In 2002, Sedum ‘Purple Emperor’ was awarded the Outstanding Perennial Plant Award from the International Hardy Plant Union, an achievement that is easy to believe.
This is one of the stateliest of the taller Sedum telephium varieties, with deepest purple stems, and stiff leaves arranged in steps up the stem.
The blooms are the typical arrangement of broccoli like buds, opening into a cluster of dark mahogany flowers. Unfortunately, they're not long lived, but the bees and butterflies in the xeric garden will flock to the landing pad formed by the opening blooms.
Sedum varieties of all kinds are amongst the best plants for bees, with constantly opening blooms in sequence for many weeks, and Sedum Purple Emperor is no exception.
The nectar is ambrosia for many wild bees, bumblebees and other pollinators.
Throughout late July and into September, the blooms of Purple Emperor Sedum combine with xeric garden plants such as Rudbeckia and its golden daisy flowers accented with the dark brown eye, other stonecrops such as Sedum Brilliant with its bright pink flowers and pale celadon blue foliage, Autumn Joy Sedum and the contrasting salmon pink blooms.
Some of my favorite combinations are Sedum Purple Emperor with the brightly contrasting Achillea ‘Moonlight’ with its lemon blooms and grey finely cut foliage, offset by some of the spiky Sempervivum tectorum planted at their base.
Purple Emperor Sedum is one of the very best red sedum, and planted at the back of smaller selections it forms a lovely dark backdrop. Somber, yet majestic, it’s a backbone plant in my garden.