Plant Taxonomy of Chocolate Drop Stonecrop
Plant taxonomy classifies Chocolate Drop stonecrop as Sedum 'Chocolate Drop'. 'Chocolate Drop' is the cultivar name. Although technically, "stonecrop" is used in the plant's common name, the botanical genus name Sedum effectively doubles as an alternate common name (when I employ it as such, I use lower case), being highly recognizable among even just moderately earnest gardeners.
"Succulent" is a term with a wide application. It not only includes the various types of stonecrops but also such plants as:
To view examples of succulents, see my pictures of cacti and succulents.
Succulents can store water in their foliage and stems, which is why they tend to resist drought so effectively. The water content in their leaves and stems helps account for their feeling "fleshy."
The word, "succulent" is also used, of course, in the world of cuisine, where it means "juicy." The overlap between this usage and the way the term is used in the plant world should be apparent: both refer to moisture content.
This succulent with the sweet-sounding name puts out flowerheads of pink flowers for me in zone 5 in July. But growing Chocolate Drop sedum is not really about the blossoms. It derives its colorful cultivar name from its best feature, which is its leaves.
The plant grows in a clump, which comprises multiple stems of a reddish-purple color. My second-year plant currently has 13 such items; as the clump expands, that number will increase. Leaves of a dull purple color (some green is mixed in, too, if you look up-close) encircle the stems. From a distance, what you basically see is a dark plant: that's the operative word here.
Chocolate Drop sedum grows to about one foot in height; at maturity, its spread may be twice that.
Planting Zones for Chocolate Drop Sedum
Sun and Soil Requirements for Chocolate Drop Sedum
Grow this dark-colored succulent in full sun to partial shade. The plants grow best in a sandy loam soil that is well-drained and poor-to-average infertility.
Uses in Landscaping
Those of you familiar with succulents will not be surprised to learn that this plant is a "poster child" for rock gardens. It also makes a fine edging plant; with its dark color, it would set off a stone walkway comprised of light-colored stones very nicely. These heat-resistant perennials give you an attractive option for those sun-pounded spots in the yard where only full-sun plants will work.
Wildlife Drawn -- and Not Drawn -- to the Plant
Chocolate Drop sedum is among the plants that attract butterflies. But with all the rabbit damage to plants that I've endured, I'm just as interested in what critters do not care for it. I learned that rabbits tend not to eat it, so that was music to my ears. Furthermore, it is a deer-resistant perennial.
Outstanding Features of Chocolate Drop Stonecrop
With its chocolaty leaves, this plant gives you a lot of choices for playing with colors. It contrasts effectively with Angelina sedum on two levels, color-wise:
- With the yellow flowers of Angelina
- And with Angelina's chartreuse leaves
But in addition, there's a nice contrast between the two stonecrops in terms of texture, Angelina's leaves exhibiting a fine texture by comparison.
I enjoy this dark-colored succulent most before it blooms. The flower-heads of mid-summer tend to weigh the stems down (at least in the soil in which I'm growing mine), meaning I would have to stake the plants to preserve the tidy appearance they displayed earlier in the summer.
Other types of stonecrops include:
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