Hylotelephium is a genus of flowering plants in the family Crassulaceae. It includes about 33 species distributed in Asia, Europe and North America. The genus Hylotelephium may not be familiar to many of you, but in fact most gardeners have seen or are growing these succulents without knowing it. That is because this genus was once part of the genus Sedum.
Species in the genus are popular garden plants, known as "Border Stonecrops" or "Border Sedums". Hylotelephiums are mostly tall, perennial plants with usually thick and sometimes tuberous roots. They die down in winter, then shoot up again in spring. These plants are essential beauties for the late season garden and deserve a spot in gravel gardens. They are undemanding, not aggressive, with fleshy, drought resistant foliage and lovely domed flower heads packed with a profusion of tiny, starry flowers, opening to white, pink or red blossoms in late summer or early fall.
Horticulturalists have hybridized many of the species to create new cultivars. There are hundreds of Hylotelephium cultivars and hybrids. Hylotelephium 'Herbstfreude', also known as Hylotelephium 'Autumn Joy', is perhaps the most well-known of this group.
The genus name is derived from the Greek "hylo", meaning "forest" or "woodland" and "telephium", meaning "distant lover".
All members of this genus are said to have edible leaves. The flowers are very attractive to bees and lepidoptera.
Growing Conditions for Hylotelephium
Hylotelephiums will thrive in conditions that many other plants thrive in, but will do just as well in less hospitable areas. These plants are ideal for that part of your yard that gets too much sun or too little water to grow anything else. They also grow well in containers.
Border Stonecrops prefer full sun. They tolerate some light part shade in hot summer climates, but will produce weak floppy growth when grown in too much shade or in overly rich soils. Plant in an area of your garden that gets 6 hours of sunlight a day.
These succulents succeed in most soils, but prefer well-drained potting mix.
General Care for Hylotelephium
Hylotelephiums are drought tolerant plants. The best way to water these plants is to use "soak and dry" method. Get the soil completely wet and then wait until the soil is dry before watering again.
Fertilize annually with a balanced fertilizer. Apply the fertilizer to the soil in spring as new growth appears, according to package directions.
How to Propagate Hylotelephium
Hylotelephiums can be grow form seeds, division or stem cuttings.
Sow seeds in spring in well-drained soil in a sunny position. Do not allow the soil to dry out. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle.
Propagate by stem cuttings in summer. Cuttings should be 3 to 5 inches (7.5 to 12.5 cm) long and the leaves should be stripped from the bottom inch (2.5 cm) or so before being stuck.
Division is very easy and can be carried out at almost any time in the growing season, though is probably best done in spring or early summer. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions.
Pests and Diseases of Hylotelephium
There are no serious insect or disease problems with Hylotelephium in particular. In some instances, slugs, scale, mealybugs, nematodes, aphids and weevils may appear.
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