This bizarre and unpretentious flower, whose leaves were used to heal wounds and pull out snake venom, is not even grown in Europe - it reproduces itself in city flowerbeds, in alleys and parks. But in Russia it is not so long ago, so most gardeners are still exploring its features in order to settle the purslane on its site.
Are there any tricks in the care of purslane, or can it be left to itself without worrying about the condition of the plant?
When to put purslane?
Perhaps the most important issue for visiting gardeners who decide to grow purslane is to plant a plant so that it can appear in all its glory during the growing season, and also sprout properly, it was transplanted to the open ground or larger pots in time. The dates for portulaca sowing are set individually not only for a specific region, but also for each year, since it is difficult to predict how early the coming spring will turn out.
Portulac is a heat-loving plant, you can even talk about his love for the heat, so already in the case when the air temperature drops to 10 degrees above zero, the leaves of the flower wither and fall. For this reason, it is resettled in open ground only in summer, in the middle or end of June, when daytime air temperature is kept in the corridor at 18-24 degrees. At the same time from the time of sowing to transfer to the site should take at least 7-8 weeks. Therefore, the optimal time for sowing portulaca for the middle zone is the beginning of April, if sowing is carried out on seedlings. If you grow a purslane in an apartment, which allows to extend its life, it is allowed to sow in March. But in the greenhouse on the portulak site, they are sown in early June, when the earth is warmed to the maximum.
Certainly, due to such heat-loving nature of a flower, it is grown in open ground only as an annual, which cannot be said about purslane growing at home: in an apartment, even on a balcony, provided that it is glazed, the purslane will live for 2 years. But here illumination will play a big role: it must be placed at the window facing south so that the flower is constantly under the sun's rays. If there is no possibility to provide constant natural light, it is replaced by artificial light using lamps. However, this is still sometimes not enough, so most of the florist grow purslane in suburban areas.
Transplantation in individual small containers is usually done after the emergence of seedlings (at 2-3 weeks of life), and it is desirable to transfer purslane into open ground no earlier than it will have 5-6 leaves. Or, if the air temperature is set at a value of 22-23 degrees and should not fall below 20 degrees anymore, you can land younger seedlings on the plot.
Purslane: growing from seed at home
Before transplanting the plant in open ground, it must pass the seedling stage at home. For this purpose, large transparent containers are filled with earth, into which a small amount of mineral fertilizers is introduced or simply humus is put: here purslane needs nutrients on which it will grow over the next few months until its death. Organic fertilizers are undesirable, as is peat, and for this reason, a universal earth mixture is prohibited - it must be compiled independently. The bottom of the container is usually lined with drainage and undiluted sand to prevent moisture from stagnating in the ground, and the prepared soil mixed with charcoal and sand, which is ignited in a hot oven, pours out from above to kill possible microorganisms trapped in the soil.
The moment with the shape and material of the containers is no less important for the purslane seedlings: the container must have transparent thin walls so that not a single drop of light is lost. Some gardeners even sow a purslane in an aquarium, filling it, previously, with earth. If not, any glass or plastic container will do.
The purslane seeds, planted in a wet substrate, are deepened with a match and covered with earth, after which the containers are exposed to the window, under direct sunlight. At night, as well as in low light, ordinary fluorescent lamps (60-100 W) or artificial light lamps, similar to those purchased for greenhouses, are switched on above the seedlings. The distance from the lamp to the ground depends on the power: at 60 W, it should be removed to a height of 20 cm, at 100 W - 30-35 cm. This will also affect the air temperature, which should not fall below 19-20 degrees while the flower is at the age of seedlings. Over time, this bar falls a little: in the 2nd week of life, the purslane already withstands a temperature of 16 degrees, and after a month it can live at a temperature of 12 degrees, although not for long.
As for watering, the water is first defended and filtered, after which it moistens the soil with a spray bottle. According to experts, you can pour water into the pan, on which a container with seedlings is placed, but then you need to make several holes in the bottom of the container.
Purslane: planting and care in the open field
- If you wish to sow a purslane directly into open ground, this can only be done in a greenhouse: high air temperature is very important for fragile seedlings. At the same time, they are also necessarily provided with a sufficient amount of light, as a result of which they often have to place lamps inside. Or you can create mini greenhouses for purslane at the dacha, which is sometimes even more convenient: you can find a good place for bushes and not replant them later. The walls of such a "greenhouse" are formed of Plexiglas or plastic, and the upper part is tightened with a film. Seeds are located at a distance of 0.8-1 cm from each other, because the degree of germination of a flower is quite high, and it is cool to transplanting, if we talk about adult bushes.
- The soil for growing purslane should not be too rich in nutrients: experts say it will be much better if the flower is planted on a poor plot - this will enhance its flowering. If the ground is too dense, dilute it with sand and pebbles, or inject charcoal before planting a purslane. Seedlings are spread at a distance of 15-20 cm from each other, in separate shallow holes, and not too plentifully watered. Adult bushes need watering only on dry days, but young shoots - every 2-3 days. But more often gardeners place purslane in separate flowerpots or boxes, because this plant looks great and solitary.
- The ideal area for growing purslane in the open field - elevation: the flower is not afraid of the wind, but the sun will warm and illuminate it constantly. You can also put a flower near the house, but the south side is sure to be chosen so that there is not even the slightest shading. The only thing when there is a lack of sunlight for portulaca, if it is grown as a simple green, creating a background for other colors: the less light the purslane gets, the stronger it stretches up, grows slower and less richly blooms.
- According to the experts, purslane is not afraid of pests, and the disease is practically not touched, so a variety of insecticides and folk remedies focused on the prevention and destruction of parasites are not required here. The only thing worth protecting a flower is from excessive organic dressings that can lead to the fungus of the root system. And, of course, from lower temperatures. If you want to prolong the period of flowering portulaca or wait for the seeds to mature, and the forecast predicts a decrease in temperature, you can transplant bushes into pots and bring them into the house: with sufficient light and heat, they will continue to grow and develop.
- Portulaca can be propagated not only by seeds that retain their ability to germinate for 3 years from the date of harvest, but also by grafting. The shoots are cut in the middle of autumn, when the plant is fading, and are removed in a cool place where they have to germinate over the winter. However, gardeners note that the flowering of bushes grown by cuttings is not as abundant as those that were grown from seeds.
As you could be convinced, the purslane - a flower is really quite unpretentious: its high demands on the climate at the age of the seedlings are compensated by the absence of any conditions later, when the seedlings are transferred to the open ground in the summer. And if you take into account the presence of medicinal properties of the portulaca leaves, you can understand why they loved and continue to love in Europe and beyond.