaves and mushy stems: Caused by overwatering. Let the soil dry completely. In severe cases, repot into a fresh, dry substrate. Remove any damaged foliage.
- Shrivelled leaves and wilting: Caused by underwatering. Check soil moisture before watering well.
- Bleached or browning leaves: Symptoms of sunburn. Provide shelter from intense sunlight using shade cloth or bring containers to a location that receives afternoon shade.
Coppertone sedum is generally resistant to most pests. It may be susceptible to mealybugs, aphids, and scale insects. Treat infestations with a mild insecticidal soap and control with neem oil. Ensure adequately low humidity levels to prevent infestations.
Like with many succulents, overwatering or excessive moisture can cause fungal problems such as root rot. Plant in a well-draining substrate and water only once the soil is dry. Avoid planting outdoors in heavy clay or in regions with high rainfall. Choose a pot with adequate drainage.