Portulaca: Low maintenance flowering plants – best suitable for hanging baskets

Portulaca: Low maintenance flowering plants – best suitable for hanging baskets
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Image Source: Joydeep / Wikimedia Commons (Image Cropped)

The portulaca are very beautiful low-growing plants. Portulaca tolerates blazing sun and attracts honeybees by the delicate blossoms. Colors include red, purple, violet, white and blue. The succulent portulaca leaves serve as a marvelous drought-tolerance for the low-growing annual flower. Portulaca is particularly well suited for growing fleshy, succulent leaves, red stems, and colorful cactus-like flowers in containers on patios and decks.

Quick Details of Portulaca

Other Common NamesThe sun rose, moss rose
TypeFlowering ornamental plant.
MaintenanceLow
FloweringSummer
LightBright direct light
WaterWater when the soil is dry.
TemperatureCan survive the harsh climate
SoilAny well-draining potting soil
FertilizerAny house plant fertilizer
HabitatBrazil, Argentina, and Uruguay.
ToxicityPoisonous to cats
Common DiseasesGray blight, aphids
Scientific namePortulaca (Genus)

Portulaca Buying Instructions

  • There should be multiple plants in the pot which you are buying.
  • There are about 100 species of Portulaca so select plant based on your color and variety
  • You can buy multiple plants and then re-pot in some bigger pot for having multiple color flowers in single pot.
  • Plant should look healthy and fresh.

Overview of Portulaca

They are low growing herbaceous plants belonging to the family of portulacaceae. It is distributed mostly in semi-arid regions of Africa, Australia, and South America. This family consists of 115 species belonging to a single genus. They are easy to grow. They have long succulent cylindrical leaves and appear in clusters. The plant can spread up to 12 inches. The flowers look like rose and mostly seen in red, orange, yellow, white colors.

Special features:

They are low lying and used as ground cover. The fibrous roots of the plant hold on to the soil, thus preventing soil erosion. A species P. oleracea has nutritive value and is used as a vegetable. It also has medicinal values. They are rich sources of omega 3 fatty acids.

Usage and Advantage of Portulaca

  • It is used as an ornamental plant.
  • Portulaca is best candidate for hanging baskets.
  • Some species of portulaca have medicinal properties and are used for treating various diseases.
  • They are said to be antibacterial.
  • Some species are consumed due to them being rich in vitamins and fatty acids.
  • It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

General Care for Portulaca

Soil: Portulaca flowers tolerate many soil types but prefer sandy, well-drained soil, and full sunlight. These plants are excellent for high tolerance to heat and drought and will seed and spread very well.

Light: They prefer bright sunlight and the plants are seen to show maximum growth when the temperature is warmer.

Water: There is no need for regular watering for proper care of the portulaca. The portulaca flower’s cylindrical foliage very well retains moisture, so frequent watering is not needed. Only a light watering would do when they are drained, as their root zone is very shallow.

Pruning: The plant can spread fast and to undesired places. So, some control methods should be adopted to prevent it from spreading to unwanted places.

Fertilizer: Portulaca does not need the supply of fertilizers. They can grow in normal fertile soil. However, the use of a little bit of any house plant fertilizer can boost the growth of the plant.

Pests and other problems for Portulaca

Some of the common diseases seen in portulaca are gray blight, root, and stem rot. It can also be attacked by aphids and other normal pests. Aphids can be controlled by spraying soap water or by the use of an insecticide.

Botrytis blight or gray mold: It is a condition of the fungus that affects the portulaca oleracea. There are many species of the botrytis fungus, which causes the blights. Hot, rainy winters and exceptionally mild summers are ideal conditions for the infection. If those conditions persist for many days, the gray mold can be very harmful. Except for roots, the disease may affect leaves, stems, flowers, seeds, or any part of the plant Brown spots and gray spores of dead tissue develop on the plant.

Control: Any fungicide

Root and stem rot: Either too much water or drought in landscaped plants can cause poor root health. The soil also includes fungi that can infect the roots and cause root rot. If it affects major roots the plant may die. Poor health of the root can appear as the dull color of the leaves; the leaves will turn yellow. Rotted roots are likely to turn brown and mushy.

Control: Growing in well-drained soil and the use of fungicides.

Propagation of Portulaca

The portulaca is an annual self-seeding herb, typically used as ground cover in the garden. Portulaca can be easily propagated by seed or cuttings.

The seeds are sown on the top of the seedbed. The seeds are left uncovered. Break off a 2-to 5-inch piece of mother plant portulaca. Remove the cutting leaves only from the bottom. And the cutting is placed into the soil bed.

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