Native to Mexico, Sedum nussbaumerianum, also known by its common names Coppertone Stonecrop, Nussbaumer’s Sedum, and Golden Sedum are low growing perennial with pretty rosettes. The leaves are plump and long, with colors ranging from light yellowish-green in the shade to coppery-orange in full sun. The stems tend to sprawl out and spill out of the pot when mature. They produce round clusters of white flowers that are lightly fragrant. These plants are drought and heat tolerant.
These plants are easy to grow and propagate. I am very fond of my Sedum nussbaumerianum. My very first succulent plant was a small pot of Sedum nussbaumerianum that I got on clearance. I still have the original plant up to now and have propagated from it over the years.
Sedum nussbaumerianum ‘Coppertone Stonecrop’ Care
Are They Indoor or Outdoor Plants?
Sedum nussbaumerianum ‘Coppertone Stonecrop’ can be grown both indoors and out. The most important thing for these plants is to provide them with a well draining potting mix and adequate sunlight. From my experience with these plants, they do really well outside exposed to the natural elements so if you must bring them indoors for the winter, give them some outdoor time during the warmer months and they would surely benefit from it.
USDA Hardiness Zones: Zone 9a-11b
Indoor Lighting Requirements
Place in a bright location indoors, anywhere where there is plenty of light. Try an east facing window. A south and west facing window may also work but you may need to move the plant around a few times to find the best spot. If the plant starts to suffer from lack of light, move to a brighter location. You would know by how the plant is growing. If it starts stretching out and become leggy, that means the plant is not getting enough light. This process is called etiolation. The plant is literally seeking more light. This produces weak and stunted growth.
To keep them really happy, they need approximately 4-6 hours of bright light per day. These plants will not tolerate poor lighting for prolonged periods of time. If your indoor space does not receive adequate lighting no matter where you move the plant, consider using a grow light. Grow lights can help supplement your plants’ lighting requirements especially during those long, dark winters. Here are some of my grow light recommendations.
To read more about this topic on indoor lighting for succulents, check out my post on “Proper Lighting for Succulents Indoors” to get some helpful tips.
Outdoor Sunlight Requirements
Light Shade to Full Sun. Sedum nussbaumerianum ‘Coppertone Stonecrop’ do best in areas that receive plenty of bright, partial sunlight. They can also tolerate full sun but needs to be acclimated to full sun in the beginning to prevent sunburn. They achieve their coppery-orange hue from increased sun exposure. The more intense the sun, the more the orange color comes out. Keep them under the shade and the plant will turn light green in color.
Before moving the plant outdoors or increasing the amount of sunlight it receives, it is better to acclimate the plant by gradually increasing the amount of sunlight it receives until it is fully acclimated to the more intense sun. You can start by giving it plenty of morning sunlight, which is less intense than afternoon sun. Keep in mind that even when the plant is already acclimated to full sun, it can still get sunburned during a heatwave or intense heat.
Sunshades are a real lifesaver for my plants during the intense summer heat here in Northern California where the temperatures can rise above 100℉ or 37.8℃. Here are some of my recommendations for sunshades and sun protection.
For further details and information on outdoor sunlight requirements, please visit my post “How Much Sunlight Do Succulents Need Outdoors?” to get some useful tidbits.
A stretched out or etiolated Sedum nussbaumerianum. I had this planter growing in the shade because of the Senecio Rowleyanus ‘String of Pearls’ behind it needing more shade. I noticed this Sedum nussbaumerianum stretching out from lack of sunlight. It has lost its orange-yellow color and has turned light green from being in the shade.
Sedum nussbaumerianum ‘Coppertone Stonecrop’ can tolerate mild frost and slightly freezing temperatures as long as they are not for long periods of time. If you live in USDA hardiness zones 9-11, you can get away with leaving the plant outdoors all year long. I have kept mine outdoors all year long, and they survive the freezing rain and frost we experience in winter time mainly because of all the bright sun we receive during the day. But there are days when I need to protect my plants from the sudden drop in temperature.
For those people in areas with extreme winter conditions, the best way to grow these plants is in containers. That way you can bring them indoors during winter or when there is forecast of frost or snow. In case you can’t bring your plants in, there are ways to protect them from frost and freezing temperatures outdoors. You can use frost cloths or mini greenhouses to help them survive the cold winter. Here are some of my recommendations for frost protection.
For further tips on this topic, check out my post on “Optimal Temperatures For Succulents to Survive and Thrive”.
Like any other succulent plant, Sedum nussbaumerianum ‘Coppertone Stonecrop’ needs a well draining soil. The right type of soil goes hand in hand with proper watering. I have been using a simple, tried and tested mixture that has worked well for my plants. I use a cactus potting mix combined with perlite for added drainage. I do not use exact measurements but eyeball it to about 2:1 solution of cactus mix and perlite (You can increase the perlite to 1:1 solution if you live in a humid location). You can also consider making a sandy soil, which adds more drainage to the mix. This can be achieved by mixing cactus mix or potting soil with coarse sand (about 2:1 ratio). Or you can use a combination of the three materials mentioned: Cactus mix, perlite, coarse sand (1:1:1).
I get most of my materials from a local hardware store. You can also purchase them online. Here are my soil recommendations. To read more about soil for succulents, click on “Best Soil and Fertilizer for Succulents” to get more useful information.
Watering largely depends on the climate you live in. Although these plants are highly adapted to dry weather conditions, they thrive when given sufficient amounts of water, but not too much. There really isn’t a set schedule or formula on when to water succulents. My watering schedule is dictated by the very dry climate I live in.
In the summer months, I water my Sedum nussbaumerianum ‘Coppertone Stonecrop’ as often as every 7-10 days. I cut back on watering to about every 10-14 days when the weather cools down during spring and fall seasons. During the winter season, I rely mostly on rainwater and hold back on watering altogether because this is when we get a lot of rain in my area. But if we don’t get any rain at all during winter then I water at least once a month or every 2-3 weeks, depending on how dry the soil gets.
For those people in humid locations, you won’t need to water as much. And if you keep your plants indoors, you may not have to water as much especially if they are not receiving a lot of light. Too much water and not enough light is a recipe for disaster for these plants.
One good way to tell whether it’s time to water is to check the moisture of the soil. The top inch of the soil needs to feel dry before you can water again. If you are unsure how much and how often to water in the beginning, it’s always better to underwater and increase watering as needed. Pay attention to how your plant looks and you can adjust watering accordingly.
For further help with watering techniques, consider using tools like hygrometers or moisture meters to check for moisture in the soil and air. These tools are pretty affordable and can come in handy especially if you are unsure of when to water your plant next. I have narrowed down the choices here on my resource page. Do visit the page if you need help in gauging your watering needs.
Interested in finding out more about watering succulents? Visit my post “How And When To Water Succulents” where I go into more details about this topic.
Propagating Sedum nussbaumerianum ‘Coppertone Stonecrop’
Sedum nussbaumerianum ‘Coppertone Stonecrop’ is one of the easiest succulents I have to propagate. The easiest way is through stem cuttings. They also easily propagate from leaf cuttings but I find stem cuttings faster and more fool proof. I have a much higher success rate with stem cuttings so I always opt for this method first.
How To Propagate Sedum nussbaumerianum ‘Coppertone Stonecrop’ from Stem Cuttings:
- Obtain a stem cutting and let it dry for a day or so. Let the cut ends dry and callous or seal. It is a good idea to obtain cuttings from healthy looking plants with plump leaves, not dehydrated ones or stressed plants.
- (Optional) Dip the cut end in rooting hormone. I usually skip this step but some people prefer using rooting hormones to speed up the process and also guarantee success.
- Once the cut has healed and dried, stick the cuttings in a well draining potting mix.
- Keep away from direct sunlight. Water the soil every few days or when it feels dry.
- After about two weeks or so, you will notice new roots growing.
- After about four to six weeks, the cuttings should be fully rooted and you will soon notice new growth developing from the top or the sides of the stem.
- Once fully rooted, cut back on the misting and switch to regular watering about once a week or less. Increase the amount of sunlight as the plant matures.
How To Propagate Sedum nussbaumerianum ‘Coppertone Stonecrop’ From Leaves:
- Gently pull a leaf out, make sure you get the entire leaf including the base. You should be able to gently twist the leaf off the plant and it should come off easily. Try to find a nice plump leaf that looks healthy. It also helps to have more than one leaf just because not all of them will make it all the way to the end.
- Optional: Dip the cut ends in rooting hormone. Rooting hormone can help speed the propagation process up, especially when growing from leaves.
- Wait for the leaves to dry for about a day or two. Keep in a dry location away from direct sunlight.
- Prepare a well draining potting mix. Once dry, lay the leaves flat on the soil or stick the cut ends in soil.
- The leaves should start shooting out roots in about 2 weeks or so. In a few more weeks you will notice a new baby plant emerging. The whole process can take anywhere from a few weeks to months.
As I mentioned above, it takes longer to propagate from leaves as opposed to an entire stem. Success rate is also higher with stem cuttings so do keep these in mind when propagating. If you follow these simple steps, you will be able to propagate these plants and have them growing everywhere in no time.
Here are some of the Sedum nussbaumerianums I have propagated from stem cuttings and planted in different planters.
Common Problems with Growing Sedum nussbaumerianum ‘Coppertone Stonecrop’
The most common cause of brown leaves is sunburn. This can often be from the more intense afternoon sun and during a heatwave. Simply move the plant to a shadier location to prevent sunburn when you expect the temperature to rise above normal. Sunburn spots on the leaves are permanent but does not really hurt the plant internally, as long as the problem is corrected. You can trim the brown, sunburned spots off or wait for new growth to develop.
Soft, Mushy Leaves
The most common reason for soft mushy leaves is overwatering. The plant will look unwell and the leaves will get soft and mushy and appear lighter or translucent. These are telltale signs that you are overwatering your plant. Cut back on watering and allow the plant to dry out and recover from too much water. Do not water until the plant has had a chance to dry out completely. If the soil is not drying out fast enough, consider switching to a fast draining one. Root rot can develop when left in wet soil. Once you notice rot, you can still save the plant by cutting off the dead parts of the plant. Save anything that looks green and viable to propagate and repot.
Remember, it is easier to ‘fix’ an underwatered plant than an overwatered one so when in doubt, err on the side of caution when watering especially if you are not familiar with the plant.
Yellow leaves on a Sedum nussbaumerianum ‘Coppertone Stonecrop’ plant is usually from cultivation problems. Most likely the soil is staying wet for far too long and not drying out fast enough. Make sure the plant is in the right potting mix that is well draining (see above for soil suggestions). Repot the plant if needed in a more suitable potting mix. Cut down on watering until the top inch of the soil is dry.
For more on this topic, check out my post where I describe the common causes and solutions for leaf discoloration in “Why Do Succulent Leaves Turn Brown, Yellow and Black?”.
Sedum nussbaumerianum ‘Coppertone Stonecrop’ Blooms
Sedum nussbaumerianum ‘Coppertone Stonecrop’ produces round clusters of white star-shaped flowers that are lightly fragrant. Whiles it’s always a treat to see my succulents bloom, keep in mind that not all plants are ready to flower, and some may not bloom at all. A lot of it depends on environmental factors beyond our control.
My Sedum nussbaumerianum ‘Coppertone Stonecrop’ getting ready to bloom for spring time.
Here are some tips on how to encourage Sedum nussbaumerianum ‘Coppertone Stonecrop to bloom:
Make sure the plant is mature enough. When a plant blooms it means it is ready to reproduce. If the plant is too young, it is simply not ready to reproduce and therefore will not bloom. Give the plant some time, usually if the plant is over 3 years old and beyond, it is mature enough to bloom.
Plenty of Light
Make sure the plants are receiving adequate sunlight throughout the year and are kept in a bright location, even during colder winter months.
To encourage flowering, provide proper temperatures. They need a distinct difference in night and day temperatures as well as summer and winter months. Succulents favor cooler outdoor nighttime temperatures of 50-55⁰F (10-13⁰C) or indoor night temperatures of at least 60-65⁰F(15-18⁰C). Especially when kept in a controlled environment, succulents prefer a marked difference between their night and day temperatures to mimic their natural habitat, with the cool night temperatures having an integral part in the plant’s growth cycle.
Overwintering is also important if you want to see your succulents bloom. This can be achieved by keeping them cool and relatively dry in the winter months, especially desert cacti. Keep them cool during winter months with temperatures just above freezing, between 35-44⁰F (1.5-7⁰C). If kept indoors during winter, have them in a non-heated room if possible or keep the temperatures low to provide them the cold winter period that they need.
Feed or Fertilize
While fertilizing is not necessary, giving your plants the nutrients they need will help ensure proper growth and encourage blooms. It takes a lot of energy for plants to produce flowers, and feeding them extra nutrients will help supplement their needs during flowering season. The most common recommendation is to fertilize during the active growing season, or during spring and summer months. Fertilizers are better applied at a quarter or half strength, about every two weeks. Refrain from fertilizing towards the end of fall season and during winter months. A balanced blend of fertilizer diluted to half strength is suitable and commonly used. Fertilizer blends specially formulated for cacti and succulents are also suitable.
Sedum nussbaumerianum ‘Coppertone Stonecrop’ are easy going, low-maintenance plants that are great as starter plants. They will last you for years and years to come. They propagate easily even on their own and will produce plenty of baby plants. These plants hold a special place in my heart because they paved the way for my continued
obsession love for succulents to this day.
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