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How to Grow Purslane

By Barbara Fahs ; Updated September 21, 2017
Purslane

Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) is considered a weed in many areas. Also called pigweed, this succulent plant naturalizes well in many climates, which makes it easy to grow. Purslane is a small, low growing plant that tolerates many elevations and climatic conditions. It’s tasty and nutritious—its high concentration of vitamin C and omega 3 fatty acids make it a delicacy in France, where it is grown commercially as a lemony-flavored addition to salads and other dishes.

Get your seeds ready to plant about six weeks before you plan to plant. Place seeds in a bit of potting soil in a plastic bag and then leave the mixture in your refrigerator for about six weeks.

Fill a nursery pot or flat with potting soil and then scatter the seeds on top but bury them lightly with no more than ¼ inch of soil—they need light to germinate, so make sure they get plenty of sun or artificial light. Also keep them warm—they require temperatures of 60 to 70 degrees F. Expect germination within 5 to 10 days, or as long as two to three weeks.

Prepare your garden area by digging in some compost and any other organic materials you have, such as dried leaves and peat moss.

Plant your young plants in late spring: leave about 1 foot between plants because they will vine a little and spread quickly.

Water young plants daily until they are established, about two to three weeks after you plant them. After that, purslane plants require very little care aside from keeping them under control because they will drop their seeds and spread on their own if they favor your garden’s environment.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Purslane seeds or starter plants
  • Garden space
  • Compost, peat moss or dried leaves
  • Shovel
  • Trowel
  • Water

Tips

  • It's best to start purslane seeds indoors. Because they need light to germinate, if your early spring temperatures are mild, you can set your pot or flat outdoors during the daytime.
  • Winter frosts will kill purslane. If you grow some in a pot, you can move it indoors in the winter and perhaps plant it outdoors the following spring.

Warning

  • Purslane can become invasive in areas where it naturalizes.

About the Author

 

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens" and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to "Big Island Weekly," "Ke Ola" magazine and various websites. She earned her Bachelor of Arts at University of California, Santa Barbara and her Master of Arts from San Jose State University.