Want to brighten your garden? Then add Jewels of Opar. The stunning lime green leaves are a beautiful accent to any garden. Grow several plants together for the best effect, not for the leaves but for the lovely flowers that rise on tall red stalks during the summer months and will last until the frost finally knocks them down. The flower stalks are delicate and the pink flowers tiny but they grow en-mass making the whole plant look like cotton candy hanging over the lime green leaves. One plant is good but several together are stunning. Needs full sun but not fussy about soil type as long as well drained. Drought tolerant, excellent for hot dry areas and perfect for pots. Makes wonderful entrance way pots or along walkways or decks. Hardy to zone 8 (maybe 7) grown as an annual in colder zones but bringing pots into garage in winter will keep the tubers from freezing and make pots ready for next year. Very easy plant to care for and the pollinators love it. Plus the crunchy lime green leaves are great in salads
Description of Jewels of Opar (Talinum paniculatum).
Considered a perennial in warmer zones it is grown as an annual in zones 7 and above. This plant is stunning lime green leaves that are elliptic or obobate with a smooth margin. These arise in small clump that can reach two feet in diameter. In early summer it sends up tall red much branched stems that bear small pink bowl shaped flowers continuously throughout the summer and right up to the frost. Flowers open later in the day, so early morning if often appears as if the plant is not flowering. Flowers are followed by small shinny red globular pods which look like a red haze hanging over the plant. Globes finally turn grey and spring open to disperse seeds. Produces large tubers that can be lifted and stored in colder areas. Roots are reported hardy to zone 7.
Growing Jewels of Opar (Talinum paniculatum) from seed.
Seeds are very small so although they can be sown directly outside keeping weeds from the bed while they germinate can be difficult. Indoor germination is recommended. If choose to sow outside do so 2-4 weeks after first frost date when soil is warm. For more information on growing seeds see our General Growing Instructions
Start 6-8 weeks before last frost date in good potting soil, in flats or plug cells. Germination is easy and usually begins within 6-14 days depending on temperature and other conditions. Best temps between 65-75°F. Do not cover the seeds as light aids germination.
Transplant to small pots and grow on until small plants, harden off before transplanting out. Do so on a cloudy day with likelihood of rain to ensure plant can establish itself well. Since planting in a hot sunny location plants need to be watered well until established.
Location and Care of Jewels of Opar (Talinum paniculatum).
Prefers a full sun location but can tolerate a small amount of shade for part of the day. Does well in hot dry areas but benefits from some watering but can be drought tolerant for several weeks at a time. Prefers sandy and well drained soils but is tolerant of poor soils and heat. Excellent for rock gardens and hot areas where not to much else grows.
Makes an excellent pot plant for sunny areas where perhaps you may forget to water at times. Very stunning as entrance pots, along walkways and decks.
The lime green leaves brighten up any garden and it makes a wonderful border plant or addition to any flower garden. Will reseed itself once established, just thin out the seedlings or transplant to where you want them. If reseeding is undesirable dead head as seeds form. Sadly seeds usually form on same stalks that are still flowering so this is often hard to do.
Grown as an annual in northern gardens but in warmer zones -8 and more, possibly in zone 7 with heavy mulching - it will act like a perennial. In colder zones the fleshy tubers can be lifted in the winter months if desired if left they will rot. For pots bringing them into a garage attached to a house where the pot wont freeze over the winter will keep the tubers alive and make pots ready for next year. Cut down foliage and store. If place wood across the top pots can be stacked in a column to reduce space. Just ensure the pots don't dry out entirely over the winter.
Edible uses of Jewels of Opar (Talinum paniculatum).
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 little other salad greens is to be had. While they don't have a massive amount of taste they are very crunchy and the lime green color really brightens any dish.
The seeds are tiny but nutritious, and could be a good source of Omega3 oils, as seeds of other Portulacca ssp. are avidly collected by indigenous peoples, and have recently been compared favorably with flaxseed.
Medical uses of Jewels of Opar (Talinum paniculatum).
In Traditional Chinese Medicine this plant is known as Tu-ren-shen and is used to tone the digestion, moistens the lungs and promotes breast milk.
Useful for treating headaches, aphrodisiac, pneumonia, diarrhea, a lot of urine, irregular menstruation, vaginal discharge and a little milk. The roots are used for impotence. The juice from the leaves is used to sooth oozing wounds, treat ulcers, and increased appetite.
Caution. Poisoning can occur if you use too much. Usually characterized by nausea, vomiting and shortness of breath.
Other Uses of Jewels of Opar (Talinum paniculatum).
Makes an excellent cut flower. The airy spikes with their shiny red globes make wonderful filler for all kinds of flower arrangement. Stalks can also be dried for longer use in lasting displays.