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Shrub Debris - The Stars Of The Fall Flower Garden

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It is very difficult to imagine an autumn garden without bright constellations of tiny stars of blooming ochichnik. As a rule, from the end of summer until late autumn, bush forms of the ochitnik bloom. Often they, unknowingly, are all indiscriminately referred to the varieties of the obfuscator, but this is not entirely true. In fact, bush ochitniks have a rather similar appearance and a similar flowering period, but belong to several different species. Let's find out what high-growing fritillaries bloom in the fall, how to distinguish them from each other and choose the right varieties.

Shrub debris - the stars of the fall flower garden
Bush ochitniks are the stars of the fall flower bed

Precious peepers

Let us begin with the Precious peeper (Hylotelephium spectabile), whose name is on everyone's lips. Sometimes this name for the entire group of shrub-like ochytniks is used not only by inexperienced florists, but also by some nurseries.

Shrub debris - the stars of the fall flower garden
The ochytnikum varieties are easily distinguished by their glaucous leaves, which have no purple hues. © Ludmila Svetlitskaya

Most likely, this name has taken hold because the appearance of all bush ochitniks is very similar. Their stems are erect, their leaves are large, the bushes are quite tall, and they, unlike the stalked forms, are clearly visible from afar. So it turns out that any tall ochitnik is 'visible'.

In fact:the scientific name for the species name of this ochitnik 'spectabile' in Latin has several meanings, and, in addition to 'visible' or 'visible', can also be translated as 'delightful', 'beautiful' (by analogy, the word 'visible' can also mean an attractive woman). Thus, it is possible that the plant was given this name not only because of its size, but also because of its particular external attractiveness.

Another reason why this name became a nickname is that the ochitnik is the most common species, and is often used in landscaping in cities. The very tall plant with the green fronds and the muddy pink clusters of inflorescence is a species of plant belonging to the species Videnka species. In any case, the variations are far from limited to this one representative.

It is now represented by many varieties, the main difference being that they are devoid of purple tones. Their leaves are lettuce or glaucous in color, and their inflorescences are usually tinged with pink or have white or greenish-white flowers. © Lyudmila Svetlitskaya

Shrub debris - the stars of the fall flower garden
Hylotelephium spectabile 'Iceberg'. © Ian Redding

Visible Ochitnik varieties

Ochitnik "Diamond" (Brilliant) is one of the most popular varieties of Ochitnik that was created quite some time ago. As early as 1993 it was awarded a Royal Horticultural Society of Great Britain prize.

This bush variety of Brilliant is about 45-60cm tall and has large, fleshy, greenish-blue leaves with crimson umbrella-like, pinkish flowers that open up at the shoots during early fall. As they fade florets of this ochitnik change color to rusty-red, and after flowering they become copper-rusty.

Ochitnik "Iceberg" (Iceberg ) grows to a height of 30-40 centimeters. The leaves are light green with a bluish patina. Flowering begins in late August. This variety is characterized by bright white inflorescences, which are decorated with long stamens, which make the umbrellas look fluffy. The white color of the 'Iceberg' variety is not uniform and the shrubs sometimes show reversed shoots with pinkish flowers, which can either be removed or left as a highlight.

Ochitnikum neon (Neon) grows vertically or split up slightly, up to 30-40 centimetres high. This variety is considered an improved variety of the 'Brilliant' ochitnik. Compared to its predecessor, 'Neon' is shorter and more compact, its flowers are brighter colored, and its inflorescences are much larger and more rounded.


Other names Hylotelephium (Hylotelephium telephium) are creeper, hare's cabbage and purple ochitnik. As you can guess, the last name indicates the external features of the plant, and, indeed, the common ochitnik from the common ochitnik is mainly distinguished by the presence of a significant number of purple (up to almost black) shades in the color of the leaves and stems.

Shrub debris - the stars of the fall flower garden
The common ochitnik varieties are distinguished by the presence of a significant number of purple shades.

The color palette of Common Ochitnik inflorescences is very wide and varies from cream color to deep crimson-red, sometimes there are also varieties with yellow or orange flowers.

This type of ochitnik in the wild grows and in the territory of Russia, in particular in the Far East. It has found use in folk medicine.

Shrub debris - the stars of the fall flower garden
Hylotelephium telephium 'Matrona'. © JardinsLeeds
Shrub debris - the stars of the fall flower garden
Ochitnik common 'Xenox yellow' (Hylotelephium telephium 'Yellow Xenox'). © foraygardengirl

Sorts of Common Ochitnik

Ochitnik Common "Matrona" (Matrona) is one of the most conspicuous ochitnik varieties, distinguished by stately tall bushes up to 70 centimeters high. In late summer, large heads of pale pink inflorescences bloom on ruby stems. The foliage of this ochitnik is large and has a bluish-green color with a purple hue and veins. It is prized for its majestic appearance and large (up to 15 centimeters) inflorescences.

Diamond Edge (Diamond Edge) is a unique shrubby plant with variegated foliage (which is not characteristic for this species). The main feature of the variety is the presence of a thin cream border along the edge of the large gray leaf. This cultivar was bred on the basis of the "Matrona" variety and has a similar flower coloring and habit, but it is a little shorter, 40 centimeters tall.

Ochitnik common "Xenox yellow" (Yellow Xenox) is a variety of one of the darkest-colored representatives of the species, the "Xenox" ochitnik. The main difference is the chameleon flowers, which change color from pink to pale yellow as they bloom. Such a rare flower coloration is especially spectacular against the background of dark purple, almost black leaves. The height is 35-40 centimeters.

Hylotelephium white-pink

All the most variegated variegated varieties belong exactly to Hylotelephium white-pink (Hylotelephium erythrostictum). They are very easily distinguished by the presence of a broad border of white or golden flowers at the edge of the leaf blade, or by the snow-white or yellowish center of the leaf, rimmed with a lettuce border.

Shrub debris - the stars of the fall flower garden
The pink white ochitnik cultivars are easily distinguished by the presence of a broad border of white or golden flowers at the edge of the leaf blade. © huaguanjia

In some varieties of white-pink ochinicus, the border or middle also has a delicate pink color, which changes to white with age. Unlike the prominent and purple ochitniks, the reddish-pink ochitnik has thinner stems and looks more delicate and elegant. The foliage of the white-pink fritillary is also slightly smaller and has a noticeably rugged edge, and is often slightly wavy. Flowering is often earlier than for the other shrub species of the Ochitnik.

Shrub debris - the stars of the fall flower garden
Ochitnik white-pink 'Pinky' (Hylotelephium erythrostictum 'Pinky'). © Ludmila Svetlitskaya
Shrub debris - the stars of the fall flower garden
Hylotelephium erythrostictum 'Frosty Morn'. © David J. Stang

Sorts of Ochitnikum white-pink

Ochitnikum white-pink 'Frosty Morn' (Frosty Morn). The variety with bright wide white edging and cream marks on the lettuce leaves, with very showy flowers. The flowers are greenish-white during the budding phase, and change from pure white to light pink as they bloom. This coloring makes the plants appear to have a frosty look to them. They are up to 60 centimeters tall.

Ochitnik white-pink "Madiovariegatum" (Mediovariegatum). Probably the brightest and most festive ochitnik in the garden, which retains a similar coloration throughout the season. The main feature of this cultivar is the very bright golden-cream center of the leaf, shaded by the emerald edge. The leaf plate is slightly wavy. Flowers are delicate pink, flowering begins in late summer. Shrub height from 30 to 40 centimeters.

White Pink "Pinky" (Pinky). A very original variety, which is hard to resist. Its unique foliage changes color throughout the season. As soon as the snow melts, young shoots of soft pink appear out of the ground, looking like tiny ornamental cabbage heads. Later as it grows, the foliage first turns white and then green, but the young leaves at the tips of the shoots remain for some time with pink and cream hues.

By the time the buds form, the bright coloration is completely gone. This variety is one of the earliest among shrub ochidiniks, it blooms at the end of July, the flowers are bright pink. Its height is 30 centimeters.

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Note: some modern varieties of shrub leaves are interspecific hybrids, and it is sometimes difficult to determine their species identity. In this regard, various cultivars of bush ochytniks are often sold as "hybrid ochytnik".

Peculiarities of growing bush ochytniks

Bush ochytniks grow easily in dry and medium, well-drained soils, in full sun, but can also withstand a light penumbra. Plants tolerate drought and heat, but require more frequent watering than the stalked species.

One of the main conditions for successful cultivation is good drainage of the soil. Plants do best in sandy or stony soils with an average fertility level.

Cheat plants grown in excessively rich soils or in shaded areas will produce weak shoots that will constantly tend to bend toward the ground. Some varieties of Ochitnik are also prone to bush collapse even when grown in full sun. In this case, tying the stems into bunches as soon as they begin to grow in mid-spring will help.

You can grow bush planters from seed, but a quicker and easier way is to divide the bushes in the fall or early spring as soon as new shoots emerge from the ground. To stimulate the best growth of the ochitnik, divide the bushes every three years.

For more details about the peculiarities of growing ochitniks and the diversity of their species, read the article Ochitniks in the garden - species and varieties, care, reproduction.

Shrub debris - the stars of the fall flower garden
With a rich variety of shades of leaves you can create an interesting shading, planting varieties from darkest to lightest. © Ludmila Svetlitskaya

Application of shrub peepers in garden design

Shrub peepers are excellent companions for ornamental grasses, which just bloom in autumn, so it's very difficult to imagine a modern mixboard without using shrub species of peepers of various varieties.

Even when other perennials take a break or finish blooming, the bright ochitnik, thanks to its colorful foliage, always remains a stable spot of color in the flower bed.

Beneficial also in combination with roses, which have a second wave of flowering in late summer. Pinecones and their fellows work equally well in a perennial flower bed as accents among evergreens or planted in bunches in containers. Due to the rich variety of shades of foliage you can create an interesting shading, planting varieties from the darkest to the lightest.