Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Portulaca, Purslane, Pigweed, Pusley
Portulaca x hybrids 'Anonymous Cultivars'

Family: Portulacaceae
Genus: Portulaca (por-tew-LAK-uh) (Info)
Species: x hybrids
Cultivar: Anonymous Cultivars


6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

6-9 in. (15-22 cm)
9-12 in. (22-30 cm)
12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Blooms repeatedly


Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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By Joy
Thumbnail #1 of Portulaca x hybrids by Joy

By yvana
Thumbnail #2 of Portulaca x hybrids by yvana

By FLSuncoast
Thumbnail #3 of Portulaca x hybrids by FLSuncoast

By FLSuncoast
Thumbnail #4 of Portulaca x hybrids by FLSuncoast

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Thumbnail #5 of Portulaca x hybrids by Azalea

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Thumbnail #6 of Portulaca x hybrids by eloopj

By yvana
Thumbnail #7 of Portulaca x hybrids by yvana

There are a total of 33 photos.
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14 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Menk On Feb 7, 2013, Menk from Darling Downs
Australia wrote:

Most of the photos posted under this name are garden cultivars of P. umbraticola. There is nothing "anonymous" about them. Also they are technically not true hybrids in the sense that they resulted from the crossing of different species. Only one species with a broad natural distribution was ever involved. They are produced by way of intra-varietal hybridization and from then on are continued vegetatively from cuttings. In this sense they are essentially cultivars of a species.

The correct naming of the cultivar is prescribed by the Rules and Recommendations of the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants. In this case the correct name is Portulaca umbraticola subsp. umbraticola 'Cultivar Name' or as Portulaca umbraticola subsp. umbraticola Group Name. The latter may be placed in brackets and followed by the cultivar name enclosed in single quotes.

The author Urs Eggli places these plants correctly as cultivars of P. umbraticola subsp. umbraticola in the book "Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Dicotyledons" (2001).

Eggli states of P. umbraticola : "This species is unique by virtue of the membranous wing ('corona') surrounding the basis of the capsule" and further writes: "A horticultural selection is available as a cultivar 'Wildfire Mixed'."

A paper which talks about the development of this first Portulaca umbraticola series is Matthews, J.F., D.W. Ketron and S.F. Zane.1992. "Portulaca umbraticola Kunth.(Portulacaceae) in the United States." Castanea 57: 202-208.

Most horticulturalists today presume correctly that the 'Wildfire' series was bred from plants originating in South America (as the flowers of P. umbraticola subsp. umbraticola from South America are much larger, with richer coloring and much greater colour diversity). It is reasonable to presume that the progenitors of the 'Wildfire' series were South American plants of this subspecies that were being grown by native plant enthusiasts in the US. It is possible that the plants were grown originally as more showy and longer-lived "substitutes" to the native subspecies, which are comparatively short-lived plants with rather weak and spindly stems and small flowers.

There are two subspecies that are native to the United States.

P. umbraticola subsp. coronata is found on granite and sandstone rock outcrops in South Carolina and Georgia and has small, pure yellow flowers.

P. umbraticola subsp. lanceolata grows on rock outcrops and sand in S USA, W of the Mississippi, and has small yellow flowers tipped with coppery red. Both of the subspecies native to the USA are short-lived annuals with small flowers and have little colour variation in the petals. It seems unlikely that they were ever used to breed the original 'Wildfire' series.

The 'Wildfire' series has been continued to this day and goes under other names. The lineage is essentially still the same as the original series, although some plant breeders claim to have created new lines with greater flower abundance or larger flowers or improved colour tones. Some also claim that their plants are longer lived. For the most part, they are still basically the same plants as the original 'Wildfire' series. At least this is the conclusion I have always reached whenever I have grown them side by side in the garden.

Some of the newer cultivar names for Portulaca umbraticola cultivars include 'Sun Jewels', 'Hot Spots', 'Pazzazz', 'Yubi', 'Summer Joy', and 'Toucan', and many, many others. They are sold under different names throughout the world, but are all essentially the same cultivars in my opinion.

As most of these plants are cutting-grown, the plants are best regarded as individual cultivars, rather than as true strains. The word "strain" implies that the plants have been grown as a batch from seed. The original 'Wildfire' Series were recessive when grown from seed. After one or two generations fewer viable seeds are produced as sterility returns. There is also a tendency for seedlings to revert to a plain yellow flower form, rather than repeat the parental type reliably. The only way to produce a new batch from seed is to start from scratch and hand cross the original wild varieties. This will produce a new batch of F1 intra-varietal cultivars.

The problem of recessive genes means that the chances of extending a lineage through further breeding become very limited. Only chance sports will occasionally be found and these can then be continued by cuttings. Some of the wholesale nurseries claim to be using "tissue culture" to propagate their plants, but I suspect they could be using this term loosely.

There are a couple of "strains" that do seem to be trending towards new lineages, but it is difficult to know how much selective breeding was actually involved in their development. It is also difficult to predict if these lineages can ever be expanded in future. As the so-called "strains" mostly consist of individuals rather than a batch showing a range of variations, this suggests that they are actually just "sports" (arrived at by chance) and they have then been propagated vegetatively.

One of these new "strains" focuses on broken flower color [the 'Duet' series]. Another has focused on flowers with deformed petaloid stamens that make the flower look semi-double [the 'Fairytail' series].

An interesting side point is that the original series was not called 'Wildfire'. It was called 'Wildfire Mixed' because the developers found that the colours were unstable whenever plants were grown from seed. So the 'Wildfire' name was dropped in favour of 'Wildfire Mixed'. The original plan had been to market this series as packeted seed rather than as live plants.

Incidentally, the original progenitors of the 'Wildfire Mixed' series, the Pan American Seed Company, has in more recent times moved on to the "Toucan" range under their "Hot Summer Survivors" banner. I note that they are selling seed of selected colours. You can choose from 'Mixed', 'Yellow', 'Fushia', and 'Scarlet'.

I wonder if this means they have finally resolved the problem of unstable flower colour that had plagued the original 'Wildfire' series? I would be interested to hear from anyone who has experience with growing this seed. I would be keen to know if they have reproduced reliably according to the designated flower colours.

Oddly (and frustratingly) the company are still using the incorrect name "Portulaca oleracea", even though the name for this purslane was corrected in "Sunset Garden Books" (America's leading horticultural journal) some 15 years ago. Today they should be called by their true species name, Portulaca umbraticola.

Positive sunkissed On Jan 9, 2011, sunkissed from Winter Springs, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I just love this colorful plant. It is about the only plant that will grow well in my sunny flower box that relies on hand watering or rain...very drought tolerant and selfseeds. I have even put the leaves in my salads and they have a nice taste to them, it is very high in vitamins A, B1 and C .
My only complaint is the flowers only stay out half the day and then close up, wish they'd stay out as long as the sun does. They can't tolerate too much water, the ones I have that get overhead irrigation eventually get leggy and rot at the soil base. Grow great in sunny neglected areas of sandy soil and seems to be the area that self seeds. Will not tolerate temperatures below 35.

Positive diana_s On May 20, 2006, diana_s from Milton, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

Fantastic, low maintenance plant. Love how it blooms from 9-5 and always seems to have lots of blooms!

Positive JaxFlaGardener On Jun 20, 2005, JaxFlaGardener from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I "pruned" a couple of leggy stems from this plant at one of the large garden centers, stuck it in the dirt in my garden, and it bloomed right away and has spread out about 1 ft in all directions.

I have both this hybrid/ornamental variety and the native wildflower version with smaller flowers in my yard.

Positive woodspirit1 On Jun 4, 2005, woodspirit1 from Lake Toxaway, NC (Zone 7a) wrote:

I have not grown this plant but my sister-in-law has and she lives nearby. We live in a very rainy area but plant them with excellent drainage and they do great even here. Hers are in concrete urns setting atop some walled stairs in full sun (when we have it).

Positive FranciscoSantos On Oct 12, 2004, FranciscoSantos from Brasília
Brazil wrote:

The plants in these pictures are not the true wild portulaca, they are the cultivated form of Portulaca oleracea. The wild form has smaller, less ornamental flowers(yellow), and spatulate leaves. It also takes a somewhat radiating habit as it sends shoots( quite ornamental) and growing it requires attention as its inumerous seeds dispese and grow everywhere if you don't control it.

Positive easter794 On May 11, 2004, easter794 from Seffner, FL wrote:

I love this little plant but the squirrels love it too. They eat it all up. Very easy to grow. Little to no care. Easy to root, just pluck a piece off and stick it in the dirt. I have a new variety that is just lovely. All Aglow in Florida.

Positive Lanan On Apr 13, 2004, Lanan from Hawkinsville, GA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Wonderful plant that does NOT need lots of water. Will grow in places nothing else will grow. Beautiful and will fill out quickly. Can just pinch off a stem and stick in the ground to root. MUCH prettier and fuller than the thin leaf portulaca. Needs lots of sun to bloom well but will grow in shade. GREAT ground cover or use in a hanging basket. I even grew it out of a hole in a tree!

Positive broozersnooze On Jul 8, 2003, broozersnooze from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

EXTREMELY easy to root. Break off a stem with a bloom, put it in water to root (takes only about a week). The cutting just keeps right on blooming. When the cutting roots the bloom is still there so you'll know what color you're planting. Neatest thing I've ever seen. Drought resistant, succulent-type plant. Lots of recipes on the web for cooking these beautiful plants.

Positive grakay On Jul 7, 2003, grakay from Palm Coast, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

This plant has been so prolific, that I've given many cuttings away, and rooted even more for more small gifts. I have one that is in a hanging basket that really likes to show its beauty.
It loves the full sun here in Florida, and covers bare spots very nicely.

Positive Yubiapricot On Jul 6, 2003, Yubiapricot from Aberdeen, MD wrote:

I love this plant. So many different colors to choose from. This year however, I'm having problems with my perfectly healthy 10" baskets of purslane. Almost overnight, ALL of the leaves began turning yellow and falling off.

Positive DrSal On Jun 21, 2003, DrSal from Marathon, FL wrote:

What a wonderful find for sunny Florida. Purslane blooms during the day and the flowers close up at night. The blooms are brilliant. The plant requires little care and only occasional watering. It spreads quickly and is excellent as a ground cover or even in a hanging basket.

Positive Monocromatico On May 24, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

This is the first plant I tried to grow, even though it was accidental (it started growing in an abandoned vase in my window, and I didn´t want it to die, like the other plants that tried to grow there spontaneously before). So, even a 14 years old kid with no experience or even taste for gardening can make it grow and bloom abundantly with little effort

Positive ishuffle On Jun 14, 2002, ishuffle from Fort Worth, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

This is a great plant for hanging baskets, pots, or as ground cover. Purslane loves the heat and is very drought tolerant. This is a plant that blooms from spring to frost without any maintenance.

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