The annual, upright growing, herbaceous plant from the Portulaca family with the succulent leaves that grows in the latitudes here is pleasingly uncomplicated to grow and care for. The frost-resistant winter purslane is in no way inferior to this. The common plate herb, as the vegetable plant is also called, comes from a different genus, but is confusingly similar to purslane in terms of habit and use. If you want to feed yourself and your family healthily all year round, simply grow both types.
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cultivation of purslane
The heat-loving purslane for the summer is ideal for sowing twice. As soon as the weather conditions are no longer too cold and wet in May, work can begin:
Sunny, warm location.
- Humic, permeable, moist potting soil.
- Mix in some compost before sowing.
- As a light germinator, just press the seeds into the soil.
- Row spacing 20 cm to 30 cm.
- Ideal germination temperature 20° to 22° Celsius.
- Germination time: 5 to 10 days.
- Prick out seedlings 15 cm apart.
If the temperatures drop below 10° Celsius again, the young plants must be protected with foil or garden fleece, otherwise they will die. A second sowing of the purslane is carried out in August if necessary.
Cultivation of winter purslane
The common plate herb, sometimes also known as Cuban spinach or Siberian purslane, is a touch less demanding than the summer purslane thanks to its frost resistance down to -20° Celsius and the low light requirement. With its growth height of 10 cm to 15 cm and the light pink to white flowers, it is also a grateful ground cover that also greens shady areas under trees.
Sow from late September/early October to March.
- Humus, loose soil can also be slightly sandy.
- As a flowering plant, it needs a seed depth of approx. 10 mm.
- The row spacing is 15 cm to 20 cm.
- After germination, separate the plants to 10 cm to 15 cm.
- As cold germs, dependent on temperatures below 12° Celsius.
- Can also be grown in a greenhouse or cold box.
If you are reluctant to go into the bed to harvest during the cold season, simply sow the winter purslane in the flower box or in another planter. It is crucial for germination that the seeds receive the necessary cold stimulus through a constant temperature below 12° Celsius.
Once the purslane plants have taken root in the bed or in the planter, their demands in terms of care are hardly worth mentioning:
- Water summer purslane only during prolonged drought.
- Winter purslane is content with rain and snow.
- A thick layer of bark mulch keeps the soil warm and moist.
- Even watering is essential in the planter.
- After sowing, weed and rake every 2 to 3 days.
- Fertilizing is not required.
The fast-growing vegetable plant covers the earth within a short time, so that from then on there is no need for tedious weeding. Incidentally, experienced gardeners add a layer of garden compost over the mulch, which is very beneficial to the taste of the vegetables.
However, the rapid growth of purslane, which earned the plant a reputation as a weed, has the advantage that it can be harvested several times per season. Just 4 to 5 weeks after sowing in May, fresh Portulaca is on the local menu for the first time. The higher the temperatures climb, the more tender the juicy leaves are. If the bottom leaves remain on the plant, they will sprout again. An additional dose of good garden compost promotes growth. In addition, experienced hobby gardeners recommend cutting off the flower buds from time to time if higher crop yields are desired.
Winter purslane is harvested when the leaf stalks have reached a height of 10 cm. The common plate herb can also be harvested several times. About 3 cm of the plant should remain after each cut. If you don’t cut the winter purslane in this phase of growth, you will lose the fresh vegetable enjoyment for the rest of the cold season. In this case, numerous stalks grow, which are inedible due to their high nitrate content.
Summer and winter purslane are no longer harvested after flowering because the leaves then take on a bitter taste. In this case, the gardener cuts the plant back to two leaves and waits for the new, fresh shoots, which will again deliver a tender harvest.
Portulak in Mischkultur
In the vegetable patch, portulaca harmonises especially with the following accompanying plants:
- pick lettuce
The common plate herb maintains good neighborliness in the bed with:
- Lamb’s lettuce
- broad bean
Winter purslane is the ideal secondary crop for all summer vegetables. The Postelein, as the plant is also called in the vernacular, effectively uses the remaining nutrients of its predecessors for its own growth.
Prevent uncontrolled spread
Although culinary dishes with purslane are now being served even in gourmet restaurants, the plant is constantly being rediscovered among the 10 most harmful weeds in the world. In view of the botanical systematics, this circumstance is hardly surprising. Seedlings mature enough to disperse thousands of seeds within 6 weeks. They are so resilient that more than half of them are still viable after 14 years. Hobby gardeners who are toying with the idea of cultivating purslane in their own garden should be aware of this fact and act appropriately from the start. The timely removal of flower buds not only helps to increase the crop yield. At the same time, the unbridled spread of seeds is stopped.
Otherwise, it is advisable to dig up purslane plants immediately if they appear in places in the garden where they are not wanted. The advantage of this circumstance for the hobby gardener can be seen in the fact that he does not have to worry about the propagation of the plants. Once planted, purslane will self-sow over and over again.
Risk of confusion with purslane croissants
The Portulaca plant genus has also produced the Portulaca grandiflora, a summer flower up to 15 cm high. So far, breeders have cultivated more than 100 different varieties with flowers in a wide variety of colors. However, the succulent, green leaves of the purslane are not edible. Since the flower thrives in similar locations to purslane and some varieties also bloom yellow, there is a risk of confusion, especially in the wild. Of course, eating the leaves of the purslane is not associated with any health problems.
diseases and pests
Purslane is largely resistant to diseases. However, a good friend from the world of pests is able to endanger the harvest: the slug. The plant isn’t high on the list of wolverines’ favorite foods. Nevertheless, they do not disdain purslane, especially in the absence of interesting alternatives. With the following control measures, the chances of getting rid of the pests are good:
Various broths and manures:
- Nettle liquid manure strengthens resistance.
- Bracken and male fern manure keeps snails away.
- Elderberry manure scares away the pests.
- Spray coffee solution with 0.05% caffeine on the plants.
As part of tillage:
- destroy the snail eggs with the digging fork in winter.
- only rake superficially in summer
- Only use dry, organic mulch material.
- Always keep potting soil loose and finely crumbly.
- there must be no cavities.
- Sow only on warm soil.
- Draw seed grooves 2 days before sowing.
- Plant thyme at the edge of the bed as a deterrent.
- Eliminate wilted and rotting purslane plants.
- Lay out wood wool in late autumn.
- burn with the snail eggs in the spring.
- Scatter ground coffee around the bed as a deadly neurotoxin.
- Set up slug fences and rub 10 cm of anti-slug gel into them.
- Set up a beer trap within the fenced area.
- Lay out damp wooden slats and collect the snails in the morning.
- Set up snail collars to protect individual plants.
- Use crack traps filled with slug pellets.
- Create traveling barriers with pointed materials such as grit.
In addition to the proven beer trap as a lure, there are a number of other ways to divert the snails on their way to the purslane. This includes kitchen scraps, potatoes, rotten tomatoes and, most importantly, crushed sugar beet. However, such baits should only be used within an area surrounded by snail fences, otherwise all the snails will flock from the surrounding area and settle in the garden.
Peru purslane (Anredera species) for hanging baskets
A hitherto largely unknown variant of purslane comes from Peru. It thrives as a creeper, making it a suitable planting for the hanging basket. The juicy green leaves can be eaten as a salad or vegetable. In addition, the rhizomes are edible. Thanks to the white, honey-scented flowers, the Peru purslane is also a decorative plant for balconies, terraces and conservatories. Like the summer purslane, the variant from Peru needs full sun in a sheltered location. When cultivated in a planter, however, it is a little thirstier and can also cope with short-term drought if necessary. The resourceful garden lover uses the Peru purslane as a creeping plant to green privacy trellises on the balcony or on the patio in the garden. Like the summer purslane,
For a long time he was forgotten, the persistently thriving, undemanding purslane. The more doubts arise about the freshness of the well-travelled range of salads in the supermarket, the more gardening enthusiasts take the initiative and plant crisp, fresh salad herbs in the vegetable patch themselves. Purslane from the Portulaca plant family is enjoying growing popularity because it is easy to grow and care for. The succulent plant sprout again and again throughout the summer and provides dewy supplies for the kitchen. Thanks to the winter purslane, also known as Postelein, Cuban spinach or Siberian purslane, no one has to do without a healthy source of vitamins on the menu even in the cold season. Since the lush growing plant is not only hardy, but also thrives in shady locations,