Caring For Jelly Bean Plants: How To Grow A Sedum Jelly Bean Plant
By: Becca Badgett, Co-author of How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden
Succulent growers love the sedum jelly bean plant (Sedum rubrotinctum). Colorful chubby, little red-tipped leaves that look like jelly beans make it a favorite. It is sometimes called pork-n-beans because the leaves sometimes turn bronze in summer. Whatever you call it, jelly bean sedums make for an unusual plant in an arrangement or in a pot by itself.
About Jelly Bean Sedums
Jelly bean plant facts indicate this plant is a cross of Sedum pachyphyllum and Sedum stahlii, As such, it’s another candidate for neglect and does best without too much attention.
Six- to eight-inch (15-20 cm.) stems grow upward and lean when leaves weigh it down. Small yellow flowers appear abundantly in winter to spring during the early years of growth.
Planting and Caring for Jelly Bean Plants
Grow the sedum jelly bean plant in containers or plant it in the ground. Those in areas with cold winters might grow it as an annual or dig up and transplant into pots in autumn. Sedum is easy to plant, in most cases burying a stem is all you need to get it started. Avoid watering for a week or two after planting.
Sedum jelly bean plant needs a sunny spot to maintain colorful leaves. Sedum varieties often grow in areas of the landscape where nothing else survives because of hot, dry conditions. You can also use the jellybean plant in partially shaded areas for a pop of color, just plant someplace where a few hours of the sun can reach the plant. In the hottest climates, this succulent needs some shade in summer. Jelly bean sedums turn green all over when not enough light reaches them.
Succulent jelly bean care involves limited watering. If rain is available to the plant, additional water is probably not needed. When possible, allow an extended dry period between waterings. Grow this specimen in fast-draining soil mixes, such as sand, perlite, or pumice mixed with peat and a limited amount of potting soil.
Pests are rare on jelly bean plant. Keep an eye for mealybugs and scale, and if you see them, remove with an alcohol-soaked Q-tip. Fungus gnats are usually a sign that the soil is too damp, so lighten up on watering.
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Sedum Rubrotinctum Aurora-Pink Jelly Beans Care, Propagation
If you love Sedum Rubrotinctum ‘Jelly Bean Plant’ then you would equally love Sedum Rubrotinctum ‘Aurora’ – commonly referred to as Pink Jelly Beans or Pink Pork and Beans. These are special plants that have exquisite color combinations and intricate features. They have plump, luscious jelly bean leaves in stunning shades of mauve-pink, cream and lime green.
According to Altman Plants, its given name ‘Aurora’ refers to the incredible light show seen around the magnetic poles of the northern and southern hemispheres, also known as the Aurora Borealis (Northern lights) and Aurora Australis (Southern lights).
Sedum Rubrotinctum ‘Aurora’ has a garden origin, meaning it has been cultivated from the wild and selectively bred to be grown in the garden. Wherever it came from and whatever name you choose to call it by, we can agree that these are exceptional succulent plants. I started with a small starter plant in a 2-3 inch pot that I have grown and spread in different pots and containers in my garden.
These plants sprawl out as they grow and can be grown in ground, in containers or even in hanging baskets. They produce bright clusters of yellow flowers.
How to Care for Jelly Bean Plants (Sedum Rubrotinctum):
These plants are kept outdoors all year and are usually ‘ignored’. I water sparingly in winter when it rains more here in Northern California and rely mostly on rainwater. I increase watering when the weather gets warmer and the rain stops.
Generally, I water every ten days during spring and summer months, or more during really hot days or during a heatwave. I give the plant a good drink and leave it alone until it dries out. I live in a very dry climate and watering is necessary. If you live in a humid climate, you might need to water less.
Observe the plant to see how it looks. If the little jelly bean leaves start to shrivel and get wrinkly and soft, then you need to water more. Feel the soil for moisture. If the top inch of the soil feels dry, then that’s usually a good indicator that the soil is dry and you can water again.
Some people use moisture meters to check for moisture, or another trick is to use a wooden bbq skewer stick to check for soil moisture. Just stick the skewer in the soil a few inches down. If the skewer comes up dry, then it is time to water. Refrain from watering if the skewer comes up wet.
Like with other succulent plants, I use a well draining potting mix. I usually use a cactus mix and add in some perlite. I don’t measure it out completely but about 1:1 mixture of cactus mix and perlite is fine. I have also used an all-purpose potting mix combined with perlite in the past.
These plants adapt to different lighting conditions very well. I have some in full sun and some in partial shade and they are all doing fine. The ones in full sun or receive the most sun exposure develop the best color variations.
I have a pot that is receiving direct afternoon sun and is kept outside all year round. The plant has beautiful reddish hues. When they turn red, they are actually showing signs of stress. But the plants are just fine.
I have some that do not receive as much sun and they have more greens than red in their color. If you want to see more color changes in your Jelly Bean plant, provide more light, but do it slowly to avoid burning the plant. The one I have in full sun still get occasional sunburn when the weather gets too hot.
I simply move it to a shadier spot to provide some relief from the intense heat. These plants are frost tolerant up to a certain temperature. I do not move mines indoors during frost, but we do not get extensive freezing temperatures here in Northern California and we usually get bright sunlight during the day, so the plants do fine outdoors even during frost.
I typically do not fertilize my Jelly Bean plant regularly. I usually start fertilizing after the plant has been in the same pot and potting mix for over a year and the plant doesn’t appear to be thriving as much. I refrain from fertilizing if I just repotted the plant in fresh potting soil. When I start fertilizing, I only fertilize from spring to early fall and I use ¼ to ½ the recommended strength or dosage of fertilizer.
Jelly Bean (Sedum rubrotinctum) (Clausen): A long-time favorite soft sedum from Mexico. This stemmed grower has round, fleshy leaves that spiral up its stem. It varies in color from green to red, with the brightest pigments showing when it's grown in bright sunlight. It makes a wonderfully colorful accent in potted arrangements.
Please Note: S. rubrontinctinum has naturally fragile leaves that can fall off readily, particularly in transit.
Jelly Bean is an excellent grower as long as it is not left in heavy, moist soil. It is exceptionally tolerant of full sun and drought, but it does need protection from frost. Fortunately, Jelly Bean can easily overwinter indoors if it is in a container with a drainage hole and has gritty, well-draining soil. Water deeply, but only when the soil is completely dry.
Over time, Jelly Bean will form prolific clumps and the stems will become long enough to gently cascade from containers. In spring, it produces clusters of tiny, yellow flowers that attract pollinators. This variety can drop leaves readily, but it is also one of the easiest to propagate. It will readily grow roots from both stem cuttings and leaves.
Frequently Asked Questions
Sedum pachyphyllum does not appear in the list of toxic plants for cats and dogs on the website of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
A few succulents from the Crassulaceae family have been found to be toxic to dogs and cats.
As a general precaution, it might be best to keep Jelly Beans away from your pets.
If your Sedum Pachyphyllum succulent is dying, there are 2 possible reasons for this: Overwatering and insufficient exposure to the sun.
If you see mushy brown spots that are moving up the plant, this means the roots are starting to rot because of overwatering.
Only water Jelly Beans if the soil is dry and free of moisture. In the wintertime, the soil will stay moist longer. Sedum pachyphyllum will not require less water in the winter compared to summer.
2. Insufficient Sun Exposure
If you notice that the leaves of Sedum pachyphyllum are starting to exhibit a pale yellowish-green hue, it is a sign that the succulent is deteriorating due to insufficient exposure to the sun.
To remedy the problem, move the plant to a location that receives more sunlight.
Sedum pachyphyllum produces flowers in the summer.
The flowers have yellow petals, spread widely, have a club-like shape, and can measure a length of 0.27-inches.