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Portulaca

Sunrose, Moss Rose or Purslane

Portulaca is a genus of brilliantly flowered succulent plants most often used for annual bedding displays in warm dry conditions.


Primarily low growing and sprawling, the succulent stems and leaves creep along the ground and bloom in bright coloured satiny crinkled flowers all summer, with blooms opening only in full sun.

The flowers come in all shades of pink, red, yellow and orange.

Not frost hardy, Portulaca will die back as soon as colder weather arrives.

They can be used with great effect and low maintenance in the worst of conditions – the ‘hell strip’ alongside roadways, traffic islands and parking lots, in hanging baskets and on slopes in full sun and well drained soil.

They are excellent in shallow containers and rock gardens, or planted among other larger succulents as a groundcover.

Portulaca 'Sun Jewels'

As one of the best known succulent plants it’s easy to grow from seeds or cuttings, and fills in quickly forming a thick blanket and will root along the length of its fleshy stems to prevent soil erosion.

The variety of Portulaca ‘Sun Jewels’ has abundant flowers in orange and yellow shades, and the variety ‘Wildfire’ is grown mainly in hanging baskets with its profuse tiny flowers in many shades of red, white, yellow and orange.

Many annual types such as ‘Magic Carpet’, ‘Sunglo’ and ‘Sunkist’ will grow rapidly and easily from seed, and will self sow the following season in the right spot. These have brightly coloured tissue paper blooms in all shades of yellow, white, orange, red and pink.

The weed type of Portulaca oleracea, or purslane is sometimes grown as a pot herb, to be cooked and eaten. The French grow it as pourpier, and many people of Mexican extraction call it verdolaga. Use caution if introducing it to your garden, as it can be quite invasive. Luckily, although it self seeds profusely, its shallow spreading root system can be a benefit to prevent soil erosion.

Ease of growth, low maintenance and minimal water requirements make this the perfect filler plant for difficult sites, performing flawlessly throughout the summer.

See more Portulaca below...

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