Portulaca are a beacon to butterflies with their brightly coloured flowers on low growing, sun-loving plants that make great ground cover and add a splash of colour around the edges of containers and hanging baskets. Easy to grow and well worth sowing for the masses of double flowers that are crowded with petals in shades of cream, orange, pink, red, rose, yellow and white. Great for growing on the edge of veg beds, along pathways and in containers.
Companions Plant with tomatoes
Sow or plant in early spring and summer countrywide.
Portulaca grows best in full sun.
Portulaca is shallow-rooted and needs a fairly well drained soil. Avoid over-watering.
Sow indoors in seed raising compost in punnets or trays 6-8 weeks before you want to plant out. Alternatively, sow seed outdoors after soil warms and all risk of frost has passed. Cultivate soil so that it is loose and free from lumps, firm soil gently and then sow seed on the surface - don’t bother covering seeds, just lightly press down on them to ensure good contact with soil.
When your seedlings are about a finger’s length in height and the weather has settled and is reliably warm and sunny, plant seedlings at an average spacing of about two hand’s length apart (40cm). I usually dot them around the vegetable garden on the fringes where its sunny and soil is drier. Keep an eye out for slugs.
Water young seedlings in dry periods. Once they are established and starting to grow you shouldn’t need to continue with watering unless weather is persistently dry and young plants show signs of wilting.
Keep picking flowers to prolong blooming.
Portulaca can self-seed freely given the right conditions.