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May 28, 2024 9:37 pm

Wayne Cooperative Extension plant spotlight

Moss Rose (Portulaca) is a low growing, summer annual that will provide flower color all summer with very little care.

WAYNE COUNTY — Have you been looking for a flowering annual that requires little care during these hot summer months? Then the Moss Rose, Portulaca, might be a plant to consider. Moss Rose, also called Purslane, is a low-growing, summer annual that will provide flower color all summer with very little care.

Moss Rose is native to the hot, dry regions of Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. It is very drought tolerant and can handle dry soils, making it a good candidate for our summer months. It can even perform well in soils with low fertility. Moss rose does need full sun and well-drained soils to flower well throughout the summer.

Moss Rose is a succulent with fleshy, needle-like leaves and red stems that can store water during dry periods. There is a wide range of flower colors, including orange, rose, red, pink, yellow and white. The flowers have a cactus-like appearance and may be single or double petals.

The moss rose is a low-growing plant, only getting about six inches tall and will spread to a width of 10 to 12 inches wide creating a low, dense mat. When planting in a landscape bed, you will want to place them towards the front so they can be seen and space six inches apart so they have room to spread.

There are many great uses for moss rose in the landscape. It makes a great summer border plant in landscape beds. You can use it on the edges of containers to let it spread over the container’s edge. It is also often planted in rock gardens intermingled among the rocks.

Moss Rose has very little care and few problems to worry about. It can have occasional deer damage if in an area easily accessible to deer. You can have problems with the plant not flowering well if it is planted in a shady area. The only care would be to remove faded flowers to prevent the plant from going to seed. These plants do have the tendency to self-sow and come up from seed the next year. However, the second generation is typically not as attractive as the first.

To add a splash of color to your landscape or containers but don’t want to worry much about care, consider the moss rose for a bright, colorful summer plant.

— From the Wayne County Cooperative Extension website, by Extension Agent Jessica Strickland