Jewels of Opar Care Tips: Growing The Talinum Paniculatum

Talinum panciulatum [tal-I-num, pan-ick-yoo-LAY-tum] is a perennial succulent subshrub in the Talinaceae family, which includes 28 species of flowering succulents and shrubs.

The species was described in 1760 under the basionym of Portulaca paniculata by Nicolaus Joseph von Jacquin (Jacq), then recombined in the genus Talinum in 1791 by Joseph Gaertner (Gaertn).

It was assigned in the past to the family of the purslane (portulaca plant) or Portulacaceae.

Blooms of the Jewels of Opar (Talinum)

It’s native to much of the Western hemisphere, including the United States and the Caribbean.

The plant was also introduced in Africa and Asia.

It produces long, thin stems and jewel-like fruits resembling small, precious stones.

This explains the most commonly used name for the plant – Jewels Of Opar.

The non-scientific names or common names include:

  • Pink Baby’s Breath
  • Fame Flower

The plant requires lots of light and doesn’t fare well in cool environments.

In the right setting, it is an easy plant to cultivate.

Talinum Paniculatum Care

Size and Growth

While some species of talinum only reach 1’ – 2’ feet in height, talinum paniculatum var can reach up to 3’ feet when fully grown and bears tuberous roots with a ginseng-like appearance.

It produces smooth, succulent leaves on long, thin stems.

The leaves and the stems are often colored light to medium green.

Flowering and Fragrance

T. paniculatum ‘Limon’ blooms in the spring and produces panicles of flowers.

Panicles are inflorescences feature multiple branches.

The flowers produce jewel-like fruits, the reason for the plant being called jewels-of-Opar.

The color of the flowers can vary.

Common colors include pink and orangish red.

They don’t give off a noticeable fragrance.

Light and Temperature

The plant loves full sun and thrives when placed in a sunny window.

Even during the winter, the plant should remain near a source of bright, indirect sunlight.

Without adequate lighting, the plant produces duller and fewer flowers.

The plant can survive outdoor growth in USDA hardiness zones 10 or higher, but some people have successfully cultivated the plant outdoors in cooler climates.

Watering and Feeding

In the summer, Jewels-of-Opar requires plenty of water and fertilizer.

In the winter, allow the soil to dry out between waterings.

Don’t feed during the winter.

Soil and Transplanting

Use regular potting soil with a little sand to improve drainage.

Perlite can help increase the water retention of the soil if the plant tends to dry out quickly.

Young plants may need transplanting as the root system grows.

Wait for the plants to become well established before transplanting them.

Older plants don’t require transplanting but may benefit from the replacement of the top layer of soil.

Grooming

If the plant has a lot of leggy growth, trim it back during the summer after the flowers die.

How to Propagate Jewels Of Opar

Propagate with seed or cuttings planted in sandy soil.

Sow the seeds in the spring and take cuttings in the summer.

The seeds are very small.

  • To sow the seeds, mix them with some sand and sprinkle them over the potting soil.
  • Press the soil down lightly and then cover it with a little more sand.
  • Don’t cover the seeds with plastic or glass.
  • Leave the seedling tray or pots open and near a bright window.

The plant grows from seed very quickly and should bloom in mid-summer.

If the plant needs to overwinter indoors, take cuttings toward the end of summer.

Use sandy soil and place the plant under a bright light after the cuttings take root.

The seedlings and cuttings require frequent watering until established, but overwatering can cause several disease problems.

Allow the soil to become mostly dry between waterings and remove excess water after each watering.

Pink Baby’s Breath Pests or Disease Problems?

The biggest threats include spider mites, aphids, and over-watering.

Spider Mites

  • Spider mites tend to attack when the environment is dry and warm.
  • For minor spider mite infestations, mist the plant regularly using a mixture of water and mild dish soap.
  • If the infestation becomes severe, treat it with a miticide.
  • The plant may require multiple treatments of miticide to get rid of major spider mite problems.

Learn more about a spider mites home remedy.

Aphids

  • Aphids are often difficult to remove from this plant.
  • Use a hard spray of water to remove the pests.
  • To treat severe aphid infestations, use insecticide.

More on Killing Aphids with Soapy Water

Overwatering

  • Over-watering is the most common cause of poor health for jewels-of-Opar, especially during the winter months when the plant doesn’t need as much water.
  • If the leaves start to droop, the plant may have too much water.
  • Allow the soil to dry out more between waterings and decrease the amount of water used.
  • If water remains in the saucer, the plant is getting too much water.
  • This also increases the risk of root rot. Drain the saucer to remove excess water.

Another issue to watch out for is the spread of the root system.

If grown outdoors, the plant spreads easily and may overtake gardens and other patches of land.

The plant roots very easily and can still spread when pulled from the ground if any part of the root remains.

If grown outdoors, ensure it has space and avoid letting the growth become unmanageable.

Suggested Uses For Fame Flower

These attractive plants look great on a balcony when they are in bloom.

As a succulent, they also work well in a succulent arrangement with other plants requiring the same environment.

The leaves are edible and have been used by the Chinese as a medicinal plant.

In places like southeast Australia, it grows outside year round.

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