Sedum tetractinum (Chinese Stonecrop)

Sedum tetractinum (Chinese Stonecrop) with flowers on 4-15-12, #86-71.

Chinese Stonecrop, Chinese Sedum, Fish-Scale Sedum

Sedum tetractinum

SEE-dum   te-TRAK-tee-num

Sedum tetractinum Fröd. is the accepted scientific name for this species of Stonecrop. It was named and described by Harald August Fröderström in Acta Horti Gothoburgensis in 1931.

The genus, Sedum L., was named and described as such by Carl von Linnaeus in the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.

As of 12-19-22 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 464 accepted species of Sedum. It is a member of the plant family Crassulaceae with 36 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made on POWO.


Sedum tetractinum in the west bed at the mansion in Mississippi on 6-2-12, #97-47.

A good friend a fellow plant collector, Walley Morse, gave me this nice Sedum tetractinum in the spring of 2012 while I was living at the mansion in Leland, Mississippi. I really liked its thick, round leaves. This Sedum tetractinum could be the cultivar ‘Coral Reef’, but I am not sure.

I planted it in the bed on the west side of the front porch where one of the Colocasia esculenta had been… That’s why the Colocasia came up in the Sedum.

Sedum tetractinum at 2″ tall x 24″ wide on 7-2-12, #106-25.

The Sedum tetractinum did very well and spread to 24″ wide by the time the above photo was taken on July 2, 2012.

Sedum tetractinum is a groundcover-type Sedum that spreads by runners that take root at the leaf nodes. The round leaves gave way for one of its common names, Fish-Scale Sedum. The green leaves turn a burgundy color in the fall but I have no photos to show that.


The Sedum tetractinum in a pot ready for a trip on 2-17-13, #139-61.

I sold the mansion to a group who were going to renovate it and turn it in to the Thompson House Bed and Breakfast. Dad asked me to move back to the family farm in mid-Missouri so I put the Sedum tetractinum in a pot so I could bring it with me. I gave up around 200 pots of plants, but I quite a few with me.

Sedum tetractinum on 5-14-13, #148-22.

As soon as temperatures permitted, I planted some of the Sedum tetractinum on each side of the gutter in the bed on the southwest corner of the house.

Sedum tetractinum on 6-1-13, #151-67. 

Family: Crassulaceae.
Origin: China.
Zones: USDA Zones 5a-11b (-20 to 40° F).*
Size: Around 1/4-1/2” tall.
Light: Sun to part shade
Soil: Well-drained.
Water: Average water needs. 

*Many websites have different cold hardiness zones. Dave’s Garden says 4a-11 (-30 to 40° F). Maybe with mulch… Even in zone 6 you might want to give them protection.

Sedum tetractinum on 6-29-13, #159-16.

Sedum are very good plants to grow but need well-draining soil. They do like regular watering during the growing season but are also very drought tolerant. In my experience, I have done much better with them in a raised bed so their roots will drain much better. This area on the south side of the house drains pretty well and I didn’t realize there could be a problem… Not much experience here at the time. The problem was the drainage during the winter months. Even though there is kind of a slope past the bed, I planted this Sedum behind rocks and the soil level was not elevated. So, the drainage apparently was not adequate.

Sedum tetractinum on 8-23-13, #178-87.

The Sedum tetractinum did not flower during 2013. As you can tell in the first photo at the top of the page, they produce yellow flowers. Strangely, the Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder says they produce white to pale pink flowers. So, why did mine have yellow flowers in 2012? Well, maybe this isn’t Sedum tetractinum after all. As if I haven’t had that happen before. 🙂 Well, there are photos online with yellow and white flowers.

Sedum tetractinum on 9-6-13, #184-8.

I was very happy with the performance of this Sedum and how well it spread. The clump in the above photo is on the right side of the gutter in the south bed…

Sedum tetractinum on 9-30-13, #192-13.

This photo is the clump on the left side of the gutter.

Sedum tetractinum on 6-1-14, #228-74.

Although this Sedum overwintered during the winter of 2013-2014, it did not survive the next one. So, that was the end of my Sedum tetractinum. Maybe someday I will try it again.

I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant.


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