10 Top Succulent Plants for the Midwest
Succulents are easy to grow, stingy with water and rich in texture and shape. Here are 10 of our top choices for sedums and other succulents that thrive in the Midwest.
The Sempervivum hens-and-chicks are a group of succulents that grow in low, rosette-forming colonies, typically not reaching more than 6 inches tall. With their wide range of colors and textures—some develop long, white hairs that resemble cobwebs—they're perfect for a rock garden or in containers. Their common name comes from the way these succulents spread, with new growth (chicks) forming from the mother rosette (hen). Plant in full sun and well-drained soil. Zones 3-8.
Related: So-Easy Succulent Container Gardens
Sedum 'Autumn Joy'
With its masses of flowers and light gray-green foliage, 'Autumn Joy' is familiar to many Midwest gardeners. By mid-summer, it produces green broccoli-like buds, which open into large pink flower heads that deepen to rusty red by fall. 'Autumn Joy' grows up to 24 inches tall and likes full sun and well-drained soil. Zones 3-9.
With its large pads and showy flowers, this low-growing variety of prickly pear cactus is great for rock gardens, stone walls and other focal points. It also thrives in dry prairie areas. In late spring and summer, look for gorgeous yellow flowers. The plant grows up to 12 inches tall and likes full sun. Zones 4-9.
Sedum Spectabile 'Meteor'
'Meteor' has large pink long-lasting flowers atop blue-green foliage. While it grows in well-drained soil, it can tolerate clay. It's also tolerant of heat and drought once established. It can grow up to 18 inches tall and attracts butterflies. Zones 4-9.
Related: Want to Attract Pollinators to Your Garden? Here's What to Plant for Gorgeous Color (and Visitors)
Sedum 'Frosty Morn'
'Frosty Morn' has beautiful grayish green leaves with creamy white stripes on the edges. Tiny pink flowers sprout in cooler climates, while white blossoms develop in warmer areas. Pinch back stems once in early summer to prevent floppiness. 'Frosty Morn' grows up to 12 inches tall, and like most succulents, does best in full sun and well-drained soil. Zones 3-9.
At just 2 inches tall, this is one of the lowest-growing sedums. In summer, the fast-growing groundcover bears a mass of bright yellow-green blossoms. It can tolerate hot, dry sites and poor soil. For an even shorter variety, 'Minor' is just 1 inch tall. Zones 4-9.
Sedum 'Purple Emperor'
This newer selection of Sedum offers dark purple, almost black foliage, crowned by pink-purple flowers on a plant that can reach about 15 inches in height. It has a long bloom season, generally from mid-summer to early fall. 'Purple Emperor' attracts butterflies and is drought-tolerant. For a distinctive look, pair it with a brightly colored foliage plant. Zones 3-7.
Technically, yucca isn't a succulent, but this strappy plant looks like a succulent and provides an interesting contrast when combined with traditional succulents. Also called Adam's needle, yucca forms a tight rosette of large, leathery leaves that can be green or variegated. A tall flowering stalk rises from the center of each rosette and bears creamy white flowers in late summer. Foliage rises up to 3 feet; the flower stalk may grow to 8 feet. This plant likes full sun but tolerates poor, sandy soils, heat and drought. Zones 5-10.
Sedum 'Vera Jameson'
The medium-height 'Vera Jameson' boasts an attractive combination of dusky pink blooms and mahogany-purple leaves. It attracts bees and butterflies with its late-summer flowers. Grows best in full sun and likes sandy to gravelly soils. Zones 3-9.
Sedum Spurium 'Fuldaglut'
'Fuldaglut' is a low-growing, mat-forming sedum that can be used as a groundcover. Plants are only a few inches tall but spread as wide as 18 inches. In late summer, the leaves deepen to a maroon-bronze color, creating an interesting contrast with its rose-red blossoms. Tolerates poor soils and drought, but needs good drainage. Zones 4-8.