Portulaca: This plant lives from neglect! DIY

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Portulaca (also called Rose Moss or Moss Rose) is a yearbook that lives from neglect and yet blooms continuously from summer to autumn. Learn how to easily grow these pretty flowers. Perfect for hanging baskets and in the garden!

Rose Moss, Portulaca, Moss Rose photo collage of flowers

If the idea of ​​watering your garden is often not your thing, consider drought-tolerant plants.

I’m not just talking about plants that can last a week without rain. I also think that “drought” means that nobody remembers watering the plants for a day or so … or three.

Ask the employees of your local kindergarten or hardware store about drought-tolerant plants – this is the common colloquial language.

Portulaca, moss rose, rose moss

My favorite plant of all time, which is absolutely neglected, is the annual Portulaca flower.

Portulaca also bears the names moss rose, rose moss and sometimes purslane.

I remember seeing this flower in my grandmother’s garden for the first time as a little girl and have loved it ever since.

white purslane with petunias in terracotta pot

I plant this in my garden and in containers every year.

Why do I love Portulaca so much?

  • Blooms all summer until autumn (as long as there is warm sunshine)
  • Spreads as the summer progresses with more and more flowers
  • Thrives in poorer soils
  • Doesn’t need fertilizer
  • No serious pests

Helpful tip: Portulaca is the perfect choice for rock gardens, hot and dry places, hanging baskets and containers. It thrives on neglect and you will look like a professional gardener as the plants bloom all summer long into the fall season!

multicolored rose moss Portulaca

Portulaca easy care facts

And it couldn’t be easier than with a plant that thrives on neglect!

  • Sun: full sun
    • Portulaca flowers do not open in the shade or on cloudy days
    • The flowers also close at night
  • Water: drought tolerant, but best with periodic water
    • Too much water can drown the roots and kill the plant
  • Resilience: USDA zones 5 through 11, although Portulaca sows itself well
  • Ground: average, well drained soil
  • Spread: Each plant spreads between 12 and 24 inches
  • Flowering time: Depending on the climate, blooming all summer through to autumn
  • Fertilize: not necessary as it thrives in poor soils

Let me repeat: This plant does not need to be fertilized at all. In fact, if you fertilize it? You could kill it. Seriously.

OK, did not want to scare you, but a little fertilizer promotes more green leaves than flowers. A lot of fertilizer will actually kill the plants.

Important: As with many garden plants like azaleas, daylilies and begonias, to name a few, Portulaca can be toxic to dogs and cats if swallowed. Please test your plants for toxicity if you have furry family members who like to be outside with you. The ASPCA has a great list Here.

Peach-orange portulaca

Chipmunks love Portulaca

Yes, chipmunks love to eat portulaca. After seeing them too many times, I think Portulaca must match what our own favorite foods are.

The way the chipmunks go to the plants, grab a flower or a flower bud stem in their greedy little paws, and then chew it away while their eyes close in complete bliss. . .

OK, I made up the last part, but you might as well enjoy a tub of mint chocolate ice cream.

I sprinkle Bonide Repels-All granules around the plants and pots what seems to do the trick. Mainly.

Portulaca flowers

There are so many varieties of Portulaca to choose from!

The Flowers are either single flowers or double flowers, depending on the variety.

Both single and double-flowered Portulaca plants are common in garden centers and nurseries and are also easy to grow from seeds.

Both types are available in a beautiful selection of summer colors – including white, pink, red, yellow and oranges – in both primary and pastel colors.

There are even some newer double flower hybrids that have multiple colors on one plant!

Also keep an eye out for special double flower varieties with veins on the petals, such as. B. the peppermint portulaca varieties like this:

Peppermint portulaca in a saucepan

Important little fact: Portulaca closes when it rains or on cloudy days and sometimes at night. This occurs more frequently in the single flower version than in the double flower version.

Individual flowers

The version of the Portulaca plant is more of a ground cover that grows (horizontally) rather than upwards (vertically). The height is only a few centimeters, but the spread can easily be 14 inches or more.

Yellow single flower portulaca in the garden
red single-flowered portulaca

Double flowers

The double version of the portulaca (sometimes referred to as a half double) grows somewhat more vertically, and the flowers resemble tiny roses with their crimped double leaves.

Lemon portulaca double flower variety

There are so many beautiful shades of double-flowered portulaca! Here are just a few examples to whet your appetite. . .

Pretty pastels!

Peach double-flowered portulaca
light yellow double-flowered portulaca
pale pink double-flowered portulaca

Bright colors!

yellow and fuchsia portulaca flowers
pink double-flowered portulaca
yellow and orange rose petal moss

Should you plant single or double varieties?

Try both!

Annually … but also a kind of perennial!

Another great thing about Portulaca is that it reseeds itself well, but not invasively.

For example, in the photo below you can see our single-flowered red portulaca that I planted with some of them in June the double-flowered seedlings that resulted from planting the previous year. We love that!

double-flowered Portulaca seedlings

Find the seedlings!

It is easy to spot newly germinated seedlings for two reasons.

First, the seedlings only start to sprout in mid-June You can weed happily in spring without worrying that you may be raising valuable new plants.

Second, when the seedlings appear, you can immediately distinguish them from other weeds because Their tiny leaves immediately resemble their full-blown versions.

Single-flowered Portulaca seedlings

The single flowers of Portulaca have completely different leaves than the double flowers.

These leaves really look like juicy leaves:

yellow portulaca moss rose seedling
red portulaca seedling

Double-flowered Portulaca seedlings

The double flower seedlings are noticeable through the needle-like leaves and start to flower as long as the seedlings are still very small:

double-flowered Portulaca seedling

Single flower portulaca in our garden

We have a garden strip in front of our low-walled garden beds, which gets super hot in summer, next to our sidewalk.

Portulaca was the perfect solution for this place.

Below is a photo of newly planted Portulaca. You can hardly see it. It looks like flat green spots in the mulch.

just planted Portulaca in June

Just a month later, most of them bloom, and other seedlings from the previous year have appeared.

portulaca, just a month after planting

A closer look at the single-flowered purslane planted in front of the low garden wall. All double-flowered seedlings that appear on the sidewalk are double-flowered varieties.

Moss rose portulaca planted in a garden strip

Watering tip: The plants receive water when we operate our lawn sprinklers or when it rains. Portulaca is a succulent, which means that it stores water in its leaves and stems to use when it gets a little thirsty. Because the Portulaca root system is very shallow, too much water could actually drown the roots, killing the plant.

colorful moss rose portulaca in the summer garden

Double flower portulaca in our garden

The following year, I decided to plant double-flowered portulaca in the same garden strip.

Double flower rose moss in the garden
Rose moss Portulaca
Double flower rose moss portulaca

I’ve also potted a few because they’re fabulous in containers – mostly because they can handle drought. These containers moved all summer on the back yard patio wherever I wanted more color.

Container pots filled with portulaca

Single flowers from the seeds of the previous year appeared around the double flower plants!

Portulaca with one and two flowers

I planted Lantana Landmark Sunrise Rose (below) in some places to close any gaps between the Portulaca plants. The colors of the Lantana and the portulaca fit together perfectly!

Lantana and rose moss Portulaca

Take a few steps back below. Below is a photo of the plants behind Lantana and Portulaca. Back from left: yucca, pansies and the bushy plant with a few blue flowers Lithodora. Behind the Lithodora: more Lantana, Heuchera and Elijah Blue Fescue Gras.

small summer garden flowers

So what do you think

Do you like the bright colors of Portulaca? Or do you prefer the ruffled double flower varieties?

In any case, you can’t go wrong!

Have fun gardening!

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