How To Grow Woodland Stonecrop (Sedum ternatum) In Your Garden

The Sedum plant genus is a broad classification of flowering plants that can be found on every continent. It is known for its delightful variety in colors, heights, and forms.

Familiarly known as "stonecrop" among gardening enthusiasts, Sedum is a robust, drought-tolerant succulent with fleshy, thick leaves that can vary significantly in color.

Among its myriad varieties, Sedum ternatum (Woodland Stonecrop, Three-leaved Stonecrop) stands out. This low-growing variety sports small star-shaped blooms that flourish late in the season.

Sedum Ternatum plant
Sedum Ternatum photograph by Fritz Flohr Reynolds; CC.

Sedum ternatum spreads out, making it an excellent choice for ground cover. It's perfectly at home in crowded flowerbed borders and performs equally well as a potted plant.

With its attractive foliage and small, appealing flowers, Sedum ternatum shines throughout the growing season, making it ideal for mass plantings, edging, and container growing.

How to Grow Sedum Ternatum

Sedum ternatum produces long-lasting cut flowers that lure pollinators such as bees and butterflies into the garden.

One of the major attractions of this plant is its low maintenance requirements. Plant it in a sunny spot with well-drained soil, and you can mostly sit back and watch it thrive.

While Sedum ternatum is a hardy plant, excessively dry conditions may cause it to become leggy.

Pruning the plants after the blooming period is a good practice to maintain their shape and promote sturdier, bushier growth.

Woodland stonecrop flowers
Woodland stonecrop image by Doug McGrady; CC.

Sunlight and Soil Preferences

Sedum ternatum flourishes in full sunlight but can tolerate partial sunlight. For the best results and optimal flowering, aim to provide at least six to eight hours of morning sunlight daily.

Insufficient sunlight may lead to diminished blooming during the growing season.

In hot, dry conditions, Sedum ternatum appreciates some afternoon shade. Ideally, these plants prefer loamy soils with good drainage to avoid 'wet feet,' which can lead to root rot in waterlogged soils.

During the growing season, water once a week to maintain soil moisture.

Sedum ternatum's drought-resistant characteristics are amplified once the plant is well-established. It can survive without watering in rainy locations thanks to its thick, succulent leaves.

While it tolerates various temperature conditions, keep in mind that high heat and a lack of water can result in scorched leaves.

Fertilizing and Amending Poor Soils

Generally, Sedum ternatum does not require additional fertilization during the growing season and can handle soils with low nutrient content.

However, in poor soils, the plant may become leggy and weak. In such cases, adding organic amendments like compost can provide the necessary nutrients to promote growth.

Sedum ternatum is a versatile, robust plant that's easy to care for and brings much-needed greenery and beauty to various garden settings. With its minimal maintenance requirements and striking appearance, it makes a worthy addition to any garden.

Quick Sedum ternatum Growing and Care Guide

Scientific Name: Sedum ternatum

Common Name(s): Woodland Stonecrop, Three-leaved Stonecrop, Iceland Moss

Growing Zone (USA / UK Hardiness): USDA Zones: 4-8 RHS Hardiness Rating: H5 (hardy to -15°C)

Best Used For / Garden Location: Groundcover, rock gardens, woodland gardens, and shady borders.

Plant Details

Life Cycle / Plant Type: Perennial

Plant Height: 3-6 inches (7.5-15 centimeters)

Plant Spread: 6-9 inches (15-22.5 centimeters)

Blooms: Late spring to early summer

Flower Details: Small, star-shaped, white flowers

Leaf Foliage: Green, succulent, whorled leaves

Fruit: N/A

Growing Conditions and Location

Best Light Conditions: Partial to full shade

Suitable Soil Types: Moist, well-drained, sandy or loamy soil

Sowing / planting: Plant young plants in spring or fall.

Germination time: N/A, propagated from cuttings or divisions.

Propagation: By division or stem cuttings in spring or early summer.

Plant Care: Prefers moist conditions; water regularly.

Growing in pots and containers: Suitable for containers; ensure good drainage.

Growing as a House plant: Not typically grown as a houseplant.

Further Information

Miscellaneous: Attracts butterflies and beneficial insects.

Pests and diseases: Generally pest-free.

Common Cultivars / Varieties: There are no specific cultivars of Sedum ternatum, but other popular Sedums include Sedum acre and Sedum reflexum.

Family: Crassulaceae, the Stonecrop family.

Native: Eastern North America.

References and Further Reading: Royal Horticultural Society; Missouri Botanical Garden – Sedum ternatum; University of Florida IFAS Extension – Stonecrop.

Common Questions

Does Sedum Ternatum make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Sedum Ternatum, or Woodland Stonecrop, is an excellent choice for gardens or landscaping due to its low maintenance nature and attractive, succulent foliage. It makes a good ground cover, particularly for shady areas.

Is Sedum Ternatum a fragrant plant?

Sedum is not known for its fragrance. Woodland Stonecrop's appeal is more in its attractive foliage and easy-care nature.

What is the perfect location to grow Sedum Ternatum?

Sedum Ternatum prefers a location in partial to full shade with well-drained soil. It can tolerate a range of soil conditions, including dry and rocky sites.

Is Sedum Ternatum invasive?

Sedum Ternatum is not considered invasive in the USA. It spreads slowly and is typically well-behaved in the garden.

How do I remove Sedum Ternatum from my garden?

To remove Woodland Stonecrop, pull up the plants, ensuring to remove as many roots as possible. Dispose of the plant material so that it can't reestablish.


Wild Stonecrop is a low-growing succulent with delicate white flowers. Plant in well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade. Water sparingly, allowing the soil to dry out between watering.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading this guide on how to grow Sedum ternatum. You may also enjoy the following growing guides: How to grow Goldmoss stonecrop, Two-row Stonecrop, Saxifraga, and Sempervivum plants in the garden.

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