Purslane from seed to harvest

Purslane, growing in a pot here

Wild or cultured purslane is a crawling plant that has leaves that are appreciated for their slightly lemony taste.

A summary of purslane facts

Name – Portulaca oleracea
Family – Portulacaceae
Type – annual, crawling

 – 4 to 8 inches (10 to 15 cm)
Exposure – full sun
Soil – ordinary, well drained

Flowering – June to October
Harvest – 2 months after sowing

Low-calorie content makes it great for salad or cooked like spinach leaves are.

Sowing and planting purslane

Purslane mostly grows around the Mediterranean ocean and loves heat to truly develop well.

Although it grows naturally in the wild, one can also sow it in the vegetable patch.

Sowing purslane

Sow preferably in spring or summer in a full sun spot.

  • Sowing is from March to September.
  • Wait for the soil to have warmed up well to sow (wait for May in the colder climate regions).
  • Sow in rows (every 8 inches (20 cm)) in light and well-draining soil.
  • Water at the beginning to ensure that the ground stays damp.
  • Thin when the sprouts have formed a few leaves, keeping only the most vigorous sprout.
  • Pinch the stems when plants have reached a size of more or less 4 inches (10 cm).

Tip: If you stage your sowing in time, you’ll also stage your purslane harvests in the vegetable patch.

Planting purslane

If you’ve purchased your garden purslane in nursery pots, you can transplant them from March to September.

  • Replant one purslane plant every 8 inches (20 cm).
  • Water at the beginning and then slowly cut back on the watering, since this is a plant that doesn’t require much water.

Pruning and caring for purslane

Purslane requires very little work and care, which makes it an easy plant to grow.

Running the hoe against weeds around the plant are about the only work you’ll have to provide.

  • Watering isn’t necessary once the purslane is well settled-in.

Harvesting purslane

Purslane re-seeds spontaneously, and a single plant can be harvested up to 3 times during the year.

You can start to harvest purslane more or less 2 months after sowing, or a bit later depending on the growing conditions and the climate.

  • Harvest the purslane stems by collecting the stem, but don’t cut too short to enable regrowth.
  • Better to harvest young purslane stems, since the leaves are more delicious.
  • The younger the purslane leaves, the more they melt in your mouth.

Keeping purslane

Purslane is a plant that doesn’t keep fresh for very long, since it doesn’t hold well to freezing.

But it can easily be kept for 2 or 3 days in the refrigerator, in the vegetable compartment, wrapped in paper tissue.

Also, it is possible to pickle purslane in jars with vinegar and thus keep it for several months.

Learn more about purslane

Sometimes considered a weed, this cute annual plant that crawls along and spreads out offers delicious edible leaves.

A staple item of the Cretan diet, purslane is both low in calories and excellent to prevent risks of cardiovascular diseases.

In it, you’ll find potassium, calcium, magnesium, vitamins C and B, iron and also omega-3 and β-carotene, which are definitely part of any diet that aims to prevent many diseases.

It is cooked a bit like spinach, since it can be eaten raw in mixed salads, or cooked or in soups.

If you wish, a simple way to cook your purslane is to heat up a dollop of butter in a pan, throw in the purslane and fry for about 3 minutes.

Smart tip about purslane

If properly settled in, no need to water anymore, even in hot weather, since this plant tolerates drought very well.

Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Potted and fleshy by Dr. Umapathi Mangajji under © CC BY 2.0