How to Grow and Care for Jelly Beans Plant (Sedum rubrotinctum) Indoors
Updated: 04 Oct, 2023
Jelly bean succulents, scientifically known as Sedum rubrotinctum, are charming evergreen perennials hailing from the heart of Mexico. Their endearing monikers, “pork and beans” or “banana cactus,” highlight their distinctive appearance. Belonging to the Crassulaceae family, within the Sedum genus, these succulents grace arrangements with their unique allure, but are equally striking when cultivated individually. Their mature forms, with a sprawling growth pattern, even serve as splendid ground cover.
These darling succulents are a delightful hybrid of Sedum pachyphyllum and Sedum stahlii, characterized by plump leaves that take on a vibrant red or bronze hue in sun-drenched, hot climates. They thrive both as indoor houseplants and in outdoor settings, particularly in warmer regions falling under USDA Zones 9 through 11. For those residing in colder climates, container gardening during the summer months followed by indoor wintering ensures their prosperity.
Much like their succulent counterparts, jelly bean succulents are remarkably undemanding, flourishing with minimal care. This makes them an ideal choice for both novices and occasionally forgetful gardeners, offering a touch of natural elegance with ease.
What are Jelly Bean Succulents?
Jelly Bean Succulents, scientifically known as Sedum rubrotinctum, are charming perennial succulents native to Mexico. They are also popularly known by other names such as “pork and beans” or “banana cactus” due to their distinctive appearance. Belonging to the Sedum genus in the Crassulaceae family, these succulents are characterized by their small, chubby leaves that resemble jelly beans, especially when they turn bright red or bronze in hot, sunny conditions.
These plants are favored for their ornamental value and versatility. They make lovely additions to succulent arrangements and can also thrive when grown independently. Due to their sprawling growth habit, mature jelly bean succulents can serve as attractive ground cover.
Jelly Bean Succulents are the result of a hybridization between Sedum pachyphyllum and Sedum stahlii, which contributes to their unique characteristics. They can be grown both indoors as houseplants and outdoors in warmer climates, typically falling within USDA Zones 9 through 11. For those in colder climates, container gardening during the summer and bringing them indoors for the winter can ensure their well-being.
|Jelly bean succulent, jelly bean plant, pork and beans, Christmas cheer, banana cactus
|6 to 12 inches tall
|Toxic to pets and humans
Jelly Bean Succulent Care
Jelly bean succulents make excellent choices for beginners due to their resilience to neglect. They can endure extended periods of drought, sparing you the need for frequent watering or re-potting. Furthermore, propagation is a breeze with these hardy plants.
To ensure their flourishing, provide ample sunlight, but be cautious of overwatering, as they have a low tolerance for excess moisture. Optimal placement involves a sunny, warm spot, and infrequent watering will keep this charming succulent thriving and content.
For jelly bean succulents to thrive, they need plenty of bright, direct sunlight. Under full sun conditions, the leaf tips may take on red or orange hues due to heat stress. If the plant appears entirely green or exhibits elongated, leggy growth, it’s a sign that it requires more sunlight and should be relocated to a brighter spot. In extremely hot climates, providing a couple of hours of shade can be beneficial.
When grown indoors, the plant is unlikely to develop red hues unless it’s positioned directly under a grow light. Nonetheless, ensure that the chosen location receives a minimum of six hours of full sun, such as a west- or south-facing window.
Jelly bean succulents are adaptable to a variety of well-draining soils. They are not fans of excessive moisture and are highly susceptible to root rot. Optimal soils for these plants are typically rich in inorganic components like perlite and pumice, and low in organic matter such as peat and coco coir.
Thriving on minimal water, jelly bean succulents are accustomed to prolonged periods of drought interspersed with short bursts of moisture. When grown indoors, allow the soil to thoroughly dry out between waterings. Before watering, wait until the succulent’s plump leaves take on a slightly “puckered” appearance to ensure it’s thirsty. If grown outdoors, supplemental watering is often unnecessary, as natural rainfall should suffice.
Temperature and Humidity:
These desert-dwelling succulents thrive in hot, arid conditions and struggle in overly humid environments. They do not tolerate frost, so ensure temperatures do not drop below 20 degrees Fahrenheit (-6.7 degrees Celsius) if they are grown outdoors.
These succulents are easy to propagate. Simply remove a healthy leaf or a small rosette and allow it to callus over for a day or two. Plant it in well-draining soil, and it should root and grow.
Regular fertilization is not necessary for jelly bean succulents, as they thrive in nutrient-poor conditions. While applying an all-purpose cactus and succulent fertilizer in early to mid-spring can support healthy growth throughout the season, it’s not a requirement. Exercise caution, as over-fertilizing can lead to root burn or discolored leaves. Apply sparingly.
Suggested Sedum Rubrotinctum Uses
Sedum Rubrotinctum, commonly known as jelly bean succulents, offer a versatile array of uses in gardening and landscaping. Here are some suggested applications:
Planting Sedum Rubrotinctum in containers, pots, or hanging baskets can create visually appealing arrangements. Their unique appearance adds interest to any indoor or outdoor space.
Incorporate them into succulent gardens or rockeries alongside other low-maintenance succulent varieties. Their vibrant color and compact growth habit make them an excellent choice for succulent arrangements.
Due to their spreading nature, mature jelly bean succulents can serve as a ground cover in areas with well-draining soil. This helps control erosion and adds a striking texture to the landscape.
Given their drought tolerance, jelly bean succulents are ideal for xeriscaping projects. They require minimal watering, making them an eco-friendly choice for water-conscious gardeners.
Living Wall or Vertical Garden:
These succulents can be incorporated into vertical gardens or living walls, creating a stunning visual display on vertical surfaces.
Their whimsical appearance and small size make them a popular choice for miniature or fairy gardens. They add a touch of charm and character to these enchanting creations.
Jelly bean succulents thrive as indoor plants in well-lit areas. They’re an excellent choice for windowsills, shelves, or as part of a succulent centerpiece.
In regions with limited water resources, planting Sedum Rubrotinctum as part of a drought-tolerant landscape design can help conserve water while maintaining visual appeal.
Due to their shallow root systems and drought tolerance, jelly bean succulents can be used to stabilize slopes or embankments, preventing soil erosion.
Their small size and low maintenance requirements make them an excellent choice for terrariums. They can thrive in the controlled environment of a terrarium with minimal care.
Succulent Wreaths or Arrangements:
Use jelly bean succulents to create living wreaths or arrangements. They provide an interesting texture and color variation to these decorative pieces.
In educational settings, these succulents can be used to teach about plant adaptations, succulent physiology, and desert ecosystems.
Jelly bean succulents (Sedum rubrotinctum) are generally hardy plants, but they can still be susceptible to a few pests and diseases. Here are some common issues to watch out for:
Mealybugs: These are small, cottony-looking insects that tend to gather in the nooks and crannies of the plant. They feed on the sap of the succulent, causing wilting and yellowing of leaves.
Aphids: These are tiny, pear-shaped insects that can be green, black, brown, or red. They cluster on new growth and feed on the plant’s sap, which can cause stunted growth and deformed leaves.
Scale Insects: These pests look like small, waxy or shell-like bumps on the plant. They feed on the plant’s sap, and in severe cases, can lead to yellowing and wilting.
Spider Mites: These are extremely small pests that are often difficult to see with the naked eye. They cause damage by sucking the sap from the leaves, resulting in yellow or bronzed foliage.
Root Rot: This is a fungal disease caused by overwatering or poor drainage. It can lead to rotting of the roots, which in turn affects the overall health of the plant.
Powdery Mildew: This is a fungal disease that manifests as a white powdery substance on the leaves. It can occur in humid conditions or when the plant is kept in a location with poor air circulation.
Prevention and Management:
Inspect Regularly: Regularly check the plant for any signs of pests or diseases. Early detection is crucial for effective treatment.
Isolate Infected Plants: If you notice an issue, isolate the infected plant to prevent the spread to others.
Natural Predators: Introduce natural predators like ladybugs or predatory mites to control pest populations.
Neem Oil or Insecticidal Soap: These are organic solutions that can be used to treat some pest issues. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application.
Adjust Watering Practices: Ensure that the succulent’s soil is well-draining and avoid overwatering to prevent root rot.
Prune Infected Areas: If you notice an isolated infestation, consider pruning and removing the affected parts of the plant.
What are the Common Names for Jelly Bean Succulents?
Jelly bean succulents are also commonly referred to as “pork and beans” or “banana cactus” due to their distinctive appearance.
Where are Jelly Bean Succulents Typically Found?
They are native to Mexico, where they thrive in arid climates and are often found in rocky or sandy soil.
How Do I Care for Jelly Bean Succulents?
Jelly bean succulents are low-maintenance plants. They require well-draining soil, plenty of sunlight, and infrequent watering. They can be grown both indoors and outdoors, depending on the climate.
Can I Grow Jelly Bean Succulents Indoors?
Yes, they can be successfully grown indoors as houseplants. They prefer bright, indirect sunlight and should be watered sparingly.
What Climate Zones are Suitable for Outdoor Growth of Jelly Bean Succulents?
They thrive in USDA Zones 9 through 11, which encompass warmer climates.
Can Jelly Bean Succulents Be Grown in Colder Climates?
Yes, in colder climates, they can be grown in containers outdoors during the summer and brought indoors to overwinter.
Are Jelly Bean Succulents Suitable for Beginners?
Jelly bean succulents are excellent choices for beginners and busy gardeners as they are resilient and require minimal attention to thrive.
Jelly bean succulents, with their endearing monikers and distinctive chubby leaves, are a delightful addition to any succulent enthusiast’s collection. Originating from Mexico, these low-maintenance perennials bring a touch of natural elegance to both indoor and outdoor settings. Their adaptability to various climates, from USDA Zones 9 through 11 to container gardening in colder regions, makes them a versatile choice for gardeners of all levels of experience.
With their unique charm and undemanding nature, jelly bean succulents prove to be a perfect match for beginners and those with busy schedules. Whether gracing succulent arrangements or serving as vibrant ground cover, these plants add a pop of color and character to any garden or living space. By providing them with well-draining soil, ample sunlight, and a conservative watering routine, gardeners can enjoy the beauty and resilience of these lovely succulents for years to come. So, whether adorning a windowsill or brightening up a garden bed, jelly bean succulents are sure to bring joy and natural splendor to any environment they call home.