Talinum paniculatum (Jacq.) Gaertn.
Fame Flower, Jewels of Opar, Pink Baby's Breath
Claytonia paniculata, Claytonia patens, Helianthemoides patens, Portulaca paniculata, Portulaca patens, Ruelingia patens, Talinum dichotomum, Talinum patens
Talinum paniculatum is a shrubby succulent with a tuberous root and erect stems with green, elliptic to obovate leaves. It proliferates very easily, and the stems can grow up to 3.3 feet (1 m) tall, not branched or only sparsely at the base. The stems become softly woody below. The leaves are sessile or with an up to 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) long pedicel and measure up to 4.4 inches (11 cm) long and 2 inches (5 cm) wide.
The hot pink flowers appear in clusters on wiry stalks opening towards evening and hanging over the foliage in summer. The fruits are globose capsules that are yellow or pinkish-yellow, contain black, glossy seeds, and are showier than the flowers.
USDA hardiness zone 9a to 10b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °C) to 40 °F (+4.4 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Jewels of Opar prefers a full sun location but can tolerate a slight shade for part of the day. It does well in hot, dry areas but benefits from some watering. It can be drought-tolerant for several weeks at a time. It does best in sandy and well-drained soils and tolerates poor soils and heat. Excellent for rock gardens and hot areas where not too much else grows.
The lime green leaves brighten any garden, making it a wonderful border plant or addition to any flower garden. It 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.
It grows well as a pot plant and is excellent on hot sunny decks where the lime-green leaves provide an appearance of coolness.
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 sow the seeds 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.
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