If you need to cover hot and sunny ground or you’re tired of watering your hanging baskets every day all summer, look no further than moss rose! Whether you call it moss rose, portulaca, or purslane, this plant is tough as nails and can stand up to almost anything. And with a trailing habit and nonstop bloom power, it looks great in so many settings.
Moss rose comes in many colors—there is almost no end to the amount of combinations you can make with this plant. The blossoms of moss rose generally come in bright, vibrant jewel tones, but there are mild pastel options as well. There are also flowers with "broken color," where a solid colored petal is randomly streaked through with a secondary color. There are also other forms of this broken color patterning where the outside of the petal is one color with a splash of a second color in the center—it's truly unique!
Blooms are typically single flowers with five petals and a pom-pom of yellow stamens in the center. You can also find semi-double blossoms that have a few extra rows of petals. Also, fully double flowers exist that are many petals together with no visible stamens in the center.
These plants are adapted to dry conditions, so they have very fleshy, succulent leaves and stems. These leaves store up water to use at a later time, and in very dry conditions, they may even fold up their stems to help with water loss. The leaves on moss rose can be different shapes, too. Some varieties, generally the ones derived from the species P. grandiflora, are needle-like, while others are more paddle-like in shape.
Moss Rose Care Must-Knows
Moss rose is an extremely easy plant to grow, almost to the point of becoming weedy. The biggest thing to consider when planting moss rose is location. Moss rose hates wet areas, and one of the few ways to kill this plant is by overwatering. Moss roses are adapted to dry, desert-like conditions. Because of this, it may take them a little time to get going in a cool, moist spring—but once the summer heat kicks in, these plants will be off to the races! Moss rose also grows well in slightly salty soil.
Another great thing about this plant is that it doesn't require any deadheading. Moss rose will keep blooming all season long with no additional care needed. However, the plants do produce large amounts of seed, so you may see volunteers coming back each year if you plant them once. Luckily, it's easy to weed out any unwanted seedlings.
More Varieties of Moss Rose
Plant Moss Rose With:
Nasturtiums are so versatile. They grow easily from seed sown directly in your garden's poorest soil and bloom all season until frost—and they are never greedy about food or fertilizer. Nasturtiums are available in either spreading or climbing types. Plant spreading types in large containers to spill over the sides or alongside wide paths to soften the sides for a romantic look. Use nasturtium to brighten a rock garden or between paving stones. Plant them at the edges of beds and borders to fill in between other plants and add soft, flowing color. Train climbing types up trellises or alongside fences. The leaves and flowers are edible; use them as a showy plate garnish or to jazz up salads.
Want fast color for just pennies? Plant zinnias! A packet of seeds will fill an area with gorgeous flowers in an amazing array of shapes and colors—even green! And it will happen in just weeks. There are dwarf types of zinnias, tall types, quill-leaf cactus types, spider types, multicolor, special seed blends for cutting, special blends for attracting butterflies, and more. Zinnias are so highly attractive to butterflies that you can count on having these fluttering guests dining in your garden every afternoon. But to attract the most, plant lots of tall red or hot pink zinnias in a large patch. 'Big Red' is especially nice for this, and the flowers are outstanding, excellent for cutting. Zinnias grow quickly from seed sown right in the ground and do best in full sun with dry to well-drained soil.
Among the most popular container-garden plants, sweet potato vine is a vigorous grower that you can count on to make a big impact. Its colorful foliage, in shades of chartreuse or purple, accents just about any other plant. Grow a few together in a large pot, and they'll make a big impact all on their own. Sweet potato vines do best during the warm days of summer and prefer moist, well-drained soil. They thrive in sun or shade.