Moss Rose

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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 Overview

Genus Name Portulaca spp.
Common Name Moss Rose
Plant Type Annual
Light Sun
Height 6 to 6 inches
Width null to 18 inches
Flower Color Orange, Pink, Purple, Red, White, Yellow
Foliage Color Blue/Green
Season Features Fall Bloom, Summer Bloom
Special Features Good for Containers, Low Maintenance
Zones 10, 11
Propagation Seed, Stem Cuttings
Problem Solvers Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Groundcover

Colorful Combinations

Moss rose comes in many colors. In fact, there is almost no end to the number 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, but there are semi-double blossoms that have a few extra rows of petals. You can also find fully double flowers with a flurry of petals together and 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 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

Sundial Fuchsia Moss Rose

Sundial Fuchsia Moss Roses
Peter Krumhardt

Portulaca 'Sundial Fuchsia' offers bold magenta-pink on compact, heat-resistant plants.

Sundial Peppermint Moss Rose

Sundial Peppermint Moss Rose
Marty Baldwin

Portulaca 'Sundial Peppermint' offers white blooms liberally striped with hot pink.

Sundial White Moss Rose

Sundial White Moss Rose
Justin Hancock

Portulaca 'Sundial White' bears showy double white blooms all summer long.

Sundial Yellow Moss Rose

Sundial Yellow Moss Rose
Marty Baldwin

Portulaca 'Sundial Yellow' bears showy double golden-yellow blooms all summer.

Moss Rose Companion Plants

Nasturtiums

moss rose nasturtiums
Peter Krumhardt

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.

Zinnias

moss rose pink zinnias butterfly
Peter Krumhardt

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 and 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.

Sweet Potato Vine

moss rose sweet potato vine
Peter Krumhardt

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.

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