Hylotelephium telephium 'Samuel Oliphant'
Common Name: stonecrop
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Crassulaceae
Zone: 3 to 9
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: August to October
Bloom Description: Light pink
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Drought, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil

Culture

Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Thrives in sandy to gravelly soils of moderate to low fertility. Tolerates some light part shade in hot summer climates, but will produce weak floppy growth when grown in too much shade or in overly rich soils. Needs good soil drainage to perform well. Drought tolerant. Propagate by divisions in spring or stem cuttings in summer. Detached leaves can be rooted in soil to form new plants.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Hylotelephium telephium, commonly known as stonecrop, orpine or live-forever, is a succulent herbaceous perennial which typically grows in an upright to semi-upright mound on unbranched stems rising to 18-24” tall. It is often hybridized with a similar upright species known as Hylotelephium spectabile (e.g., see H. AUTUMN JOY), but is primarily distinguished from H. spectabile by its alternate leaves (H. spectabile leaves are opposite or in whorls of 3-4). It features (a) fleshy, flat, coarsely-toothed, elliptic, alternate (but sometimes opposite on axillary shoots), dull green to blue-green leaves (to 3” long), (b) fleshy stems and (c) tiny, star-like, pink to reddish purple flowers (to 1/2” across) which bloom from late summer to frost (August-October) in dense rounded flower heads (corymbose cymes to 3-4” across). Flower color fades to burgundy brown as the flowers age. Upper leaves are sessile. Foliage and dead inflorescences often persist into winter providing some additional interest. This plant is native from eastern Europe to China and Japan, but has been introduced into many other parts of the world including Canada and the U.S. where it has escaped gardens and naturalized in a number of areas from Quebec to Saskatchewan plus the Yukon territory and from Maine to Minnesota south to Kansas, Alabama, and North Carolina plus Washington and Idaho.

This plant was formerly known by the synonymous name of Sedum telephium, and continues to be listed and sold in commerce by some nurseries under the genus name of Sedum. However, some of the taller upright sedums including this plant and Sedum spectabile have now been separated from the genus Sedum and reassigned to the genus Hylotelephium.

Genus name probably honor Telephus, King of Mysia and son of Hercules.

Specific epithet probably also honors King Telephus.

Common name of stonecrop is in reference to the fact that many hylotelephiums and sedums are typically found in the wild growing on rocky or stony ledges. Common name of live-forever is in reference to the vigorous and persistent characteristics of this plant which is easy to grow (will regenerate from a single leaf) and whose mature foliage will remain for some time on cut stems or uprooted plants without falling off. Common name of orpine comes from the Old French word orpiment in reference to an ancient variety of sedum.

‘Samuel Oliphant’ is noted for its attractive tricolor foliage. It is a non-induced sport of Hylotelephium telephium ‘Matrona’. Succulent gray-green leaves with creamy-yellow margins and carmine tips form foliage mounds to 24” tall and wide. Foliage retains good color throughout the summer. Flattened cymes (to 3-6” across) of tiny, star-like, light pink flowers bloom from late summer to fall. Flowers are attractive to butterflies and bees. U. S. Plant Patent PP15,582 issued February 22, 2005.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Slugs, scale, mealybugs, nematodes, aphids and weevils may appear.

Garden Uses

Large rock gardens or border fronts. Specimen or groups. Containers.