The plant spreads aggressively and can be used for ground cover in a sunny position amongst plants tall enough not to be overrun by it.
A very easily grown plant, it succeeds in most soils but prefers a sunny position in a fertile well-drained soil. Established plants are drought tolerant. Grows well on walls.
Surface sow in spring in well-drained soil in a sunny position in a greenhouse. Do not allow the soil to dry out. It can also be sown in the autumn in a cold frame, some seed germinates immediately whilst others germinate in the spring. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. If sufficient growth is made, it is possible to plant them out during the summer, otherwise keep them in a cold-frame or greenhouse for their first winter and plant them out in early summer of the following year.
Leaves - raw or cooked. Rich in vitamin C, but it has a bitter acrid taste. The main interest in the edible qualities of this plant is as a survival food, since it grows wild in the driest deserts as well as in arctic conditions. Large quantities can cause stomach upsets. It is best to dry the leaves (which can be difficult because they are very fleshy) and then powder them and use them to add a peppery taste to foods. The leaves are dried and ground into a powder to make a spicy seasoning.
The sap can irritate the skin of some people.