The purslane

How to water purslane

The purslane, native to South America, is a beautiful succulent plant grown mainly for its splendid summer blooms, which go from June to early-mid-September depending on the climate. The flowers, simple or double depending on the species, come in various colors: pink, yellow, orange, red, fuchsia, and even white. A fascinating feature that unites them, regardless of hue, is their shiny, silky appearance. Being a plant adapted to live in regions with low rainfall, it does not require copious irrigation, which indeed must be avoided. If it is grown in the garden, water purslane only when the earth is completely dry, bearing in mind that it is less risky to irrigate it once less than once more. If, on the other hand, the plant is kept on the balcony, watering can be slightly more frequent, but also in this case only when the soil is dry and avoiding stagnation in the saucers. It should be remembered that the number of irrigations also depends on the type of pot: the terracotta models favor the evaporation of water, the plastic ones, vice versa, keep it longer.

Cultural care

Growing purslane is pretty easy, as it requires little care. The main precaution to be adopted concerns the type of soil in which to grow it, which must have excellent draining capacity. Therefore, a common universal soil mixed with sand is perfectly fine. If the plant is grown in the garden, it is best to place it where the earth is well drained, possibly adding sand and avoiding pits and depressions where water stagnates. In the ground the purslane shows a vigorous growth and tends to widen a lot, so if you grow more seedlings together they should be placed at least 30 cm away from each other. Purslane is perennial in hot climates and annual in more rigid ones, for example in our north, but it can be sown easily (directly in flower boxes or flower beds) from March to May.

The fertilizations

The needs in terms of fertilization of purslane are rather modest, and usually limited to specimens that are grown in pots and planters. For these you can opt for a liquid product, to be administered monthly only in the hot season. The specific type of fertilizer must take into account the fact that purslane is a succulent plant, therefore it must contain a lower concentration of nitrogen and a higher concentration of phosphorus and potassium, which facilitate flowering. The microelements magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese and iron are also needed. The latter can also be administered alone, once or twice a season, in the form of iron chelate. This is especially true for plants watered with calcareous water, which hinders the absorption of this mineral,

Purslane: Ideal exposure, diseases and remedies

To best enjoy the splendid blooms of purslane it is essential to place it in full sun, because almost all species open their flowers only under its rays. Like the great majority of succulents, moreover, this plant prefers the heat and fears the cold. Purslane diseases are rare, if we exclude problems due to excessive watering, which can cause it to rot (especially if it is placed in partial shade or if sand has not been added to the soil in which it grows), and attacks by aphids. To counter their infestation, pyrethrum or pyrethroid-based spray products can be used. The first is less toxic and practically does not affect flowering, but in order to be effective it must be used at sunset or in the evening (the sun’s rays degrade the active ingredients), and by performing a complete spraying of the plant, since it acts by contact. Alternatively, a completely organic remedy can be used consisting of a concentrated nettle extract.

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