How to grow Portulacas in your garden?

Hello All, Let me introduce myself here.
I’m Vathani (one among the Soopertravelers 😉 ) from India. My blog “Vathani’s garden” is related to the gardening where I mainly focus on the colorful flowers PORTULACAS/PURSLANE. I’m doing gardening for the past 7 years (that means I should have killed almost thousands of plants 😀 ). But only through this trial and error I learnt to grow plants and the techniques to not to kill them. So I wish to share some tips which I follow .
LET’S START 😀
So am gonna start from my favorite PORTULACAS.

A truly beautiful low growing ground cover type plant is called the portulaca (Portulaca grandiflora), or sometimes known as the sun rose or moss rose. Portulacas are perinnial plants, which means they last or exists for a long or apparently infinite time. Portulaca plants are native to Brazil, Argentina, Thailand , Malaysia and Uruguay. Now its becoming famous in India too.

Portulaca flowers are easy to grow and let’s look at what is needed for the portulaca care.

How to Grow Portulaca Plants?

Portulaca flowers tolerate many kinds of soil but prefer sandy, well-drained soil and love the full sunlight. These plants are excellent for high heat and drought tolerance, and will seed and spread themselves very well. Some control methods may be needed to keep portulaca plants from becoming invasive to areas where they are not wanted.

From personal experience in my garden areas, I can tell you that these wonderful plants do spread easily and very well. Portulaca flowers are truly beautiful in various garden and landscape settings and have been used to beautify old structures and stone walkways, as they grow well in the old cracks in the structures where winds have deposited just enough soil to support them. Portulaca flowers are beautiful growing around the stones of a garden path with their mix of beautiful colors of pink, red, yellow, orange, deep lavender, cream and white. One of my most favourite shade is IRIN. Please check the image below.

These wonderful plants will help attract bees and butterflies to your gardens as well as act as eye-catchers for your gardens or landscapes. They may be planted in containers as well as wide terracotta or plastic pots.

The portulaca plants will grow out and over the edges of the containers, making a grand display of their cylindrical somewhat moss like foliage and truly strikingly vibrant colored blooms. One word of caution though, the area around and underneath where the hanging baskets or other containers are located can easily be populated by more portulaca plants the next summer from the seeds spread by the plants the previous year. While portulaca is an annual, they do indeed come back every year without any further help from me.

TIPS TO GROW PORTULACAS FROM CUTTINGS:

            It is easy to grow portulacas from cuttings than from seed. But the important thing is the care you show on them. Let me give you some basic tips to grow and care the Portulacas. First lets talk about the soil mix for the portulacas. They require a good quality potting mix. I use red soil, sand, neem cake, cocopeat ( optional), and vermicompost.

  • Red Soil: The soil is red in color due to the presence of Iron oxide. It is rich in iron-aluminium oxides with the strong fixation capacity of phosphate.
  • Sand: The texture of red soil changes from sand to clay once they lose the water. So the potting mix will become harder and it will be difficult for the roots to breathe. This will make the plants look dull and unhealthy. So we have to add sand in the equal ratio of red soil.The benefit of adding sand is the root can travel faster and the pots will be full of new branches soon.
  • Neem Cake: This must be used in very less amount as it is natural heat for the plants. This is mainly used to avoid root disease and it will also improve the immunity. Only three teaspoon of neem cake powder should be added to a potting mix for a pot. I will post a video related to the potting mix soon.
  • Cocopeat: This is optional one. It is mainly used to retain moisture. Additionally it will also help for the root travel.
  • Vermicompost: Vermicompost (vermi-compost) is the product of the decomposition process using various species of worms which contains water-soluble nutrients and is an excellent nutrient-rich organic fertilizer and soil conditioner.

The ratio of red soil , sand, neem cake, cocopeat(optional), vermicompost is 1:1:1/10:1/4:1/4.

In addition to this, I highly recommend to add cowdung/goat manure 15 days once for awesome growth and more blooms. I have added my final potting mix picture below.

**You should give atleast one day gap to plant the cuttings in the potting mix after preparing the potting mix. As it may generate heat it will make the cuttings to rot. So ones you prepare potting mix you have to water it well until the water drains through the drainage hole in the pot. I highly recommend you to plant the cuttings next day and keep it in shade. 

2.    Light: Sunlight is the main food for portulacas. Portulacas need more direct sunlight to grow. The more you keep in the sun , the more it blooms and the plant will be much healthier. They require minimum of 6 hours light.

    3.     Water: You do not need to water often for proper portulaca care. The cylindrical foliage of the portulaca flower retains moisture very well, thus, regular watering is not needed. When they are watered, just a light watering will do, as their root zone is very shallow. Water it only when the top soil is completely dry. Overwatering your plants will waterlog the soil, resulting in the onset of root rot.

4.        Pot: You have to choose a wide pot for portulacas always as they need some space to spread. So that you can see more branches and blooms. Pot should have holes in the bottom so that the water will not stay much in the soil. Most preferrably ground is the best place for portulacas as they can spread easily and it will be a colorful morning for you daily 😀 . I have added the pot picture which I use regularly.

5.         Propagation: Once you find that there is no more blooms and only stems remains, it means they are alarming you to repot or replant them. So , first thing you have to do is select thick stems and trim it from the plant. Remove bottom leaves which is gonna be closer to the soil as we are gonna insert it in soil. Then, prepare a pot with the potting mix as I have mentioned above. Next, water the pot until the water drains out through drainage hole in the pot. Finally , insert the stem in slanting position which help to root soon. Keep in partial sun for 3-4 days as they are needed to root. After 5 days you can move it to full sun. Within a week to 10 days, cuttings will put out roots, and start growing within a month.

** They may not bloom if they don’t get enough sun. So place them in atleast 6 hours sun.

Before planting the cuttings, It is better to remove the leaves in the base which is going to be inserted in the soil as shown in the image below.

I used 8 inch pot here. It is enough to plant 5 cuttings in this pot , as it will spread with optimal density.

6.       Fertilizers and Pesticides : Avoid using chemical fertilizers and pesticides as the bees and butterflies hate these things and it will not pollinate in your garden anymore. So, try to use organic one which is easily available now in online or retail store. I recommend to use diluted neem oil spray 15 days once and for the fertilizer use well decomposed cowdung or goat manure 20 days once. Also ,you can use kitchen waste decomposed one which can be done easily in your home.

7.       Mealy Bugs : Mealy bugs are the biggest enemies for Portulacas. Mealybugs are 1/8 to ¼ inch long flat wingless insects that secrete a white powder that forms a waxy shell that protects them. They form cottony looking masses on stems, branches and leaves. They suck the juices from leaves and stems and cause weak growth. They also attract ants with the honeydew they excrete, and the honeydew can grow a black sooty mold on it as well. Ones they reach a single stem , within a week they will be in all your plants. You don’t have any other option other than removing the plant and throwing out of your garden. If you find them in very few branches then you should cut the particular branches and throw it very far away from your garden. So that it wont reach your garden again. In order to avoid these bugs, you have to spray diluted neem oil 15 days once and use organic fertilizers always, as it wont be harmful for bees and butterflies and they are the good pollinators.

8.       Aphids: Greenish, red, black or peach colored sucking insects can spread disease as they feed on the undersides of leaves. They leave a sticky residue on foliage that attracts ants. Introduce or attract natural predators into your garden such as lady beetles and wasps who feed on aphids. You can also wash them off with a strong spray of diluted neem oil along with organic soap that are available in shop(most preferably Khadi soap), or use diluted liquid  dishwasher.

9.      Snugs and snails: If rainy conditions persist for a few days, check your garden when the rain stops. Remove any slugs and snails that come out to feast on your portulacas. Prolonged rainy and cold periods of the year may also result in the onset of disease of your plants.

10.     Finally, your love is very important to make them happy. Give few minutes for them daily . Try to talk to them( It may be crazy but give a try. 😉 ). You won’t be disappointed. They can feel you and hear you. If I found any of my pots without bloom, I use to talk to them like “ why are you not blooming? It makes me sad without seeing you bloom. I wish to see your blooms soon , so that you can see me smile” :p .  I swear, after that I can see them blooming after a week 😀

**The most important thing is , always try to use garden gloves whenever you are doing gardening. As some may be allergic to the soil, pesticide or manure. It may be uncomfortable sometimes, but its precautions we must follow. Ones you get any allergic reaction you may lose interest on this plant and you will be scared to touch them too. ☹

These portulacas can be grown from seeds too. But their nature of growth will be different from the plants that grows from cuttings. In my next blog , I will be writing about the seed grown portulacas and the cares to be taken while growing from seed in step by step manner. Until then bye guys 😊.

If you have any doubts related to this plant, you can write to me on prasannavathanid@gmail.com and you can contact me through facebook and Instagram. I have added the link below you can ping me there.

My facebook profile link:

www.facebook.com/prasannavathani/

My Instagram:

@vathani_d

Also you can join our Facebook group to know about the Portulacas and you can see new colors often , where you can find people posting pictures from different part of the world.

Link for Portulaca Lovers Group:

www.facebook.com/groups/199211430815804/

Link for Grow from seed Group:

www.facebook.com/groups/137361156948249/

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