Portulaca (Portulaca grandiflora), also known as large-flowered portulaca, is a plant species of the genus Portulaca (Portulaca) and belongs to the Portulacae family (Portulacaceae). In its native Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, the succulent plant grows on very sunny, dry and sandy slopes. Even if the Portulakröschen originally comes from South America, it naturalized itself in middle and southeast Europe in places.
The bushy summer flower grows to a height of between 10 and 15 centimeters, with the flat, low shoots spreading rapidly. Because of its broad, overhanging growth, the annual plant is ideal for balcony boxes and hanging baskets.
Portulaca grandiflora’s lanceolate, fleshy, thickened leaves appear dark green and somewhat wavy. Since the needle-shaped, 1 to 2.5 centimeter long leaves can store water and nutrients well, the succulent plant also survives summer periods of stress.
From June to August, the large, rose-like flowers of the purslane crest enchant. They are often available in pastel colours, but also strongly tinted. The colour palette ranges from white to yellow, orange and pink to red and violet. The entire colour spectrum can also be seen on a single plant. The flowers have a diameter of about four centimeters and usually open only in sunshine. Dense, golden-yellow stamens emerge between the tender, cupped and silky shimmering petals. In warm, dry summers the flowers appear particularly numerous. Beside the simple flowers there are also filled forms. Some varieties have a sweet evening scent.
Portulaca grandiflora forms capsules. The tiny seeds contained appear grey-black to black.
In order for the frost-sensitive purslane anemone to show its full flowering splendour, it needs a place in a fully sunny, rain-protected location. On cloudy days, the flowers do not open at all or open incompletely. As a tub plant, the purslane cröschen feels at home on sunny terraces and south-facing balconies.
The substrate should be loose, permeable and not too nutritious. It is best to mix standard soil with about one third sand. Before placing the purslane crumb in a plant container with a sandy-humic substrate, add a drainage layer to be on the safe side. In this way you avoid harmful waterlogging.
The purslane crösch requires little water and only needs to be poured gently. Through stocks in its fleshy leaves, the succulent plant can compensate irregularities in the water supply well.
As far as the supply of nutrients is concerned, purslane crösches are also very undemanding. It is quite sufficient if you supply Portulaca grandiflora with a low-dose fertilizer every four to six weeks.
Regularly remove the faded parts of the plant when crushing purslane. This stimulates the formation of new flowers.
The frugal purslane crösches are ideal for planting pots, boxes and bowls in sunny locations. Since their shoots like to overhang, they look particularly decorative in hanging baskets or traffic lights. If you want to combine Portulaca grandiflora with other plants, choose species that do not require a lot of water. Suitable companions are for example Gazania or midday flowers (Dorotheanthus). Not only do they harmonise in colour, they also tolerate strong sunlight or heat. In addition, purslane crösches are suitable as ground cover or edging plant in beds or rock gardens. Despite their low growth, the flower beauties look decorative even without a companion.
Whether filled, half-filled or unfilled: Portulaca grandiflora has many varieties and blends. The varieties of the ‘Margarita’ series are densely filled. Sundance’ is a colour mixture of semi-double, long open flowers. Depending on the colour desired, the varieties of the ‘Sundial’ series are also available. Portulaca grandiflora ‘Sundial White’ bewitches with white flowers, ‘Sundial Gold’ shines in bright yellow, ‘Sundial Chiffon’ in pink and ‘Sundial Fuchsia’ in pink.
Portula crösches are usually grown from seeds. A pre-culture in the room is recommended between March and May. During cultivation you should keep the young plants moist and fertilise them every three weeks. Laying out three to five seeds per pot saves the need for pricking. From mid-May, direct sowing into the desired planters, such as the balcony box, is also possible. Once the plants are pruned, they grow bushier. From the end of May you can place the frost-sensitive young plants outside at a distance of 15 centimeters. Alternatively, cuttings that spend the winter at 10 to 15 degrees are rooted in the summer.
Diseases and pests
In general, the purslane herb is very robust and is rarely attacked by pests. While snails pose no danger, occasional aphids or thunderbugs or thrips may occur. Stem rot is also possible.
In an interview with our store editor Dieke van Dieken, plant doctor René Wadas reveals his tips against aphids.Credits: Production: Folkert Siemens; Camera and Editing: Fabian Primsch