The Frugal Nashville Gardener- Portulaca Oleracea from Cuttings

Portulaca oleracea is a trailing summer annual groundcover, useful in dry borders or over creeping off the edge of walls.

I bought three pots for $3.99 each two weeks ago. I wanted at least fifteen, but $60.00 for annuals is ridiculous for those of us who do not live in Brentwood or Forest Hills.

The three plants I bought were the mother plants for 24 cuttings. I took the snippers, cut my pieces,and stuck them three or four to a pot in regular potting soil. Since they are succulents, like sedums, they did not need to be covered to preserve moisture and prevent wilting. I put them out in my shady foyer for a day or two, then moved them into the sun.

That was two weeks ago. And here are three of them now, looking enthusiastic and budding out-


Yet at the same time these were rooting, I was conducting an experiment. I had some Silver Plectranthus I was rooting in water, and in with them went a portulaca cutting. Yesterday I pulled him out of the water and found a mass of roots. Into a pot he went. And here he is today-


I will never bother to root this plant in soil again. Meanwhile, in the interest of even greater economy, I am experimenting with rooting  “Blue-Hills Giant” Nepeta (Catnip or Catnip) in water.  I am even going to try this with sedums.

How comforting it is to look into the glass or jar and see the new roots. There is no guesswork, no having to upend the pot and spill potting soil all over while searching for roots.

I have read nay-sayers who claim that water rooted plants do poorly.

I ignore them. I consider what they say disinformation, possibly planted by garden centers or nursery people. Or perhaps they are just saying what some journey man “how-to” writer wrote once,and which has been passed on and on as truth. Be cynical, readers. Much garden writing  is infested with this laziness-

If all my cuttings make it, and I think they will, $12 worth of mother plants will give me $96 worth of new plants

That is smart, and frugal.

That is economy.

*This plant re-seeds, but it reverts then to the culinary portulaca the Greeks use in salads. Its flowers are yellow and insignificant. Many consider it a weed, but I find it tasty.

And free.



About talesofanashvillegardener

Professional gardener, Experimental Cook. Constant Reader
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