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How to Grow and Care for Moss Rose (Portulaca)

Moss Rose flower plant

Annual, Portulaca Grandiflora

If you live in a area of heat and drought, you will love growing Moss Rose. Also commonly called Portulaca, this tough, yet pretty little plant, needs little moisture to thrive and bloom. It grows well in mid-summer's heat, too.

Native to South America, Moss Rose, or Portulaca, is a hardy annual. It produces vividly colored blooms, in shades of rose, yellow, white, orange, red, purple and pink. Flower blooms begin to appear in early summer.

Moss Rose grows just four to six inches tall. Place it in the front of your flower garden.  Try planting Moss Rose as border edging, in rock gardens, as bedding plants or ground cover. They also look good in containers and hanging pots. They'll be forgiving when you forget to water them.

Other Names: Eleven O'clock, Purslane, and Sun Plant

Portulaca seeds are edible raw or cooked. The seed can be ground up and put into recipes, soups, and sauces.

Plant Height: 3' to 8'.

Flowers Bloom: Summer

Plant Propagation:

Moss Rose plants are grown from seeds. Moss Rose seeds can be directly seeded into your flower garden, or seeded indoors for transplanting later. For growing Moss Rose, an early, indoor start, translates into an earlier bloom.

Sow seeds early in the season and cover lightly with 1/8" of fine garden or seed starting soil.

Seeds germination period, requires one to two weeks. For indoor starts, try a seedling germination mat.

Do not set out seedlings until after the last frost date your area.  Plants are susceptible to frost. Ideal plant spacing is ten inches apart.

Established plants can also be propagated by cuttings.

Days to Germination: 10-15

How to Grow Moss Rose Plants:

Moss Rose is easy to grow. Grow Moss Rose plants in full sun. Plants prefer average to poor soils. They prefer loose, sandy or loam soil. A well draining composition is important.

Moss Rose plants are drought and heat tolerant. In the flower garden, watering is seldom needed. If growing in containers or hanging pots, allow the soil to dry between watering. Add a general purpose, high nitrogen fertilizer when first planting, to help them to get a good start. Add a high Phosphorous fertilizer just before blooming. No other fertilizer applications should be needed for the season.

Moss Rose produce tough, long lasting, rose-like blooms, in early summer. Pinch or deadhead spent flowers to promote more blooms.

Prune plants to create a fuller, neater appearance. Provide plenty of air circulation through the plant to help avoid fungal disease.

Plants are annuals that are very susceptible to frost. Cover them up whenever cold temperatures are expected.

Insect and Disease:

Aphids, gnats, and other insects can pose a problem. Treat with insecticide or repellents, as needed. Snails and slugs can also be a problem. See more on Snail and Slug Control.

Fungus diseases can occur. Use a general purpose fungicide in humid weather, and when problems appear.

Stem and root rot can occur.  This is a problem in wet soil. Avoid problems by planting in sandy, or other well draining soil. A slightly elevated planting bed also helps to avoid this problem.


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