Purslane belongs to the Portulaca plant genus and is a tangy, nutritious green vegetable that adds a lemony taste to salads and other dishes. The stems, seeds and leaves are good additions to stir-fry dishes and the green seedpods are sometimes pickled and used in place of capers. Many people look at this plant as a weed, but its nutritional value and value as a companion plant makes it something you should reconsider.
Weeding is no fun. Anything a gardener can do to reduce the hours spent pulling unwanted plants, the better, in many people’s opinion. You can help to reduce weeds in your cornfield or patch by introducing purslane as a groundcover. Its succulent leaves and spreading habit will help keep the soil cool and moist under your corn stalks and it also will shade out uninvited plants whose seeds have landed in the area where it grows.
Basil will benefit when you grow it near purslane. With its spreading growth habit, purslane helps to shade the soil around basil plants, helping them to remain fresh in hot weather. Most other herbs are companions with purslane as well.
If you grow any grains such as wheat, millet, amaranth or rye, consider planting purslane between the rows. It will thrive in the shade of these taller plants and will help to keep weeds away.
When you plant purslane in your vegetable garden, these edible plants will benefit from the cooling effect purslane has on soil temperature. Vegetables that are companions to purslane include cabbage, lettuce, beets, turnips, radishes and carrots.
Purslane is found in uncultivated areas and often grows in the same habitats as wildflowers and other native plants in many regions. All species of poppies are companions with purslane, as are many varieties of clover.