Portulaca, also called dandurus, is a member of the family Portulaceae. In nature, it is found in the Northern Hemisphere, more specifically in areas with a tropical climate. According to data taken from various sources this genus includes 100-200 species.
Portulacum prefers to grow on the sandy wet soil along the shores of various water bodies, including rivers, and also can be found in fields, gardens and vegetable gardens. The genus got its name from the word "portula", which is Latin for "little gate, gate", this is due to the fact that the seed capsule of the plant opens like a miniature door.
In the middle latitudes such a flower is called "mat". Back in the Middle Ages, portulacas were very popular in Europe. However, it was most often cultivated by the English, and at first they grew it as a vegetable rather than a garden crop. Only 1 species is cultivated by gardeners, namely the large-flowered portulaca (Portulaca grandiflora).
Brief description of cultivation
Seeds are sown in April for seedlings, and grown seedlings are planted in open soil in June.
- Flowering. Starts in June and ends in mid-autumn.
- Brightness. Needs plenty of bright sunlight.
- Ground. Grows well on stony or sandy soil, which should be dry and poor.
- Pouring. Systematic. Its abundance depends on weather conditions and may vary from scanty to moderate.
- Fertilizer. Does not need fertilizing.
- Propagation. By seeds.
- Disease. It is highly resistant to disease, but can be affected by a disease whose causative agent is the fungus Albugo portulaceae.
- Properties. This medicinal plant is noted for its antiparasitic effects.
Peculiarities of portulaceae
In middle latitudes, portulac is cultivated by gardeners as an annual, since it is unable to overwinter in the open ground even under shelter. The height of the shrub is not more than 0.3 meters. The root of the flower is branched and spindle-shaped. The brown shoots are succulent and branched, adorned with fleshy leaf plates which are hollow inside and can be cylindrical or flattened egg-like in shape.
During flowering, which occurs in June-September, yellow, white or dark red flowers appear on the shrub. The lifespan of a single flower is only 1 day, by evening it is already fading. However, due to the fact that the flowering is very lush, it can seem to last continuously. The fruit is a globular, multi-seeded box. In addition to garden purslane, which is cultivated in pots, beds, hanging baskets and containers, vegetable purslane or kitchen garden purslane can be found in gardens and is considered both a weed and a medicinal plant as well as a salad plant.
Growing portulaca from seed
Most gardeners believe it is best to grow portulaca through seedlings. However, gardeners disagree on the best time to start sowing seeds. Some say that the seeds should be sown in the last days of February or the first days of March, but in this case the seedlings will need extra light. Others, who are equally experienced gardeners, say that you shouldn't hurry, and that it's better to sow portulaca in April, when the daylight hours are longer and the young plants have enough natural light. This is because any ready-made potting soil sold at specialist stores contains peat, which slows down the germination of the seeds of this plant.
To prepare a suitable substrate, combine garden soil with sand in a ratio of 1:5. Mix everything well and disinfect the mixture by burning in the oven. Take a low container, on the bottom of which there are holes for drainage, and put a layer of fine claydite or gravel in it. Then fill it with disinfected substrate, which is sprinkled with melted water (you can take well settled water). Spread the seeds evenly over the surface of the soil mixture, the distance between them should be about 10 mm, it is very convenient and easy to do it with a moistened toothpick.
The seeds are not covered with the substrate on top, but they are only slightly pressed into the soil mixture. Then, a frame is made over the container, on which the film is stretched, as a result, you will have a mini greenhouse. It is transferred to such a well-lit place, in which the air temperature is not below 22 degrees. However, portulaca germinates best at around 30 degrees. SOWING PORTULACA SEEDS.
UPDATE. SEASON 2019
If everything is done correctly, then the first seedlings should show after 7-15 days, immediately after that the cover from the container is removed. Further care of the seedlings is reduced to systematic watering through the tray, using well-drained water. If you see that the seedlings begin to actively stretch, it means that they lack light. In this case, it is recommended to provide seedlings extra light.
To do this, it is interspersed with daylight lamps in the morning for a couple of hours, and even artificial light turned on for a few hours in the evening. You can also use a simple desk lamp for extra light. If the day is cloudy, then the lamps are not turned off throughout the day. However, if you sow in April and place the seedlings in a south-facing window, they do not need extra light.
After the plants have developed their first couple of true leaf plates, they should be picked.
To do this, take small cups, which reach 70 to 80 mm across, planted in them at once three seedlings, and try to keep the root ball. And 7 days after they are fully acclimatized, they are fed for the first time, using a complex mineral fertilizer. After this time, fertilize the bushes regularly once every 1-1.5 weeks until they are transplanted to the permanent location.
Portulaca planting in the open field
What time to plant
Portulaca is planted in the open field approximately in the first half of June when the danger of frost returns has passed.
There is no point in doing it earlier because if it is colder than 10 degrees outside the leaves will start to fall off.
To plant this plant in a well lit, elevated area. Remember that if you plant such a flower even in a small penumbra, it will not bloom. If the planting site is in a low place where water stagnates frequently or where the ground water is very close to the surface, the roots can rot, killing the portulaca. A sandy poor soil is best for growing this flower but if the bushes are planted in a fertile soil then they will actively accumulate green mass to the detriment of flowering.
Transplanting into the open soil is recommended only after the plants have developed 10 to 15 true leaf plates and a few buds. When planting the seedlings you should take into account that the distance between the bushes should be no less than 15-20 centimetres. After planting the plants in the ground during the first two or three days they need daily watering, especially if it is dry weather. The first flowers on the plant will appear only 6-7 weeks after the seedlings appear.
Grooming for purslane
Growing in an open field requires systematic watering for proper growth and development.
Its leaves can hold moisture but will bloom very poorly if not watered on time. This flower throughout the growing season will not need any weeding, feeding, pruning, and you will not have to loosen the soil surface near the bushes. Just water in time.
PORTULAC - Cultivation Care
Diseases and Pests
Growing portulacas is easy even for beginners and for those who do not have enough time to care for flowers. There is also nothing difficult about growing the shaggy plant, as sowing and taking care of it is no different from growing the large-flowered portulaca or the vegetable plant.
But in those years when a large number of aphids attack gardens, the portulac can also suffer from it. To get rid of such a sucking pest, experts advise, resort to the help of insecticide preparations. For example, aphids are effectively fought with Aktellik, a solution of which must be processed Portulak, if necessary re-spraying is carried out after 7 days.
Rarely, but still portulac can infect the fungus Albugo portulaceae. In this case, the diseased plant's stems will become deformed and spots will form on its foliage.
All diseased parts should be cut back and the shrubs treated with a copper-containing fungicide.
Care after flowering
Regularly cut off all flowers that have begun to fade from the bushes and remember that if they wither, you will not be able to notice the ripe fruit in time, which may open at any time and its seeds will fall to the ground. In warm, dry weather after pollination, seed ripening will be complete in about 15 days. But if it is quite cool outside in the summer and fall, then seed maturation can take up to 30 days. You should also take into account that seeds you have just harvested will not germinate until the following spring, but they will keep germinating well for three years.
For this reason, in the fall, when the bushes have finished blooming, they are dug up and the soil on the plot is recultivated. Starting to grow portulaca, remember that it reproduces perfectly by self-seeding. So if you plant it just once, you will be able to admire its spectacular blooms every year.
Benefits of Portulaca
Portulaca as a medicinal plant was known already in the times of Galen and Hippocrates. At that time, people believed that the seeds of such a plant helped to purify the body, and its leaves were used as an antidote to snakebite.
The leaves were used to make a paste which was used to soothe swellings of the eyes, and it was also taken internally with wine which helped relieve bladder pain and cured the stomach. And Arab healers combined the finely chopped leaves of this plant with wine and used the resulting mixture to relieve rust inflammation, remove warts and treat acne.
Today official medicine widely uses the antiparasitic properties of this flower, and doctors also advise including it in the diet of those who suffer from a mild form of diabetes.
Portulaca species and varieties with photos
Portulaca grandiflora (Portulaca grandiflora)
This perennial plant comes from South America, but is cultivated as an annual in middle latitudes. It cannot grow taller than 0.
3 m because it has lopsided shoots. The small fleshy leaflets are cylindrical in shape. The single flowers, which reach 30-40 mm in cross-section, are cup-shaped and may be tepals or simple. They have a similar appearance to the tea rose and can be colored cream, yellow, purple, white, beige or red. There are some varieties which are bicolored.
Flowering is long - from June until the last days of October.
- Double Mix. Terry variety. Most often found on sale as a portulaca seed mix.
This low-growing variety is about 10-12 centimeters tall, with powerful shoots adorned with swollen cherry flowers that reach about 50 mm across.
- CreamHybrid. The creamy terry flowers reach about 50 mm across, with a darker shade in the middle.
- Sunglo. This variety differs from the others in having the largest flowers.
They do not close even on a cloudy day, as do the Cloudbiter and Sundance varieties.
Portulaca vegetable, or Portulaca oleracea)
This annual plant is about 0.3 m tall. It propagates very well by self-seeding. On strongly branched shoots there are oblong-lobed leaf laminae.
Yellowish flowers reach 0.7 to 0.8 cm across. This species grows in groups. Flowering begins in June and only ends at the end of the summer period.
It is valued for its medicinal properties and good taste.
Portulac flowers - planting and care, growing portulac from seeds in the open ground