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Portulaca molokiniensis ('Ihi)

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Scientific Name

Portulaca molokiniensis Hobdy

Common Names

'Ihi

Scientific Classification

Family: Portulacaceae
Subfamily: Portulacarioideae
Genus: Portulaca

Description

Portulaca molokiniensis is a truly unique, succulent plant that branches from the base to form a small shrub up to 12 inches (30 cm) tall. It has upright, round, up to 0.8 inch (2 cm) in diameter at the base, corky stems with up to 2 inches (5 cm) long, rounded, pale green, succulent leaves. The leaves often grow closely spaced in 4 rows along the stems and tend to cluster near the ends of branches. A cluster of small, lemon yellow, cup-shaped flowers appear at the ends of stout stems that rise above the foliage.

Photo via wikimedia.org

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zones 9a to 11b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Portulacas tolerate many kinds of soil but prefer sandy, well-drained soil and love the full sunlight. These plants are excellent for high heat and drought tolerance and will seed and spread themselves very well. Some control methods may be needed to keep Portulacas from becoming invasive to areas where they are not wanted. These wonderful plants do spread easily and very well.

These succulents require no attention at all when growing and flowering. However you should remove them from the garden before Portulaca have chance to set seed as they may take over the garden. You do not need to water often for proper Portulaca care. The cylindrical foliage of the plants retains moisture very well, thus, regular watering is not needed. When they are watered, just a light watering will do, as their root zone is very shallow.

The seeds of Portulacas should be sown on the soil surface following the last frost of spring. Ideally these plants should be grown in a sunny part of the garden. If starting Portulaca indoors then start about one and a half months in advance.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Portulaca.

Origin

Portulaca molokiniensis is native to Pacific Islands.

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