About ten years ago, I bought a hanging planter that included purslane. My first mistake.
Back then, my powers of identification were poor at best. When I started seeing this not-horrible plant in my garden beds, I let it go. My second mistake.
Now, I’m overrun by purslane. I’ll walk away after clearing a bed, come back half an hour later, and tiny purslane weeds have taken over. A fast grower, purslane can throw seeds a fair distance from the mother plant. It also re-roots from stems and leaves. Purslane also loves most herbicides.
As you’ve guessed by not, this plant–like most invasive plants–is a super-survivor. I suppose that’s a good thing if you want to eat purslane. It is edible, and Europeans use it in salads–young stems, leaves, and flower buds are especially delicious if you like salty-sour. I’ve tried it, and find the mucilaginous leaves–think succulent–off-putting.
What it absolutely needs is sunlight to germinate, so the key is to weed by hand as fast as possible, and cover bare areas with mulch, black plastic, newspaper. Of course, the minute I uncover an area, here comes the purslane.
My third and final mistake has been to throw the pulled plants into my burn pile without burning immediately. Most of the gardening sites recommend bagging purslane weeds to prevent spreading.
That’s what I’m doing. Starting tomorrow.
Meanwhile, here are some pics of my neighbor’s un-mowed field. Pretty, right? I wonder if he’s got purslane growing in there.