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Care of Portulaca

By Willow Sidhe ; Updated September 21, 2017

Portulaca, also known as purslane or moss rose, is an annual herb commonly grown for its numerous colorful blossoms. Portulaca produces red, pink, orange, yellow and white flowers during spring and summer. It typically reaches about 5 inches in height, making it a popular choice for a ground cover. The plant is more often used in flower gardens, however, as it is an annual. Portulaca is relatively care-free and requires only basic maintenance to thrive.

Plant portulaca during late spring in a location that receives six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day. Spread 1 inch of aged manure over the planting site and use a garden tiller to incorporate it into the soil. Space portulaca plants 12 inches apart.

Spread a 1 inch layer of mulch over the soil surrounding portulaca. Start the layer at least 2 inches from the base of the plant to allow room for growth and air circulation. Replenish the mulch as necessary whenever it is visibly deteriorated.

Water portulaca once every four days during the first three weeks of growth. Reduce frequency thereafter to once per week, but never allow to dry out completely. Do not splash water on the leaves during applications, as moist foliage is more vulnerable to fungal infestations and disease.

Feed portulaca once every two months using a low-nitrogen 0-10-10 NPK fertilizer to encourage the plant to focus on flowers instead of foliage. Apply following the manufacturer's instructions for proper dosage and application.

Remove portulaca flowers that are faded or dead to conserve nutrients, improve aesthetic appeal and encourage the formation of new flowers. Pinch off the flowers near their point of origin to minimize damage to the rest of the plant.


Things You Will Need

  • Aged manure
  • Garden tiller
  • Mulch
  • Fertilizer


  • Use pine needles, chopped leaves or grass clippings to mulch portulaca.
  • Portulaca plants typically begin to die with the first frost of winter.

About the Author


Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including Gardenguides.com.