How Much Sun Does Stonecrop Need? (Sedum Sun Requirements)

Stonecrop is a plant that is as tough as … well, stone! It can tolerate drought and survive some serious heat, too. That still leaves the question of light, though.

So, how much sun does stonecrop need? Stonecrop grows best in full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight per day). Under these conditions, stonecrop flowers look great, and the plant is less likely to fall over. Stonecrop does ok in partial shade (2 to 6 hours of direct sunlight), but it might get leggy and fall over in low light.

Now, some stonecrop varieties can handle partial shade a little better than others. It’s important to remember that most stonecrop varieties will do poorly in full shade – if they survive at all.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how much sun stonecrop needs and what might happen without enough light. We’ll also talk about some ways you can ensure enough light for your stonecrop, whether growing indoors or outdoors.

Let’s get started.

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How Much Sun Does Stonecrop Need? (Sun For Sedum)

Ideally, stonecrop needs full sun, which means 6 or more hours of direct sunlight per day. This direct sunlight can be in the morning, afternoon, or some combination.

stonecrop yellow flowers
Stonecrop needs full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight per day) to show off flowers at their best.

Stonecrop can thrive in the sunniest and driest locations, where other perennials might not even survive. So, don’t be afraid to put them in bright spots in your garden that don’t get any shade.

The taller hybrid stonecrop varieties (such as Autumn Joy) will need full sun to produce the best possible showing of flowers. Full sunlight also keeps them from growing leggy (tall and thin) and falling over.

stonecrop autumn joy
Autumn Joy stonecrop is a tall hybrid that needs full sun to keep it from growing leggy.

According to Kansas State University, afternoon sun is hotter and more intense than morning sun. Stonecrop tolerates heat and does best with more sunlight, so if you have a choice, opt for more afternoon sun to keep this plant happy.

Keep in mind that most stonecrop varieties will grow poorly in full shade. Even if they do survive, they will not thrive.

According to “Ask Extension”, a lack of light can prevent stonecrop from establishing itself after planting.

sedum adolphii stonecrop
Stonecrop needs light after planting to establish itself properly.

Providing light to stonecrop is sometimes easier said than done. They are not very tall (typically growing to a height of 6 to 24 inches; rarely up to 36 inches), so they are easily overshadowed by taller plants.

Since stonecrop cannot compete with taller plants for sunlight, give them a place where they don’t have to fight it out. For example, put them in a garden patch dedicated to short-growing ground cover plants.

Can Stonecrop Grow In Part Sun (Partial Shade)?

Stonecrop can grow in partial shade. In fact, partial shade may actually be preferable for them in some places (such as South Florida).

stonecrop red flowers
Stonecrop can grow in partial shade, but the flowers will be best in full sun.

However, stonecrop in partial shade may not thrive as it would in full sun. Even more disappointing, its flowers may not live up to their full potential without enough light.

There are actually two basic forms of stonecrop, which affects shade tolerance:

  • Creeping stonecrop – true to their name, these stonecrops creep along the ground. They stay low and spread out in all directions. They tend to handle shade well. They are good as part of a rock garden, since they tolerate drought and need good drainage. The flowers cover the ground like a carpet.
  • Clumping stonecrop – these ones are taller, growing to a height of 1 to 3 feet. The flowers are set above the leaves. They don’t handle shade as well, and they tend to get leggy (tall without as many leaves) and “flop over” without enough sun. They grow this way to try and get their leaves into a position where they can get more sunlight.
Sedum hispanicum
Creeping stonecrop stays low and spreads out over the ground; clumping stonecrop grows a bit taller.

Clumping stonecrop may also flop over if they get too much nitrogen – or if the plant gets too old. To solve this problem, pinch them back in the spring to encourage thicker stems that are less likely to fall over.

If you can, prune away some tree branches to give stonecrop more natural sunlight. Otherwise, you can try to transplant the plant to an area that gets more sunlight.

You can also divide your stonecrop and move one part to an area with brighter, longer-lasting sunlight.

stonecrop sedum
If your stonecrop isn’t getting enough light, consider transplanting or dividing to move it into a brighter spot.

In cool climates (zone 5 or colder), try to give your stonecrop more sun. This will improve its ability to survive the winter.

(By the way: you can learn more about stonecrop cold tolerance here).

When growing stonecrop indoors as a houseplant, give it bright direct light (from a window or a grow light).

Can Stonecrop Grow In Shade (Full Shade)?

Stonecrop might survive shade, but it won’t grow well or thrive. Its flowers will also lack the splendor that they could achieve in full sunlight.

If you can’t find an area with at least partial sun, it is probably best to skip stonecrop and find something more shade tolerant. (On that note, you can find 10 great flowering ground cover plants for shady areas in this article).

sunlight through trees
If there is too much shade for stonecrop, you can still find other flowering ground covers that will thrive.

Why Is My Stonecrop Not Blooming?

Often, stonecrop will not bloom if it does not get enough sun. If you planted it in the spring and checked the area for sun, check again in the summer.

(Too much water can also prevent blooming in stonecrop – so check this possibility!)

sedum mexicanium
Sedum will not bloom if it doesn’t get enough sun (too much water can also cause lack of flowers).

After deciduous trees grow back their leaves in summer, they might shade out an area that looked bright in the spring. Also, your trees may have gotten a lot taller (with wider branches) compared to last year, which could shade your stonecrop too.

Pick a sunny day and keep checking the area where your stonecrop is planted. If it looks like it is shady most of the day, then that is likely the source of the problem.

If you know shade is the problem, you can try to transplant the stonecrop to a sunnier area. Or, you can divide it and transplant part of it to a brighter spot.

Why Does Sedum Fall Over?

Sedum will sometimes fall over due to a lack of sunlight. It can also happen due to old age, or if the plant gets too much nitrogen.

sedum stonecrop
Sedum will sometimes fall over due to a lack of sunlight (or it could be old age, or too much nitrogen in the soil).

If you think the problem is lack of sunlight, then try to prune back plants that are shading your sedum (like trees). If the problem is old age, you might need to get some new sedum to replace the old ones.

You will probably need a soil test to determine if there is too much nitrogen in the soil for your sedum. Still, too much shade (lack of sunlight) is probably the most likely cause of “floppy” sedum that falls over.

Remember that stonecrop enjoys sandy soil, since it drains well and is not heavy in nitrogen.


Now you know how much sunlight stonecrop needs (ideally, full sun!) and how to make sure your plant gets enough.

You can learn about 10 good choices for sedum here if you want a creeping ground cover stonecrop.

You can also learn about 10 good choices for upright stonecrop if you want a taller succulent.

I hope you found this article helpful.  If so, please share it with someone who can use the information.

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Jon M

Hi, I'm Jon. Let's solve your gardening problems, spend more time growing, and get the best harvest every year!

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