Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
The common purslane is now a widespread weed in many parts of the world. However, there are flowering varieties that are very suitable for landscapes.
Often, purslane blossoms are yellow. These typically occur towards the ends of the leafy stems.
Flowering purslanes can fulfill various roles in the garden. Theyíre a popular container plant. This is an ideal choice for dry, sun-drenched gardens. These can be used in informal flower beds, mixed borders, and rock gardens. Theyíre especially suitable for banks and hillsides where it is typically hard to water.
Flowering purslanes look quite different than the typical moss rose, which is a totally different species of portulaca.
The leaves of purslane tend to be much wider and thicker than those of moss rose. Purslane foliage is typically shaped like teardrops. These are widely spaced on purslane, while theyíre massed together on moss rose.
The overall size of the two plants can be similar, anywhere from one to two feet across. The stems of purslane are often red. Usually prostrate, they look almost like spokes on a wheel. On the other hand, it is sometimes hard to see the individual stems of moss rose.
Comparing the general appearance of the two species, moss rose has a rather elegant, refined look. In contrast, the purslane is more like a country cousin with a somewhat coarse appearance.
Flowering purslane requires little attention. If these plants arenít receiving enough sun, the plant growth will be weak. In addition, it wonít be near as floriferous.
This species needs a very well drained soil. Purslane will actually do better in a richer soil than moss rose.
If flowering purslane isnít fertilized on a regular basis, it will produce fewer flowers. The stems can get woody and unattractive. If you donít add a time-release formula at planting time, use a water soluble fertilizer every ten days or so. Use a balanced formula. Too much nitrogen can interfere with flowering.
When fertilizing container gardens, apply enough of the fertilizer solution so that it drains out the potís holes. This insures that soluble salts donít build up in the potting soil and damage the plants.
Depending on the variety, purslanes are typically grown from cuttings. However, some varieties can also be grown from seeds.