Scientific: Portulaca hybrids
Common: portulaca, purslane, moss rose
Family: Portulacaeae
Origin: Brazil, most horticulturally cultivated portulaca are hybrids between P. grandiflora and P. oleracea.

Pronounciation: Por-tu-LA-ca HI-brids

Hardiness zones
Sunset
All, limited to warm season except in Hawaii
USDA All, limited to warm season except in south Florida and Hawaii

Landscape Use: Dependable heat loving warm season annual for landscape planter beds and containers in Phoenix.

Form & Character: Stiff and brittle yet delicate and succulent like a miniature ice plant, bright, warm, and festive. This little summer annual will put a smile on your face when in bloom.

Growth Habit: Herbaceous annual, moderate vigor, low and prostrate to 6 inches high by 12 to 18 inches wide.

Foliage/Texture: Succulent cylindrical leaves to 1 inch long, light green with an occassional bronze-red tinge, stems succulent green too, well branched; medium fine texture.

Flowers & Fruits: Single and double-headed flowers, mostly warm colors of red, yellow, pink, orange and white; fruit is a very small, inconspicuous light brown capsule partially enclosed by green sepals.

Seasonal Color: Flowers emerge in mass episodically during the warm season every few days and respond with intensity several days after a light application of fertilizer.

Temperature: Portulaca is heat loving, bring it on!! When it's 112oF and everyone else is in hibernation or flaccid, portulaca remains perky as long as they're irrigated.

Light: Partial shade to full sun.

Soil: Tolerant, but does best in a light, well-drained, organic matter-sand mixed soil.

Watering: Water abundantly every two days during the hottest months of the Phoenix summer.

Pruning: None

Propagation: Seed (300,000 per ounce) sown direct or rooted cuttings (extremely easy).

Disease and pests: None

Additional comments: Portulaca is a reliable and easy to grow bedding plant for Phoenix during the brutally hot summer months when many other plants and people are are either dead, dieing, or struggling to make it alive. Several varieties and cultivars. Plant transplants in the landscape at 4" to 6" on center in late April to early May for best cover. Flowers abundance is promoted by bi-weekly light applications of a complete fertilizer that is moderately high in phosphorus.

Cultivars include:

'Afternoon Delight' - bright double, 2" wide flowers stay open all day
'All Double Mix' - bright double, 2" wide flowers
'Calpyso Mix'- bright double
'Cloudbeater Mix'- mixed double, 2" wide flowers stay open all day
'Double Mix'- bright mostly double
'Kariba Mix' - bright 2" wide flowers, double, spreading
'Minilaca Mix'- bright semidouble, short 2" tall, non-spreading
'Sundance Mix'- 4 colors mostly double
Sundial series - 9 colors available separately
'Swanlake'- mix 2" wide flowers, double
'Wildfire Mix'- 3 colors, vigorous single, erratic closing, tendency to reseed

Portulaca comes from the Latin' porto' meaning to carry and 'lac' meaning milk, referring to milky sap of some species.

 

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