How to Grow Portulaca Plants

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Purslane, Moss Rose and Wax pink

Members of the Portulaca genus are hardy or half hardy annuals that reach from 15 to 45 cm (6 to 18 inches) in height.

Portulaca plants carry succulent leaves and bloom from summer to the second half of autumn.

When in bloom, they carry cup shaped flowers. These may be of yellow, red, pink, or white.

Portulaca grandiflora
Moss Rose - Portulaca grandiflora by bob|P-&-S.

Some of the common names for portulaca include Purslane, Sun Plant, Rose Moss and Wax Pink.

Portulaca oleracea
Portulaca oleracea - Common Purslane by Pellaea; both photographs under creative commons licence.

Purslane is often used for culinary use in countries such as Greece.

Commonly Grown Portulaca Species Photographs and Plant Identification

Portulaca oleracea

Portulaca oleracea
Portulaca oleracea (Common Purslane / Little Hogweed / Pursley), photograph by Andreas Rockstein; CC.

Portulaca grandiflora

Portulaca grandiflora
Portulaca grandiflora (Rose Moss / Moss Rose Purslane / Eleven o'clock / Mexican rose ), photograph by Dinesh Valke; CC.

Portulaca molokiniensis

Portulaca molokiniensis
Portulaca molokiniensis (Ihi), photograph by David Eickhoff; CC.

Portulaca pilosa

Portulaca pilosa
Portulaca pilosa (Pink Purslane / Kiss-me-quick / Hairy Pigweed), picture by Forest and Kim Starr; CC.

Portulaca Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Purslane, Moss Rose (Rose moss), Pigweed, Verdolaga, Little Hogweed. Time flower, Pusley.
Life Cycle: Half hardy annual or hardy annual.
Height: 8 to 20 inches ( 20 to 50 cm).
Native: Americas, Northern Africa, Europe, Asia, Australasia.
Growing Region: Zones 2 to 10.

Flowers: Summer and autumn.
Flower Details: Yellow, gold, orange, red, white, pink. Cup-shaped. Single or double flowers.
Foliage: Fleshy. Obovate. Oblong.

Sow Outside: Surface. Following the last frost. Spacing 4 to 24 inches (10 to 60 cm).
Sow Inside: Mix seeds in a growing medium, place in a freezer bag, keep moist, then stratify by refrigeration for two to three weeks. Use peat pots. Germination time: one to three weeks in the light. Temperature 75°F (24°C). Seven or eight weeks in advance. Transplant outdoors in the last month of spring.

Requirements: Full sunlight. Soil pH 5.5 to 7. Poor soil. Sandy soil. Light poor soils. May become weedy in warm areas, remove plants before they set seed.
Family: Portulacaceae.
Miscellaneous: Purslane is a commonly used culinary plant and can be eaten both cooked or raw. It also makes a good companion plant as it has deep roots that can force their way through hard soils; this enables other plants to access previously out of reach nutrients and moisture. Rich in Omega 3, calcium. magnesium and vitamins A, B and C.

How to Grow Purslane and other Portulaca Plants in the Garden

The seeds of Purslane and other Portulaca members should be sown on the soil surface following the last frost of spring.

Ideally Purslane should be grown in a sunny part of the garden and Portulaca genus members thrive in hot areas.

The soil that Purslane grows in should be sandy and poor with a pH of 5.5 to 7.

If starting Purslane indoors then start about one and a half months in advance.

You first need to imbibe Purslane seeds by placing within soil in a plastic bag and placing in the fridge for about 15 days.

Once finished, place the soil /seeds in light and germinate at 21 to 30 degrees Centigrade.

It typically takes about one to three weeks for Purslane seeds to germinate.

Once ready transfer into the garden at from 14 to 60 cm (6 to 24 inches) apart (depending on the size of the Portulaca species). This should be done towards the end of spring.

Caring for Purslane and other Portulaca plants

Portulaca species such as Purslane require no attention at all when growing and flowering

You should remove them from the garden before the portulaca plants have chance to set seed as they may take over the garden.

Common Questions

How many members does the Portulaca genus contain?

The Portulaca plant genus, which contains plants such as Purslane and Moss roses, has in the range of 40 to 100 species (dependent upon botanical classification agreements).

Do Portulaca members make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Yes, Portulaca are excellent choices for gardens, especially in rockeries, borders, or as ground cover. They have vibrant flowers and are drought-tolerant.

Which Portulaca species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

Portulaca grandiflora (Moss Rose) is the most popular species due to its colorful, rose-like flowers and succulent leaves.

Are Portulaca plants fragrant?

While visually striking, the flowers of the Portulaca genus are typically not fragrant.

What is the perfect location to grow Portulaca?

Portulaca thrive in full sun, in well-draining soil. They're highly tolerant of poor soil conditions and are excellent for xeriscaping.

Is Portulaca invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

Currently, some species of Portulaca, such as Portulaca oleracea (Common Purslane), can become weedy but are not classified as invasive.

How do I remove Portulaca plants from my garden?

For removal, Portulaca can be hand-pulled. To prevent regrowth, ensure to remove the entire plant, including the roots.


The Portulaca genus plant is a part of the Portulacaceae family. It includes succulent flowering plants such as Purslane or Moss Roses. Known for their bright, vibrant flowers and fleshy leaves, they are drought-tolerant and heat-loving.

Thriving in full sun and well-drained, sandy or gravelly soil, Portulaca should be planted after the threat of frost has passed. They are perfect for rock gardens, ground covers, or as trailing plants in containers or hanging baskets.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Portulaca plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow Calandrinia, Brimeura plant, Chicory, Yucca plant, and French Spinach plants.