Tips on Growing Portulaca

Portulaca is an easy-to-grow annual with succulent-like leaves and red, white, lavender, salmon, purple or white flowers. It also goes by the names purslane, moss rose and wax pink. Portulaca is an excellent choice for hot, dry areas such as rock gardens and exposed banks, or as an edging plant.

Starting Indoors

Portulaca seeds should be started indoors about six weeks before your final frost date. The seeds will must be imbibed before planting. This means putting the seeds in soil in a plastic bag and leaving them in refrigerator for two weeks to become hydrated. After they're removed and potted, the seeds should germinate within 21 days.

Direct Sow

Sow seeds directly into the soil after your final frost date. They should be planted in full sun. Portulaca's soil should be sandy, with a pH of 5.5 to 7.

Care

Portulaca has a very high drought tolerance; once it's planted, you may never need to water it. It does not need fertilization.

Problems

Portulaca may develop root rot if the soil does not drain well. It does not like "wet feet." According to the University of Florida Extension, portulaca is susceptible to white rust, which causes swollen, badly formed branches and leaves with white pustules. If your plants develop white rust, remove and destroy the infected plants at the end of the growing season. Do not compost any parts of the infected plants.

Seeds

Portulaca will self-seed very readily, and in some gardens it can become invasive. If you do not want it to spread, remove the plants before the flowers go to seed.

Keywords: portulaca care, growing portulaca, growing moss rose

About this Author

Aileen Clarkson has been an award-winning editor and reporter for more than 20 years. Clarkson graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in journalism. She has worked for several newspapers, including "The Washington Post" and "The Charlotte Observer."