Portulaca oleracea RIO SERIES
Common Name: purslane 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Portulacaceae
Zone: 8 to 11
Height: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to frost
Bloom Description: White, yellow, red, rose, orange and apricot
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Drought, Dry Soil


Annual. Easily grown in average, dry to moderately moist, well-drained soils in full sun. Drought and heat tolerant. Set out plants at last spring frost date. Deadhead spent flowers to encourage additional bloom. Plants need sharp soil drainage. Work sand into the soil or consider raised plantings in order to improve drainage.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Portulaca oleracea is commonly known as purslane or moss rose. Although purslane is grown as a vegetable (stems and leaves) in some parts of the world, many American gardeners know it best as a prostrate, summer annual lawn weed that produces small non-showy yellow flowers. It is only certain large-flowered cultivars that elevate this plant into the realm of the ornamental. Those cultivars feature 2” diameter flowers in orange, yellow, red, pink, white and bicolors. Plants typically grow 4-8” tall and spread to 15” wide. Flowers bloom summer to frost. Flowers do not open on cloudy or rainy days. Spatulate to ovate, flat, fleshy leaves (to 1.25” long). Some plants sold in commerce as cultivars of P. oleracea are actually P. umbraticola.

Genus name comes from the Latin name for P. oleracea.

Specific epithet means of the vegetable garden.

Plants in the RIO SERIES are prostrate trailing free-flowering annuals that typically grow to 4-6" tall but spread to 10-12" wide on stems clad with flat, fleshy, spatulate to ovate, succulent leaves (to 1.25" long). Flowers (to 1.5-2" diameter) have five overlapping petals in a variety of bright colors. When grown as annuals, flowers bloom continuously from spring to first autumn frost. When grown in a greenhouse-type environment, flowers will bloom year round. Flowers usually do not open on cloudy or rainy days. RIO SERIES consists of six cultivars that originated in a controlled breeding program in Cartago, Costa Rica in January of 2002. The six cultivars have all received U.S. plant patents and are listed as follows:
(1) 'Balriorose' (light rose flowers, medium green leaves) PP17,240 issued November 28, 2006;
(2) 'Balriorg' (orange flowers, medium green leaves) PP17,241 issued November 28, 2006;
(3) 'Balrioscar' (scarlet flowers, medium green leaves with gray-purple margins) PP17,357 issued January 16, 2007;
(4) 'Balrioapt' (apricot flowers, medium green leaves with gray-purple margins) PP17,407 issued February 13, 2007;
(5) 'Balriowite' (white flowers, medium green leaves) PP17,408 issued February 13, 2007;
(6) 'Balrioyel' (yellow flowers, medium green leaves with gray-orange margins) PP17,418 isssued February 20, 2007.


No serious insect or disease problems. Potential insect pests include aphids, gnats, snails and slugs. Stem and root rot may occur in overly moist soils.


Good for poor dry soils where many other plants struggle. Edging or ground cover for beds, rock gardens or along walks. Containers, hanging baskets. Sprawl over stone walls.