Host: Gary Bachman, Ornamental Horticulture Specialist
Purslane has long been regarded by many as a weed, but it can be a nice addition to your landscape today on Southern Gardening.
I read once that many flowering plants we use in our landscapes are really only one or two steps out of the ditch. This is especially true of some of the new varieties being introduced to the market.
Purslane is one of the newer plants that I have been interested in, but is really an old plant. It is a succulent that thrives in high summer temperatures. Purslane’s summer-loving qualities make the improved selections perfect for the landscape. Purslane is a larger and more robust version of its relative, the popular bedding plant portulaca. Some of the better-flowering selections are in the Rio series, and colors include rose, scarlet, apricot, orange, yellow and white.
Rio purslanes will grow up to 8 inches tall and spread to 18 inches, so space them 12-15 inches apart in the landscape. The stems are purplish-green, and the leaves are bright green. Plant in full sun. It is important to allow the well drained amended landscape soil to dry out moderately between watering. Regular pinching will keep the plants dense and full. Water once a week with a water soluble fertilizer.
Purslane is considered a culinary herb in many parts of the world. The succulent leaves are rich in iron and can be eaten raw when young. It is commonly found in Italian, Greek, Central American and Middle Eastern cuisines. Purslane is a beautiful old plant that is worth trying in every Mississippi landscape. I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.