I love this garden thug.

I first learned of sedum sarmentosum last year. It crept into my garden from my neighbor’s yard. It didn’t seem like a weed, so I looked it up and learned it’s a perennial flowering succulent that is used as a ground cover. It reaches six inches in height and tiny yellow flowers emerge in July, changing the color to a lime hue. It’s drought tolerant, can handle full sun, and will grow just about anywhere, from a crack in the sidewalk to a a bit of sand. Because it spreads quickly, it was often used in cemeteries on the freshly overturned earth after a burial, which is why it is sometimes called graveyard moss! Other names include stringy stonecrop and gold moss stonecrop.

While some gardeners consider sedum sarmentosum a “garden thug” due to its encroaching tendency,  I love it and I’ll tell you why. If you’re on a budget, this is the perfect plant to cover large outdoor areas with poor soil quality.  It’s a wonderful alternative to grass. It looks nicer (to me) and requires less maintenance. It’s durable and can handle some foot traffic. It can also be trimmed. I used it around my garden path. It grew over the slate but I gave it a haircut with scissors. After the makeover it looked defined and sophisticated. It works well in hanging baskets too, cascading down and creating an organic feel to your arrangement.

I go out on guerrilla gardening missions from time to time and I’ve used sedum sarmentosum for brightening up unkempt tree pits or a median that’s filled with sand and broken glass as it grows anywhere.

sedum sarmentosum in the forground

Have I sold you on it yet? If not here’s the clincher. Sedum sarmentosum is edible! In China and Japan it’s used medicinally as a general gastric and renal regulator. It’s also known as an herbal estrogen supplement. In Korea, the plant is called dol namul and is used in kimchi. It is also eaten fresh, dressed with a spicy, sweet, and tangy sauce. Mix chili paste, lemon juice, sugar, minced garlic, sesame oil, and toasted sesame seeds together, for your sedum salad dressing.


You know what comes next… I gave it a taste.  The plant itself is mildly sweet and earthy. It’s juicy. Since its flavor is light, it would go well in any greens mix. And with a strong dressing such as the one I mentioned. I made a homemade Korean spicy sauce and tried the sedum again. The greens tasted delicious,  light and fresh! It had a great punch and zest to it. I’m going to make this throughout the summer for sure.

If your interested in using this plant in your garden or trying out its culinary appeal, email me at pdigioia[at]rockawave.com. I have so much to spare!

tagged in foraging, garden