Growing Portulaca Flowers
Portulaca: Sun-Lover Blossoms Without Too Much Fuss
Portulaca is a native to Europe, Asia, North Africa and America. It is also known as Moss Rose (Rose Moss), Time Flower, Little Hogweed, Sun Plant, Verdolaga, and Wax Pink. In some countries such as Greece, Portulaca is often called Purslane, particularly for culinary use. Did you know that Portulaca or Purslane can be eaten both raw and cooked?
Portulaca plants are low-growing spreaders that carry showy, cup-shaped single or double flowers. They also carry thick, fleshy and succulent leaves. The flowers come in various shades of pink, red, yellow, orange, gold and white. Portulaca plants are drought-tolerant annuals. In fact, they can survive hot and dry environment. You can even plant them in poor or sandy soil. If you want a simple remedy to cracks and crevices, then plant portulacas in a rock wall or along sidewalks. Expect tiny, cute blossoms peeking through the cracks by next year.
Portulaca is easy to start from seed. It’s best to grow them directly outdoors after the last frost date. But if your area has shorter growing seasons, then you can sow the seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before transplanting them outdoors.
You can germinate the seeds by following these simple steps.
- Mix Portulaca seeds in a growing medium then set in a freezer bag.
- Keep the medium moist. Leave it for 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator.
- Start the seeds in peat pots so you can easily plant them directly into the ground. This will also minimize transplant shock. Light is required throughout the germination process. Temperature must be 75°F (24°C). Germination takes approximately one to three weeks.
- Transplant the seedlings outdoors in the last month of spring.
If you opt to plant directly into your garden, choose the best location then rake the soil surface. Sow/Scatter the seeds without covering them. Allow 4-inch to 24-inch spacing in between.
How to Grow Portulaca
Actually, the portulaca plant is not fussy and does not require much care. It can adapt to average garden conditions, provided that the plant receives full sun and that the soil is well-drained. Basically, after finding a sunny location for your portulacas, just water them after sowing and voila! You can simply watch them grow. With this in mind, why not reserve problem areas in your garden for portulacas? They are great container plants that do not easily languish even without regular watering.
Moreover, you do not have to deadhead and to apply fertilizer frequently. In fact, excessive fertilizer will only produce thick foliage and fewer blooms. Portulaca grows about 4 to 8 inches tall and spread 6 to 8 inches wide. They bloom profusely in the spring. Now, if your portulacas get scraggly, cut them back.
Portulacas can spread easily but not to the extent of being a pest or nuisance. It’s just that, they self-sow in the garden. It’s safe to say that portulacas are more attractive than ordinary weeds. But if you fear portulacas might take over your garden, control the spread of Portulaca plants by removing them before they have chance to set seed. Additionally, take note that self-sown seeds may vary from original plants. Hybrid cultivars may have smaller blooms or fewer shades.
What’s great about portulacas? They make a great companion plant since their roots can deeply penetrate through tough soils. This enables their neighboring plants to access moisture and nutrients underneath the ground.