Three plants tied for the honour of entering the new 2020 RHS Plant Finder as the most widely available, with the most number of stockists. One of them, Sedum takesimense Atlantis ('Nonsitnal'), has already found fame as the Chelsea Plant of The Year winner last year and is the first variegated cultivar of this rarely grown species – in fact its first cultivar – to be introduced.
Wild plants of Sedum takesimense are only found on Ulleungdo Island, previously known to Europeans as Argonaut Island.
The island, about 10km across and situated 150km off the coast of South Korea, is basically one huge volcano with rocky sides rising steeply from the sea.
Here, in sunny and well-drained areas, Sedum takesimense forms colonies of rather floppy stems, tipped with clusters of starry yellow summer flowers. The form grown in North America as ‘Gold Carpet’ seems to be identical to the wild species.
But it was from ‘Gold Carpet’ that Atlantis arose. It was found by Norberto Miguel Roma, a member of staff at Hortech Nursery in Michigan, who in 2013 spotted the one variegated shoot in a crop of five hundred plants.
Sedum takesimense Atlantis ('Nonsitnal'), occasionally listed as Phedimus takesimensis Atlantis ('Nonsitnal'), has shoots whose scalloped leaves are rich cream in colour as they first emerge then mature to green with bright creamy edges. The plant develops into a low spreading mat up to 50cm across and from July to September is covered in those same small starry yellow flowers. As autumn approaches, the foliage develops pinkish tones.
Although the green-leaved wild species can be annoyingly vigorous, this dramatic variegated species is much better behaved. Atlantis is hardy all over Britain, having been trialled in Michigan where the winters are far colder than here.
You can order plants of Sedum takesimense Atlantis ('Nonsitnal') from the RHS Plant Shop and from these RHS Plant Finder nurseries.