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How to Grow Purslane Microgreens in a Container

Summer purslane (Portulaca oleracea), best known as a vigorously-growing weed, can also be grown as a leafy vegetable in gardens or as a microgreen in containers. In this article, we focus on tips and tricks that can help you successfully grow your first crop of purslane microgreens in a container, indoors or out. Purslane microgreens are commonly used to add tangy flavor and juicy texture to salads, rice dishes, stir-fries, and soups. They also supply a whole slew of nutrients and share many of the health benefits of mature purslane.

In some respects, purslane microgreens may have even more nutritional value than their mature counterparts. One study found that the antioxidant capacity of purslane was 24% stronger in 15-day old microgreens than in 60-day old mature plants. This phenomenon is true for many other plants as well. If you’re interested in learning more about how other microgreens compare to their mature counterparts, check out our in-depth article on the health benefits and nutritional value of microgreens.

But now, let’s get down to business and take a look at the steps you should follow in order to grow a successful crop of purslane microgreens in a container.

Step 1: Buy purslane seeds and sow them

Buy chemical-free purslane seeds from a reputable supplier (you can buy certified USDA organic purslane seeds from Amazon here). Next, fill an empty container with drainage holes punched in the bottom with organic potting soil, and sow the seeds by scattering them evenly over the soil.

Step 2: Place the container on a sunny windowsill

Place the container filled with the soil and newly sown purslane seeds on a sunny windowsill (you can also place the container in a sunny spot outdoors, if you wish). In order to produce a good crop, purslane microgreens need several hours direct sun light every day. If you fear your budding microgreens won’t get enough natural sunlight, consider buying a grow light designed for growing seedlings.

Step 3: Keep the soil moist but avoid overwatering

Water the sprouting purslane seedlings as needed. The best way to keep your indoor microgreen garden moist (but not overly wet) is to use a spray bottle or bottom-watering. If you’re not familiar with bottom-watering, this is how it’s done: Fill a large tray with water, place the purslane container in the tray, and let the soil absorb water through the drainage holes punched in the bottom of the container.

Step 4: Harvest your summer purslane microgreens

When the purslane microgreens are a few inches tall, harvest them by snipping them with a pair of sharp kitchen shears. Note that purslane microgreens start to lose their nutritional value immediately after harvest, so it is best them serve and eat them as soon as possible. If you must store them, wrap them in a moist paper towel and store in a plastic bag in the crisper section of your refrigerator.

What’s next?

Once you’ve harvested and eaten all your purslane microgreens, start a new crop. Sow new purslane seeds or experiment with other microgreens and baby greens. Other easy-to-grow miniature greens include sunflower shoots, broccoli microgreens, snow pea shoots, and radish microgreens.

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
Height – 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.

Growing Portulacas

By Penny Ossowski

Recently, I was sorting through my seed container looking for some seeds to plant into my little paper pots in mini greenhouses (September newsletter) and I came across some portulaca seeds. I bought them last year and didn’t get around to planting them. This got me thinking what a versatile group of plants is the Portulacaceae family. The name ‘portulaca’ brings a few plants to mind. First is the annual with almost miniature rose like flowers or the colourful sun jewels that grow during summer. There is purslane, called a weed by many when really quite useful as an edible plant and herb and then there is the one that appears on my footpath, Portulaca pilosa, every summer, and the Jade plant. These are but a few of the Portulacaceae family which comprises about 100 species.

Portulacas in their various forms are annual succulents but under the right conditions can sometimes grow as perennials. Their leaves vary in shape from cylindrical to flattish and long or flattish and round but all are fleshy. Most will self seed but some of the hybrids will revert to earlier forms. Their seeds are very small, like grains of fine sand. When planting it helps to mix them with dry sand before sowing. This family of plants thrive on poor soil and neglect, too much fertiliser or water has been known to kill them. Find them a well drained sunny spot in your garden. They love hot weather and withstand drought.

Portulaca grandiflora is most popular with home gardeners, two of the most popular cultivars in this group are the ones with double rose like flowers and cylindrical leaves and the five petalled single ones with flat leaves. Their flowers come in a range of colours from white to yellow to orange to pink to red and varying shade in between and more recently in bi-colours. Most pests leave them alone but mealy bugs can take a liking to them. The easiest way to treat mealy bug is with a cotton bud dipped in methylated spirits.

The flowers traditionally only open when in full sun but many of the newer varieties will only close at night and on very cloudy days. This can be noted in their name in Bangladesh they are called ‘Time Fuul’ (Time Flower) and in Vietnam it is called ‘Hoa muời giờ’ (Ten O’clock Flower). Once established these will flower all summer and autumn.

Portulaca grows very nicely in pots adding that splash of colour in your outdoor entertainment area. They will tolerate neglect and drought and still produce beautiful flowers. While some will grow 15cm to 30cm tall they usually are a ground hugging plant making a colourful border or a filler for bare spots in the garden. Bees are attracted to their nectar.

While usually grown from seed if you have a plant you want to grow elsewhere or share with friends take a cutting, it will propagate easily.

Portulaca oleracea would be the most common of the Portulacaceae family, many refer to it as a weed. It is also known as Common Pigweed, Common Purslane, Inland Pigweed, Munyeroo, Neverdie, Purslane and Red Pigweed. I’m sure you’ve seen it in your garden. It is a prostrate succulent with spoon shaped shiny fleshy leaves and red to brown stems. It gets small yellow flowers from November to March. While it often grows as a fairly scrawny plant with a little extra care it can become quite lush. The leaves stems and buds are edible with the leaves having a mildly sour taste. It is eaten in many countries around the world, aboriginals and early Australian settlers ate its leaves. It can be eaten raw or cooked, used in salads, stir fries, soups, stews, and the seeds can be used for bread and cakes. The Greeks call it andrakla, and use it in salads and casseroles, in Turkey and Albania it is baked in pastries and used like spinach. Purslane is unusual in that it has higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy vegetable. It does have high level of nitrates and oxalates which can be toxic to sheep and cattle. For humans cooking can lower the levels of these.

Traditionally in Europe it was thought to help with happiness, love, luck and sleep and provide protection from magic. Medicinally its leaves can be used to treat insect and snake bites, boils, sores and pain from bee stings.

Portulaca oleracea can be grown from seed or cuttings and is easy to grow. BOGI seeds has seeds for Yellow Purslane which grows larger than the Common Purslane.

Portulaca pilosa is low-growing and found in areas of poor soil (like my footpath), on the edge of saltpans and urban areas where the salt content of soil is high. it has cylindrical leaves and pink flowers.

And a close cousin of the portulaca, Portulacaria afra, also known as dwarf jade, elephant food, elephant bush, porkbush, baby jade, miniature jade, tiny leaf jade and Chinese jade is native to South Africa.

This plant can grow in sun or shade, is at home in the garden or in a pot, indoor or out but not too much water. It is used to growing in some pretty dry areas.

Portulacaria afra has small roundish fleshy leaves (around 1cm long), reddish brown stems and a trunk that can grow up to 90cm diameter and up to 5 metres tall. You can prune it to suit your requirements as small as a bonsai or a tall as a shrub. It is easy to propagate from leaves or stem cuttings, cut it, let it dry for a couple of days then plant in moist sand or propagating mix.

In its native environment its leaves are eaten by many animals, these leaves are also suitable for us humans to eat. They are juicy, crunchy and mildly sour.

If the conditions you grow it in are good enough it may produce small pink scented flowers in summer which attract bees. Later these flowers are followed by small fruits with one seed in each.

Colourful Portulaca plants can be grown from seeds by ordering from Eden Seeds online store.

Nutritional Information – Purslane

Serving Size: (100 grams raw)

Calories: 20 Kilojoules: 84

Total Fat: 0.36g Cholesterol: 0mg

Carbohydrates 3.39g Sodium 45mg

Protein 2.03g Vitamin A 1320 IU

Folate 12mcg Vitamin C 21mg

Vitamin E 12.2mg Manganese .303mg

Thiamin 0.133mg Niacin 0.48mg

Vitamin B6 0.073mg Riboflavin 0.112mg

Calcium 65mg Magnesium 68mg

Phosphorous 44mg Potassium 494mg

Iron 1.99mg Zinc 0.17mg

Click the seed variety name for more information. Click the seed variety name for more information.

Fresh Purslane Herb – What Is Purslane And Care Of Purslane Plant

Purslane herb is often considered to be a weed in many gardens, but if you get to know this fast-growing, succulent plant, you’ll discover that it is both edible and delicious. Growing purslane in the garden can be beneficial for your health and taste buds.

What is Purslane?

Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) is an herb that is native to Asia, but has spread all across the world. It is commonly found in cleared areas. The purslane herb has red stems and fleshy, green leaves. The flowers are a bright yellow.

Purslane is high in Omega-3 fatty acids and contains vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B, magnesium, calcium, potassium and iron. All in all, edible purslane is a very healthy plant to add to your diet.

Growing Purslane

The hardest part about growing purslane is finding it. Once you have decided to grow purslane, you may find that although you have been pulling it out of your flower beds for years, it has suddenly disappeared. Once you do find a purslane plant, you can either harvest some seeds or trim off a few stems.

All purslane needs to grow is part to full sun and clear ground. The plants aren’t picky about soil type or nutrition, but purslane does tend to grow better in drier soil.

If you decide to plant purslane seeds, simply scatter the seeds over the area where you plan on growing the purslane. Don’t cover the seeds with soil. Purslane seeds need light to germinate so they must stay on the surface of the soil.

If you are using purslane cuttings, lay them on the ground where you plan on growing purslane. Water the stems and they should take root in the soil in a few days.

Care of Purslane Plant

The care of purslane is very simple after it starts growing. You don’t need to do anything. The same traits that make it a weed also makes it an easy to care for herb.

Make sure to harvest it regularly and be aware that it can become invasive. Harvesting before it develops flowers will help cut down on its spread.

Also, keep in mind that purslane herb is an annual. While the chances are high that it will reseed itself, you may want to collect some seeds at the end of the season so that you have some on hand for next year, rather than hunting for a new purslane plant.

If you decide to harvest wild purslane instead of growing purslane, make sure that you only harvest purslane that has not been treated with pesticides or herbicides.

What Is The Best Way To Root / Propagate Rock Purslane

Answer #1 · Maple Tree’s Answer · Hi Deb-Rock Purslane roots easily and quickly. Putting the end of a purslane clipping in a glass of water will usually produce small roots appearing in a couple of days to a week. Once the roots are an inch long the stem can be planted in the ground. You can also lay clippings on top of a planting soil in a shallow dish. The clipping don’t have to be buried in the soil. Just keep the soil moist and they should root themselves in the soil within a short amont of time. Filling a small pot with a well draining potting mix works well also. Just poke a hole in the mix with a wood dowel or pencil and stick the end of a clipping in the hole. Push the potting mix up against the clipping and keep the soil again most but not wet. Once your purslane clippings have grown roots an inch or so long they can be planted in the ground or in pots. At this time you can cut back on the amount of water. Purslane requires very little water and can be allowed to dry out somewhat before watering again.
Hopefully this has answered your question. Let me know if you have any other questions.


Latin Name: Portulaca oleracea.

Origin: Europe, Asia.

Description (what it looks like): A hardy, easy to grow, perennial in the tropics, forming a mat like cover that sprawls along the ground, up to 20 cm high. Succulent stems and leaves, often with a tinge of red. Oval leaves to 3cm long form in clusters and small flowers form at the notes and ends of stems. Flowers are a bright orange to red colour. ‘Jade’ and ‘Sun Jewel’ are other similar edible varieties.

Uses (function): Good fodder source for pigs, cattle, poultry & goats. Hardy edible ground cover layer for a permaculture system. Great as a no-maintenance edging plant. Some consider it a weed, as it can reproduce rapidly and form dense vegetative mats that screen out light to the soil’s surface, preventing other seedlings from emerging.

Nutritional value: Young leaves are extremely rich in Vitamin C and Vitamin E, as well as a source of Vitamin A, Iron, Calcium, Potassium, Magnesium plus Vitamin B1, B2, B6 and D. Valued for increasing milk supply in nursing mothers. Used to treat and prevent scurvy with its high ascorbic acid properties. Extremely high in omega-3 fatty acids, which benefit the immune system, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and even a range of psychological disorders. Plant juices are applied to the skin to aid in the treatment of skin irritations, diseases, or insect stings; they have also been used to treat coughs. Contains oxalic acid, so best avoided by those suffering from kidney disorders, gout and rheumatoid arthritis.

Growing details (propagation, seed etc): It is very easy to propagate from cuttings of 10-25 cm long. Root these in a glass of water or just pushed into moist soil. Strip the leaves off the bottom half of the stems and bury to half their length, spacing approximately 60cm apart.

Best time to grow: Take cuttings and plant during the wet season or spring.

Soil: Any soil, in any climate, without fertilizer.

Sun: It grows in sun or shade.

Water: Hardy in drought or wet, but prefers warm, moist areas.

How to eat it: The crunchy, tangy, nutritious leaves are mild in flavor and slightly sour. Use leaves fresh added to salads, yogurt, stir-fries, quiche, egg dishes, soups and pickled as a caper substitute. The leaves and stems are eaten raw or cooked. Their mucilaginous quality makes them a good substitute for okra as a thickener in soups. Leaves are described by different sources as sour, salty and spicy, lemon-like, or mushroom-like. Seeds, which have fairly high fat and protein content and are high in iron, are ground into a powder and mixed with cereals.

Images references:

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PHOTO: Melinda/Flickrby Jesse Frost June 8, 2016

Something tells me some of you may have clicked on this because you thought it was a joke. But no, I assure you, purslane is not just an obnoxious weed that grows whether you want it to or not (even if sometimes it is definitely that). Rather, purslane may be one of the most ideal summer greens around. Yeah, to grow on purpose.

Unlike lettuce, spinach and other tender greens that readily bolt in pounding heat of summer, purslane thrives. It is also extremely nutritious, high in vitamin A, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium and other minerals. Or perhaps you just want to add another tasty addition to your microgreen production. Purslane can do that, too. This edible succulent is simply too good to overlook when it comes to planning the summer garden. And as you may have noticed when it has volunteered in your paths or around your yard, it practically grows itself.

Selecting Seed

The two types of purslane seed most common in seed catalogs are Gruner Red and Goldberg—though according to Wikipedia, there are over 40 different varieties in cultivation (do with that what you will). If looking for heirlooms or alternatives, you may also find seed under the verdolaga, it’s Spanish name.

Cultivated purslanes generally have larger leaves than wild purslane and grow upright, making harvesting easier. If you want to propagate your own variety, seed can be harvested from wild purslane once the plant has senesced, but the production may be more variable, yields lower and stems shorter. However, what you lack in convenience you may make up for in flavor.

1. Grow Purslane As Microgreens

Microgreens can be a nutritious treat, as well as an excellent market item—especially for chefs. To grow purslane as microgreens, use a perforated seedling tray. Cover the bottom with organic potting mix to at least 1/2-inch deep. Sprinkle seeds evenly but thickly overtop, and cover with a thin layer of soil mix. Place in sunny area at about 75 degrees F, and keep moist until germinated. Once germinated, a slightly cooler temperature between 60 and 70 degrees F, is optimal. Keep the soil moist, irrigate the sprouts from underneath to avoid splashing the plants. Cut the microgreens when the reach 2 to 4 inches.

2. Keep Soil Dry

Although soil fertility for purslane doesn’t have to be particularly high, as a succulent, purslane does enjoy a drier, well-drained soil. It is a fast grower, so it can often outcompete many other weeds, but a good preemptive flame-weeding or stale seed bedding is always recommended before direct seeding it into the ground.

As a member of the same family, purslane will share diseases with other succulents. It is also somewhat susceptible in my own experience to fungi if the season is too wet and planting too dense, as it actually prefers a dry climate. –Tico–/Flickr

3. Grow In A Warm Spot

Purslane cannot tolerate cold and prefers germination temperatures of 70 degrees F or more. Wait to place in field until days are long and average temperatures are above 70 during the day and 50 at night, preferably warmer.

Purlsane can be started in seed containers or sown directly into beds. Seeds should be sown every 3/4 inch in rows 8 inches apart. Thin to roughly two or three per foot in row. If transplanting, sow in flats and transplant once first true leaves appear at roughly 8 inches apart.

4. Harvest In The Morning For Tartness

When harvesting purslane, take into consideration the malic acid content of the plant, which is higher in the morning than at night thus making it more tart. Some will prefer this while others may find they enjoy purslane harvested in the evening, when the flavor is milder.

5. Cool Immediately After Picking

Purslane is a delicate crop and should be cooled immediately after harvest. Warm temperatures after harvest will bring out the mucilaginous texture of the crop. Gardeners can either pick off stems continuously over several weeks or cut the whole plant. It will regrow if 2 inches or more of the plant is left on the stem, though it should get no more than three weeks of harvest if the flavor begins to decline and the plant shows signs of bolting. Store purslane in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator, and use within a week.

6. Seek Out Chefs

If looking to grow a lot of purslane, contact chefs beforehand. It will sell a bit at market, but it is a specialty crop and may need some other outlets to move it. Ask chefs at what size they would prefer it and how many pounds. And since it is a rarer green, consider selling at herb prices.

Where to Find Purslane in Sydney

Purslane! With all the rain we’ve been having in Sydney, purslane is popping up everywhere at the moment. Front yards, street verges, parks, gardens, footpaths, everywhere!
Often ignored as a seasonal weed, purslane is one of the most, if not, the most versatile and useful edible ‘weed’. Purslane is reported to have more omega-3 fats and up to 20 times the melatonin than any other vegetable.
Think of purslane as you would lettuce or bok choy, it just looks different and it’s a little crunchier. You can eat the leaves raw or cooked and the young stems cooked. Try it in salads, stir-fries, sautéed or soups. Even Jamie Oliver uses it in a pesto.
Below are a few links and recipes to get you thinking. This peach and purslane salad is a simple but brilliant balance of the slight sourness of the purslane and sweetness of the peach and dressing.
The list 45 Things to Do with Purslane is the most comprehensive reference of how to use purslane.
Warning: Be extremely cautious where you forage for purslane. Council workers treat it like any other weed and will poison it without hesitation. Know your picking spot very well. Befriend neighbours who don’t know what it is or seek out abandoned land and work sites or just grow your own. Once you’ve been successful growing it, like me, you’ll be unlikely to ever get rid of it.
Salad of purslane,mint and peach
Peach, purslane and mint salad
Serves 2
1 bunch of purslane, roughly chopped
1 handful mint leaves, roughly chopped
2 large ripe white peaches, sliced
1/2 cup toasted walnuts/almonds or cashews
1/4 cup crumbled feta or ricotta
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tsp of sugar
Salt and pepper to taste.
In a large salad or mixing bowl, combine purslane and peach slices. Set aside.
In a small bowl, mix the vinegar, salt, pepper and the sugar. Add olive oil to the vinegar mixture. Pour vinaigrette over the purslane and peaches. Add nuts and cheese.

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