How to Control Purslane


Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) is a succulent, annual weed common in vegetable gardens, lawns and flower beds. It thrives in warm, moist conditions and can be identified by its red stems. A single purslane can produce 240,000 seeds that can germinate immediately or wait up to 40 years, according to scientists at the University of California, Davis. Controlling purslane takes a two-pronged effort---both prevention and chemical control---and lots of patience.

Step 1

Clean mowers and gardening tools prior to using in an uninfested area to prevent purslane from getting a foothold in the landscape.

Step 2

Water the infested area; when the soil drains, hand-pull any purslane that you find. Because digging in or disturbing the soil may unearth other seeds, this procedure may need to be repeated frequently.

Step 3

Dig up, with a long handled hoe, larger patches of purslane. Remove the plants from the area and dispose of them.

Step 4

Apply 3 to 4 inches of mulch to gardening beds. The thicker the layer of mulch, the better, because cutting off light will not allow the seeds to germinate.

Step 5

Apply pre-emergent herbicide, according to package directions, to areas where there are purslane seeds. Water the area after application to activate the herbicide.

Step 6

Apply post-emergent herbicide, according to package directions, to control actively growing purslane. Scientists at the University of California, Davis, recommend treating the weeds at the seedling stage.

Tips and Warnings

  • Weed killing products can be poisonous. Read and follow all label precautions and instructions. Store all products out of the reach of children. Wear protective clothing and eyewear during application.

Things You'll Need

  • Heavy gardening gloves
  • Long-handled hoe
  • Mulch
  • Pre-emergent herbicide
  • Post-emergent herbicide


  • University of California at Davis: Common Purslane
  • "Applied Weed Science"; Merrill A. Ross and Carol A. Lembi; 1999
Keywords: control purslane, kill weeds, kill purslane

About this Author

Victoria Hunter, a former broadcaster and real estate agent, has provided audio and written services to both small businesses and large corporations, worldwide. Hunter is a freelance writer specializing in the real estate industry. She devotes her spare time to her other passions: gardening and cooking. Hunter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing.