Flowering purslane (Portulaca grandiflora), also called sun plant and moss rose, forms a dense mat of pretty rose-like flowers all summer. It is easy to grow, even if your soil is sandy and your summer temperatures bake other plants. Sporting one-inch flowers in a rainbow of colors, from scarlet to purple, yellow or pink, flowering purslane is native to Brazil and can grow to 6 inches tall, with the flowers appearing atop its trailing stems, which can spread over 1 foot from the plant’s base. Seeds are available at some nurseries and in seed catalogs.
Place the starter plants directly in the garden area or scatter the seeds thinly, barely covering them with soil, in the spring. It is not necessary to amend the soil before planting because this plant is very hardy. In a warmer climate zones, such as USDA zones 10 and 11, purslane can be planed in April, May, October or November.
Water the area after you plant the seeds or starter plants, and keep it moist until the plants begin to spread. After they are established, water them once or twice each week, especially during very hot weather. Always water your plants until the soil is moist but not saturated.
Thin the seedlings to 3 inches apart, and if the flowering purslane begins to spread farther than you want, trim them or eliminate entire plants.
Feed your purslane any fertilizer that has an N-P-K ratio of 10-10-10 or balanced plant food once every month or six weeks. Mix it according to instructions on the manufacturer's label, but cut the perscribed amount of fertilizer in half.
Things You Will Need
- Sandy soil
- Flowering purslane seeds should germinate within one to three weeks of planting. Two months later, they will begin to flower.
- Although this plant is an annual, it freely self-seeds. After fall frost kills your plants, you should see more plants emerging from the soil in spring.
- Prevent root rot by planting your flowering purslane in well-drained soil. A plant disease called white rust can infect purslane. If you notice swollen, poorly-formed branches and leaves with white pustules, pull out your plant(s) and destroy them.
- If you put cut pieces of this plant in your compost pile, chances are they will take root. Avoid this if you don’t want flowering purslane all over your yard.
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