Growing Purslane (Portulaca)

Category Succulents
Thriving in a hot, dry climate these edible plants, also called pigweed, are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. This is a page about growing purslane (portulaca).


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Yes, those are Portulaca umbraticola. Mine grow so thickly, I find myself thinning them every year. Here are some thinnings I haven't yet picked up and taken to the compost pile.

Anything special here? Indeed there is! The Life Force. Within these plant's programs are instructions to make seed so that the program, itself, will continue.

These thinnings were ripped from their bed five days ago. Since that time, they have had no food nor water. Even during their slow, but inevitable death, their programs continue to play. They will do so til the very last.

At day five, one program still very active in these plants, is for the blooms to open and close several times a day, triggered by the changes in intensity of light.

So, without food or water, or even a root system, the will to survive and procreate is very much alive in these dying plants. How is that?

If we knew everything, there would be no mysteries, life would be very boring.

What is life?
Life is a program. Consciousness is that instrument on which the program is played.

But then, Consciousness is a program, too.
You knew that, didn't you?

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Purslane, a type of portulaca, was the scourge of the 17th, 18th, and 19th century European gardener. They detested it so, they gave it names like 'Pusley' and Hogweed, no doubt they fattened many a hog on this stuff.


I have read many accounts of how these farmers fought this foe for most of their lives. That still didn't prepare me for the persevering purslane I planted. In an earlier post, I mentioned how all the red purslane in the picture above came from one small stem I planted two years ago. Actually, it was about fifteen months ago. What's more, cuttings from this one piece are planted in a double row of sunken gutters, each just five inches wide and four inches deep. It is crowding out my grass. I'm pulling it all up. Three or four plants will fill a bushel basket! I'm throwing it in the driveway, from there, on to the compost pile. I haven't been feeling well, lately, so, these plants have been lying in my driveway for a week.

These on my shaded compost pile have been there almost that long. They all continue to open and close every day at their appointed times. Their clocks and light sensors are still going strong. That is perseverance! A wonderful perseverance! The will to survive is truly the strongest force in the Universe.


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There are several different kinds of Portulaca. Probably the most often grown by the home gardener is Portulaca pilosa. It's common name is moss rose. With a 25¢ pack of seed from a local dollar store, you can have a pretty, multi colored display of low growing, almost carefree flowers from spring to late fall.

One particular Portulaca is considered to be an invasive weed. It is the Portulaca oleracea. It's common name is purslane. By many European gardeners, it is known as Pusley. Though considered a weed, it was often used as a supplement to the diet, usually added to soups and stews.

There is a sub species of Portulaca oleracea known as Poleracea sativa. It has much larger, more succulent leaves than it's weedy relative. It also has a more agreeable taste. It is not bitter and tastes slightly lemony. It bears the common name golden purslane. This is the purslane studied most often to determine it's health benefits. It contains so many important nutrients, I won't even bother to list them here. You'll find many articles online detailing just how nutritious this plant actually is. It may be considered a near perfect food.

The list of ailments said to be helped by eating this purslane is also quite long. Again, you can read all about that, online. I grow golden purslane every year and can speak to at least two of it's non dietary benefits. It improves the appearance of the skin. Just a few days after eating as little as a tablespoon a day, I notice a sheen on my chest. A few days later, that sheen spreads to my arms and face. My skin keeps this sheen as long as I eat the purslane. I actually look healthier.

You can also read online about the anti-inflammatory agents found in this purslane. They are said to be just as effective as over the counter products without the negative effects such as stomach upset. Here is my account of those claims. I was having a really mean arthritis flair up. It was so bad, I could not walk. I was given a shot of steroids. Then I was put on a maintenance dose of 800 mg Tylenol every day. The Tylenol helped, but was causing stomach pain. By eating purslane every day, I was able to stop taking any of the Tylenol. I was just as pain free as when taking Tylenol and there was no stomach upset.

A word of caution to anyone considering using purslane as an anti-inflammatory: Most anti-inflammatories have blood thinning properties. So does the anti-inflammatory agents found in purslane. I would not advise using an over the counter anti-inflammatory and purslane at the same time, and if you are already taking a blood thinner, you probably shouldn't use purslane at all without a doctor's approval.

Another variety of purslane is Portulaca umbraticola. It's common name is 'wingpod portulaca'. This is the one you will likely find in garden centers, maybe along with the smaller pilosa. It is usually labeled 'purslane'. You're likely to find it in larger containers than pilosa which is usually sold in 6 cell packs. The wingpod is often sold as a hanging basket.

Two years ago. I had one small sprig of a red wingpod. Believe it or not, all the red flowering plants in the pictures came from that one sprig, and in just two years. Did I say invasive? I should have added 'aggressive. Maybe that's why the European farmers dislike the plant so much.

I taste all my portulacas. The golden purslane was my choice for eating as is or in a tossed salad. Since tasting the wingpod, it is now my choice. It has very little taste, and what there is reminds me of a new, tiny leaf of Buttercrunch lettuce.

I eat purslane only during it's growing season. I have tried freezing it for winter. When thawed, it is a brown mush. I tried dehydrating it. That was awful. I pickled 8 half pint jars. Edible but not very tasty. Purslanes like it very hot and dry. Growing it indoors over winter would be too costly.

After reading a lot of the many articles written on purslane, I will continue to grow it every year. As unbelievably healthy for you as it is, more studies may reveal even more benefits.

Give it a try, Y'all. Maybe a few leaves in a tossed salad?

Source: My Garden and The Internet

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I have a row of these stunning fuchsia beauties that open each morning along my walk. They create a beautiful splash of color to anyone who happens to come along.


Their awesome beauty is breath-taking!

Beautiful pink flowers

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There are so many varieties of portulaca, I get confused. Understandable, as the taxonomists don't always agree on what's what in this Portulacaceae family. If I'm not mistaken, here, I am growing Portulaca Grandiflora, commonly known as 'Moss Rose'.

Portulaca Grandiflora Border - portulaca in rain gutter planters

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Portulaca oleracea, also called moss rose, used to grow everywhere: sidewalk cracks, old logs, piles of rotting leaves, and in the front-yard flower beds of every home on our block.

varying colored flowers on portulaca

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

July 13, 2010

This are my beautiful May flowers. I love rose moss and grow lots of it every year.

By Mary from Ingleside, TX

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