Another Excellent Native Plant for Shade

Another Excellent Native Plant for Shade

 Sedum ternatum is the Chicago area’s only native sedum, and unlike the sun-loving, non-native Eurasian sedum, it thrives in shade.   It is found mostly in limestone bluffs, but in my experience, it grows well in any dry shade situation.

I first discovered it at The Natural Garden and bought 2 clumps to plant within the cracks of my flagstone patio.

Beautiful, but not long-lasting in this situation.

It migrated to other shady areas around my patio where it has been rather obscure.    It will even grow and bloom under the total shade of other plants!

I used it along a stone edging in a shady area at a client’s –it’s turned out well in this  limestone-edged garden.  This is May of 2010.


Last year–2012.  Note how nicely it filled in and the profusion of bloom.

I then gave some to my daughter to plant on a shady northeast hill along the side of her house and look at the results! 


Sedum ternatum up close.  Lime green, shiny, succulent leaves define this creeping perennial.  The starlike flowers bloom in May and June.


Companions found in nature are Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadenses) and Bulblet or Bladder Fern (Cystopteris bulbifera).  Interesting litle fern–translucent bulbs form on the underside of the small, lacy fronds, which drop off and create new ferns.  I used to grow it amongst the flagstone in my patio, but it disappeared after a few years.  Worth seeking out.



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