The purslane is a member of the purslane family. This annual, non-perennial summer flower unfolds its full splendor during the flowering period from June to August. However, it can only be admired in sunny weather, because the purslane florets open their colorful, bowl-shaped flowers only when the sun is shining.

Appearance and stature

The shiny flowers of purslane florets reach a diameter of about 4 cm. They shine in a wide variety of colors, from plain white and yellow to orange and crimson red. From summer to autumn, the abundantly blooming purslane flower forms new flowers again and again. These can be filled as well as half filled or unfilled. They exude a pleasant scent. They also have a natural closing mechanism that opens the flowers at sunrise and closes them again in the late afternoon.

The leaves of this herbaceous, semi-succulent purslane family are light green, lanceolate and fleshy and sit on red stems. After blooming, this small plant forms new seeds from which it partially sows itself. It grows flat to creeping and reaches heights of just 10-15 cm and a width of about 15 cm.

The plant forms prostrate as well as overhanging shoots. This makes it suitable for planting flower boxes, pots, planters and hanging baskets as well as for rock gardens, flower beds, gravel gardens and borders. The easy-care and undemanding purslane florets also come into their own in combination with other balcony plants, provided that they make the same demands on location and care.


Purslane florets are available in specialist garden shops, among other things, as pre-grown plants. After May 15th, the so-called ice saints, these plants can then be planted outdoors. In mid-May because until then frost is still to be expected. The frost-sensitive purslane would probably not survive these.

Location requirements

The location for the purslane should ideally be warm and full sun, as it only opens its colorful flowers in the sun, be it in the rock garden or on dry embankments. In contrast to many other plants, the blazing midday sun is just good enough for this plant. It likes rain less, so it should be given a location protected from rain if possible.

The purslane is very adaptable and can usually cope with any normal garden soil. Above all, it should be permeable and rather dry. The addition of a little sand can significantly improve the permeability in heavier soils. This is especially true for a cultivation in the balcony box.

Watering and fertilizing

  • Purslane has succulent properties.
  • As a result, it is very frugal in terms of water requirements.
  • Therefore only water sparingly and avoid waterlogging as far as possible.
  • Before each watering, always let the soil dry out.
  • A drainage layer is recommended for planting in pots or tubs.
  • Excess water in coasters should always be removed.
  • Dry phases are very well tolerated.
  • Only fertilize sparingly every four to six weeks.
  • This applies to balcony plants as well as to outdoor plants.
  • A commercially available liquid fertilizer is suitable.
  • Fertilizing too much is much worse for the plant than too little.


Since purslane florets are annuals, the question of wintering does not actually arise. Since it is not hardy, it usually dies in winter. However, in particularly protected locations or frost-free areas it can happen that some plants come back in the next year. However, this is not because the plants survived the winter, but probably because the seeds through which the plant then spreads.
Despite everything, it is advisable to protect the plants in early spring from possible late frosts.


Since purslane is an annual plant, it must be re-sown every year, provided that it was not self-sown. They can also be propagated using head cuttings.

Propagation by sowing

Seeds can be bought for sowing or obtained from existing plants. These develop in small seed pods after flowering. They are taken out of these seed pods and first kept in the air to dry. After drying, they should be stored in a dark and frost-free place until sowing in March / April. Stored in this way, the seeds can germinate for up to four years.

From March the seeds can then be sown indoors and the plants can be grown. To do this, they are placed in a suitable seed pot in the sowing soil. The substrate should be permeable, which can be achieved by adding sand if necessary. If possible, peat should not be included in the substrate.

The seeds should then only be lightly covered with soil. Now the whole thing is covered with glass or cling film and kept slightly moist. At a constant temperature of 18 degrees, the seeds germinate within one to two weeks and can then be pricked out. From mid-May, after the ice saints, the seedlings can then be transplanted into the field, with a planting distance of 15-20 cm between the individual plants.

When cultivating in a balcony box, the seeds can be sown directly in appropriate planters from mid-May at the earliest, due to the need for warmth of these plants. With the very filigree seeds, you should be careful not to sow them too densely.

Propagation by head cuttings

The head cuttings are cut off above the plant and either rooted in a glass of water or put directly into a substrate that is not too rich in nutrients. Once the cuttings are rooted, they can be planted in their final location.

Diseases and pests

Purslane’s susceptibility to diseases and pests is relatively low. Snails pose no threat to this plant either. The biggest enemy of this tiny plant is actually moisture. In spite of everything, there may also be an infestation with aphids.

Signs of an aphid infestation are corresponding suction damage to shoots, leaves and even to the roots. The result is stunted or curled leaves, discoloration and general stunted growth. In addition, this pest can spread relatively quickly and spread to other plants.

There are natural predators against aphids such as ladybirds, lacewings, predatory bugs, predatory beetles and hover flies. If that is not enough, the trade offers various products based on rapeseed oil or potash soap. However, such an effort is usually not worthwhile with this plant, as it is only annual and will have to be re-sown or replanted in the next year anyway.


  • The purslane gets along equally well with firm and dry as well as sandy and stony soils.
  • The roots of this plant are very good at storing water.
  • Under optimal conditions, it can spread very quickly.
  • Their seeds are salt-resistant, buoyant and very hardy.
  • They can remain viable for up to four years.
  • The purslane florets only open their flowers in sunny weather.

The undemanding and easy-care purslane florets shouldn’t be missing in any balcony box. Unfortunately, this plant is only annual and therefore not hardy, so it has to be sown again every year. For the most part, however, it will re-seed itself. Your seeds can germinate for several years and thus ensure a rich variety of flowers year after year, provided they get a sunny spot in the garden or on the balcony.

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