Talinum paniculatum is a succulent subshrub commonly known as Jewels of Opar, Fame Flower, or Pink Baby's Breath. It is a charming plant that no garden should be without. The stunning lime green leaves bring a cooling feel to any garden, and the hazy red flowers look like smoke or cotton candy hanging over the plants. Excellent for hot, dry areas or as a pot plant on sunny decks. Jewels of Opar needs full sun but is easy to grow and care for, takes little effort with a great reward, and you can eat it in your salad too!
Location and Care
This plant prefers a full sun location but can tolerate partial shade. It does well in hot, dry areas. It can be drought-tolerant for several weeks but benefits from some watering. Jewels of Opar does best in sandy, well-draining soil. It is excellent for rock gardens and hot areas where not too much else grows.
The lime green leaves brighten any garden, making it a beautiful border plant or addition to any flower garden. Will reseed itself once established. Just thin out the seedlings or transplant them to where you want them. If reseeding is undesirable, deadhead as seeds form. Sadly seeds usually form on the same stalks still flowering, so this is often hard to do.
Jewels of Opar does well as a pot plant and is excellent on hot sunny decks.
Seeds are tiny, so although they can be sown directly outside, keeping weeds from the bed while germinating can be difficult. Indoor germination is recommended. If you choose to sow outside, do so 2 to 4 weeks after the first frost date when the soil is warm.
Start 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost date in good potting soil, flats, or plug cells. Germination is easy and usually begins within 6 to 14 days, depending on temperature and other conditions. The best temperatures are between 65 and 75 °F (18 and 24 °C). Do not cover the seeds as light aids germination.
Transplant to small pots and grow until small plants harden off before transplanting out. Do so on a cloudy day with a likelihood of rain to ensure the plant can establish itself well. Since planting in a hot sunny location, plants need to be watered well until established.
The leaves are succulent and make an excellent addition to salads and sandwiches. They are especially valuable since they are available in hot, dry weather when few other salad greens are to be had.
The seeds are tiny but nutritious and could be a good source of Omega 3 oils, as seeds of other Portulaca species are avidly collected by indigenous peoples and have recently been compared favorably with flaxseed.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, this plant is known as Tu-ren-shen and is used to tone digestion, moisten the lungs, and promote breast milk.
Helpful in treating headaches, pneumonia, diarrhea, a lot of urine, irregular menstruation, vaginal discharge, and a little milk. The roots are used for impotence and as an aphrodisiac. In addition, leaf juice is used to smooth expenditures, treat ulcers, and increase appetite.
Caution: Poisoning can occur if you use too much. It is usually characterized by nausea, vomiting, and shortness of breath.
It makes an excellent cut flower. The airy spikes, with their shiny red globes, make excellent filler for all flower arrangements. Stalks can also be dried for longer use in lasting displays.
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