Planting Guide and Seed Saving Notes for Claytonia

Claytonia (Claytonia perfoliata)

This species got its name due to its use as a fresh salad green by miners in the 1849 Gold Rush in California, saving many from scurvy. Succulent, mild tasting leaves are not unlike spinach in texture, enjoy it in salads or lightly steamed. Makes a charming ground cover in the spring garden. Also known as Winter Purslane.

Nutrients: Iron, Calcium, Vitamin C

How to grow Claytonia from Seed

Bed Preparation

Claytonia is a cool season plant that prefers moist, well-drained soil high in nitrogen. Choose a site with full sun to partial shade.


Seeds germinate best if soaked in water prior to planting. Germination rates are greatly reduced if soil temperatures are above 65˚F. Start seeds as early as six weeks before the last frost or as soon as you can work the soil. Sow seeds ½" deep and 1" apart. Seeds will sprout in 6-21 days. Thin seedlings so that mature plants are 4" apart.

Claytonia can be planted in succession every two weeks throughout spring and again in late summer for a fall crop. With minimal protection, Claytonia overwinters in most areas of the U.S.


Harvest when plants have at least six 3-4" long leaves. Harvest by cutting leaves from the outside of plant first to prolong productivity.

How to Save Claytonia Seed

Hot temperatures and long days will trigger flowering in Claytonia. Allow spring crop to flower and set seed. Seed is ready to harvest when the flowers have dried brown and seeds are black. Claytonia seeds do not store for extended periods of time. Fresh seed should be used each growing season.