A field guide on how to identify & propagate Orpine (Hylotelephium telephium), a perennial shrub native to Eurasia.
Hardiness Zone: 5-9
Soil Type: Well-drained Loam, Sand, or Clay.
Water: Dry to Normal.
Exposure: Full Sun.
How to Identify Orpine (Hyletelephium telephium)
Orpine leaves are evergreen and have a succulent texture. They are oblong to elliptical in shape, with a crenate to serrate leaf margin. The leaves are a deep green color and can have tinges of red on the edges. They grow on the stems in alternative to whorled arrangements.
Orpine flowers are small, pink, and star-shaped. They grow in clusters and have no particular smell.
They are typically around 1 inch in diameter and have five petals.
Hylotelephium telephium flowers typically bloom from July to September.
The typical orpine habitat is a sunny, dry area with well-drained soil. The plant grows best in areas with limestone or other calcium-rich soils.
It is a plant native to Asia but today it is also found naturally in Europe and North America.
You can find them growing on cliffsides, hillsides, seashores, and abandoned fields.
Orpine is also a valuable source of food for wildlife.
The flowers are a favorite of bees, and the leaves are eaten by rabbits, deer, and other animals. Orpine also provides shelter and nesting sites for birds and other wildlife.
Additionally, orpine is a food plant for caterpillars of two endangered butterfly species, Apollos (Parnassius apollo) and Chequered Blues (Scolitantides orion).
How to Propagate Orpine (Hylotelephium telephium)
Orpine (hylotelephium telephium) is one of the easiest plants to propagate.
It naturally sprouts roots along its stems which make stem cuttings ridiculously easy to propagate. Sedum leaves will take a bit longer but they will also root!
You can also propagate quite easily with the seeds, that appear later in the summer to early fall.
Let’s dive into the details:
How to Propagate Orpine with Cuttings
The best time to take Orpine cuttings is early spring when the plant is sprouting vigorous growth, but still works later in the season.
Stem or Leaf Cuttings
- Cut a healthy stem from an orpine plant with a sharp knife.
- Remove the leaves from the lower half of the stem. (Keep the leaves you remove and propagate them too!)
- Dip the cut end of the stem in water, then rooting hormone, and then place in a propagator filled with perlite.
- Keep the perlite moist and wait for the stem to grow roots.
- Once the stem has grown roots, transplant it into a pot of its own. Recommended soil is 1:1:1 Sand/Peat/Potting Soil.
The process is the same with leaf cuttings, but instead of harvesting the stem, you just take the leaf.
It takes longer with a leaf cutting to get a full plant but you can make a much higher quantity of cuttings.
Small propagators like this are the best for rooting cuttings. They provide the high humidity and aeration cuttings need for rooting.
How to Propagate Orpine with Seeds
You can harvest seeds from orpine plants but they rarely make the fruits that give the seeds. In the case where you do want to grow from seed, may have to order online.
You can order Oprine seeds here at Salt Spring Seeds.
If you have an orpine plant that’s making seeds, wait to collect the seedheads until they at least turn brown. Then let them dry in a paper bag or in a cool dry, place.
Orpine seeds are light and small, you need to separate them from the seedheads which require some dexterity.
A good technique is to use a screen and to rub the seedheads on the screen and let the tiny seeds fall through into a container below.
After that, just germinate the seeds like you would any other plant.
- Plant the seeds in a pot filled with well-draining potting soil.
- Water the seeds regularly and keep the soil moist.
- Watch for the seeds to germinate and grow into new plants.
That’s it! That should have you covered to propagate orpine plants easily.
Hey, want to propagate like a pro? Check out our in-depth plant propagate guide.
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