Plant and Garden

Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) Care and Information

Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) is an annual trailing plant that grows in many countries because it thrives in poor soil. This plant is an invasive species, introduced to North American from India and Persia. Purslane is commonly called pigweed, little hogweed, fatweed and pusley.

Purslane is often found thriving in the cracks of sidewalks and driveways even during summer’s heat.

It often pops up in container gardens, flowerbeds, gardens, fields, waste ground, and roadside through natural propagation. Most likely through the bird and other animal droppings.

Purslane blooms open around 9:00 in the morning and closes for good at various times in the day, depending on the heat.

Purslane To Save The World!…

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Purslane is used in the main traditional medical systems of India (Siddha, Ayurveda, and Unani Tibb). The juice made from the whole plant is given to children against gastrointestinal worms (hookworms).

The plant is eaten to treat scurvy (vitamin C deficiency), as an antioxidant, and to treat diseases of the lungs, kidneys, and liver.

The leaves are eaten against scurvy, to treat urinary problems and against gonorrhea. Teas made from the whole plant are taken against parasites. The leaves are also applied externally for skin problems and mastitis. The seeds are astringent, demulcent, diuretic, and vermicide (kill gastrointestinal worms).

Propagating Purslane

Purslane flowers grow at the tips of the fat stems from late spring through late summer. The flowers typically open from mid-morning to early afternoon on hot, sunny days. The flowers grow egg-shaped capsules that yield brown to black, flattened seeds that are egg-shaped or round.

Planting Seeds

Purslane seeds need to be placed in moist sphagnum peat in a freezer bag and refrigerated for two to three weeks to break their natural winter dormancy.

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Seeds are typically sown in a commercial planting mix in peat pots seven to eight weeks before the expected date of the last frost.

When they are kept in light at a temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit, they should germinate in one to three weeks.

Seedlings are planted outdoor 6 to 24 inches apart in the late spring. Planted outdoors it should be sown no more than 1/2 inch deep with soil temperatures of 90 degrees F.

Cultivation

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Purslane stems lay flat on the ground and radiate outward from a single taproot sometimes forming large mats. Once it starts growing purslane does not require special attention in the form of watering or fertilizing. It grows rapidly on its own, producing flowers for about three weeks.

Purslane spreads rapidly when it is allowed to go to seed.

Plants that are uprooted but not removed from the site may begin growing again. Plants need to be pulled by hand to keep them from spreading.

Running a tiller through the roots and runners simply chop the purslane into pieces each of which can begin growing again.

Why Purslane Does Not Bloom…

Purslane is beautiful, vibrant plants, but when there are no flowers on portulaca, it can be disappointing and downright frustrating.

When a Purslane doesn’t bloom, there may be problems with the growing conditions. Although portulaca is an amazingly low-maintenance plant that thrives on neglect, it still has certain requirements for healthy growth.

Purslane prefers poor, dry, well-drained soil. If portulaca won’t bloom, it may be because the soil is too rich or too soggy. Although you can add sand or a small amount of compost to the soil, it may be easier to start over in a new location.

Although Purslane thrives in difficult conditions, they still benefit from a regular drink of water. As a general rule, one deep watering per week during hot, dry weather is sufficient. However, a little extra water won’t hurt if the soil drains freely.

Purslane thrives in intense heat and punishing sunlight. Too much shade may be to blame when there are no flowers on moss rose. As a general rule, portulaca needs six to eight hours of sunlight per day.

Deadheading may be impractical when Purslane is in full bloom, but removing old blooms is extremely effective for stimulating new blooms on a poorly blooming plant.

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Aphids are tiny pests that can wreak havoc when they attack a Purslane plant en masse.

Unfortunately, spider mites, which love dry, dusty conditions, may be responsible when a moss rose plant doesn’t bloom. Mites are easy to spot by the fine webbing they leave on the foliage.

Both pests are easy to treat with regular applications of insecticidal soap spray. Apply the spray in the morning or evening when temperatures are cool and the sun isn’t directly on the plant.  We use Dawn dish soap in a pump up sprayer.

Purslane ChowChow…

This succulent plant contains about 93% water. It has red stems and small, green leaves. It has a slightly sour or salty taste, similar to spinach and watercress. It can be used in many of the same ways as spinach and lettuce, such as in salads or sandwiches.

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Purslane is a green, leafy vegetable that can be eaten raw or cooked. Edible parts of the plants are the leaves, stems and flower buds. This succulent can be great to use in salads, soups, stews or any dish you wish to sprinkle it over.

In the Mediterranean, it is used in soups and salads and has lots of potential health benefits. It lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels because of its omega-3 fatty acids.

In Mexico, it is often used in omelets, stews and many other recipes. For a very intense flavor, the wilder varieties are much tastier. Some say it has a lemony taste or is similar to watercress, but I’ve also heard people compare it to the taste of spinach.

Portulaca oleracea, the green, and wildest variety have tiny yellow flowers. It is a serious weed to most farmers and they want to get rid of it, but it’s very difficult to do.  It reseeds itself when you disturb the plants. Portulaca sativa is golden purslane and it’s often found in herb gardens and is the favorite among chefs.

This plant contains…

  • Vitamin A (from beta-carotene): 26% of the DV.
  • Vitamin C: 35% of the DV.
  • Magnesium: 17% of the DV.
  • Manganese: 15% of the DV.
  • Potassium: 14% of the DV.
  • Iron: 11% of the DV.
  • Calcium: 7% of the RDI.
  • It also contains small amounts of vitamins B1, B2, B3, folate, copper and phosphorus.
You get all of these nutrients with only 16 calories!
This makes it one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, calorie for calorie.
  • Food Processor
  • 16 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 4 tomatillos, diced
  • 3 cups of purslane leaves and new stems, diced
  • 4 green chiles, diced
  • 2 yellow and 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 1 white or purple onion, diced
  • 1 bunch of green onions, diced
  • 2 to 4 jalapeños, diced fine (I like my salsa hot)
  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro, diced fine
  • The juice of 2 limes
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced fine, or garlic powder to taste
  • Lawry’s seasoned salt, to taste


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