Portulaca - Purslane, Pusley, Sun Plant, Verdolaga
DESCRIPTION: Portulaca is a small group of trailing annuals. P. grandiflora, Sun Plant, is a popular kind native of Brazil. The sprawling stems grow 4 or 5 inches long and are clothed with somewhat succulent, cylindrical leaves. Several large flowers, up to an inch in diameter, grow at the ends of the stems. They come in an array of bright, beautiful colors; purple, scarlet, yellow and pink are just a few. There are both single- and double-flowered varieties. P. oleracea, the common Purslane, can grow up to 6 inches high. It is from southern Europe and can be an annoying garden weed. This and a variety of it, P. oleracea variety sativa can be grown in the vegetable garden. Even the weedy wild Purslane is good used as a potherb or in a salad, but the cultivated variety is larger and more tender. Purslane is a trailing annual with reddish, fleshy stems whose joints will form roots when they come in contact with the ground. The fleshy leaves are spoon shaped and up to 2 inches long and the small flowers are a brilliant yellow. Cultivated Purslane (also known as Pusley & Verdolaga) grows about 3 inches high and 12 to 18 inches wide. The plants are succulent and delicate.
POTTING: These plants love the sun, therefore need a sunny position to be successful. They also prefer sandy soil. Water them during dry spells and feed lightly once in a while.
PROPAGATION: Seeds of P. grandiflora (decorative variety) are sown directly outside where they are to grow in the spring. Plant them thinly and barely cover them with soil. If they come up too thickly, they should be thinned to 3 inches apart. If P. oleracea, the vegetable Purslane, isn't already growing in your garden, donít plant it there. Instead, grow it in a large, shallow container, such as a sandbox, where it won't escape. Never throw clippings in a compost pile, because they will take root. Press the seeds into the surface of the soil and leave uncovered. Roots will also develop on pieces of existing plants that are inserted into the soil. In fairly moist soil, 2 or 3 successive plantings can be made. Purslane is only good to eat when it's young. The flavor deteriorates once it starts to bloom. Whole branches are taken until blossoms start to grow. Donít eat the ornamental flowering species, P. grandiflora, which was also described on this page.
VARIETIES: P. grandiflora; P. oleracea and its variety sativa.
Sundial Hybrid Mix Portulaca
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