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Hylotelephium telephium

Previously known as:

  • Hylotelephium purpureum
  • Sedum decumbens
  • Sedum purpurascens
  • Sedum purpureum
  • Sedum telephium
Phonetic Spelling
hy-loh-te-LEE-fee-um te-LEE-fee-um
Description

Stonecrop is one of the many common names for Hylotelephium telephium. Other common names are Alpine, Life-everlasting, Live-forever, Livelong, Orphan John, Orpine, and Witch's Moneybags. The plant was formerly known as Sedum telephium. Some of the taller sedums including Sedum telephium (Stonecrop) and Sedum spectabile ('Autumn Joy'--Showy Stonecrop) were reassigned from the genus Sedum to Hylotelephium. "Hylo" is the Greek word meaning forest or woodland. "Telephium" means distant lover. It is also thought that the genus name honors Telephus, King of Mysia, who was the son of Hercules. The common name, Stonecrop, is in reference to the fact that many hylotelephiums and sedums grow wild on rocky or stony ledges. Another common name, Live-forever, refers to the fact that the plant is easy to grow, can regenerate from a single leaf, and cut stems can retain their foliage for some time. The common name, Orpine, is from an old French word "orpiment" and refers to an ancient variety of sedums. Stonecrop is a native of Europe, Russia, and North China. It has been introduced into portions of Canada, eastern and central United States, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark.

It prefers full sun and medium to dry, sandy, or gravelly soil. The roots are white, carrot shaped tubers which store water to help the plant survive during dry spells. Stonecrop grows in a clump form with erect greenish stems, fleshy green to greenish-blue leaves, and tiny star-shaped pink to purplish-red flowers that appear in dense clusters. They propagate best by divisions in the spring or stem cuttings in the summer. They typically bloom from mid-summer to early fall. This is a very easy, low maintenance, and forgiving plant. It rewards you with lovely flowers and succulent like leaves. The dried out stems and leaves remain erect throughout the winter for added interest in the garden.

This plant is often confused with Hylotelephium erythrostictum and Rhodiola rosea.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: Slugs, scale, mealy bugs, nematodes, aphids, and weevils may be seen. May develop fungal and bacterial crown rot and root rot.

 

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Annuals, Perennials, Vines, and Groundcovers" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens. 

More information on Hylotelephium.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Autumn Delight'
    light pink flowers chartreuse leaves narrow blue green margins
  • 'Matrona'
    pink flowers, bronze-tinged, gray-green leaves
  • 'Munstead Dark Red'
    dark red flowers
  • 'Picolette'
    rose/mauve flowers, bronze leaves, dark green leaves
  • 'Purple Emperor'
    pink to mauve pink flowers, dusky purple leaves
  • 'Xenox Yellow'
    peach apricot flowers, dark plum leaves
'Autumn Delight', 'Matrona', 'Munstead Dark Red', 'Picolette', 'Purple Emperor', 'Xenox Yellow'
Tags:
#bees#perennial#container plant#succulent#easy to grow#wildlife plant#nectar plant#herbaceous perennial#easy to propagate#rock gardens#blue green leaves#erect#butterfly friendly#nectar plant late summer#nectar plant early fall
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Autumn Delight'
    light pink flowers chartreuse leaves narrow blue green margins
  • 'Matrona'
    pink flowers, bronze-tinged, gray-green leaves
  • 'Munstead Dark Red'
    dark red flowers
  • 'Picolette'
    rose/mauve flowers, bronze leaves, dark green leaves
  • 'Purple Emperor'
    pink to mauve pink flowers, dusky purple leaves
  • 'Xenox Yellow'
    peach apricot flowers, dark plum leaves
'Autumn Delight', 'Matrona', 'Munstead Dark Red', 'Picolette', 'Purple Emperor', 'Xenox Yellow'
Tags:
#bees#perennial#container plant#succulent#easy to grow#wildlife plant#nectar plant#herbaceous perennial#easy to propagate#rock gardens#blue green leaves#erect#butterfly friendly#nectar plant late summer#nectar plant early fall
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Hylotelephium
    Species:
    telephium
    Family:
    Crassulaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    During the Roman Empire, a naturalist known as Pliny prescribed Purple Orpine for treating wounds.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Europe, Russia, and North China
    Distribution:
    portions of Canada, central and eastern United States, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark
    Wildlife Value:
    Stonecrop attracts bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects for nectar and pollination.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 6 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 6 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Perennial
    Succulent
    Habit/Form:
    Ascending
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil pH:
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    In the center of the flower, there are 5 tear-drop carpels. The carpels may develop into capsules.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Umbel
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Good Cut
    Good Dried
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Star
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    The flowers appear as a dense clusters which are rounded, umbellate, cyme, and flat topped. They emerge from the top of the stem or upper leaf axils. The cymes measure about 3 to 4 inches across. Each flower has 5 star-like spreading petals which are about 0.12 to 0.2 inches long. There are 10 stamens that are as long as the petals and 5 pistils. The flower's color ranges from pink to purplish red and sometimes white to greenish. As the flower fades, its color changes to a burgundy brown. They typically bloom from August to October.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Blue
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Opposite
    Whorled
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are simple and may appear alternate, opposite, or whorled. They range in color from green-bluish green, dull green to blue-green, or depending on the cultivar. The leaf blades are flat, elliptic, and ovate. The margins are coarsely serrated and curved. Each leaf is thick, glabrous, fleshy, and measure 1.5 to 4 inches long. The upper leaves appear fixed.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    The plant is upright to semi-upright, unbranched mound. The fleshy stems are tall measuring 18 to 24 inches in height. They are hairless and appear singularly or in multiples from the base. The stem color ranges from green to red-tinged, and they are mostly ascending and erect.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Meadow
    Patio
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Cutting Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rock Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Rabbits