Portulaca Half-hardy Annual

A sandy bank in full sun is not easy to keep in colour all summer long if the weather is dry – Portulaca is one of the few satisfactory plants for such a site. The semi-prostrate reddish stems bear clusters of long fleshy leaves which in a sunny year can be almost covered by the saucer-shaped flowers. Unfortunately the blooms close once the sun is hidden.

VARIETIES: P. grandiflora is the species grown. The 1 in. flowers are brightly coloured – yellow, scarlet, orange, pink, purple and white. ‘Double Mixed’ is the usual choice, producing flowers which look like small Shrub Roses – for larger flowers buy ‘Sunglo’. You can try ‘Cloudbeater’ – the raisers claim that the flowers do not close on a dull day.

SITE AND SOIL: Any well-drained garden soil will do – full sun is essential.

PLANT DETAILS: Height 6 in.

Spacing: 6 in.

Flowering period: June-September.

PROPAGATION: Does not like root disturbance. Sow seeds outdoors in April – cover with a cloche until June if necessary.

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