How to Grow Moss Roses

 How to Grow Moss Roses (Portulaca)

The moss rose, also known as purslane (Portulaca grandiflora), is a plant native to desert regions of South America, including Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay. These succulent plants have evolved with the ability to store large amounts of water in their leaves and remain dormant in dry conditions, allowing them to withstand drought until rains arrive.

Shortly after being exposed to water, they burst into vegetation and form a colorful blanket in the South American desert. Because these flowering plants are so hardy, they are easy to grow even for novice gardeners, either as ground covers or in baskets or hanging pots.

Moss roses tolerate transplanting well with other species and can be grown with succulents, such as aloe vera, that require water.

They come in many different varieties and are often sold in the ground cover section of your local nursery. Our favorites are Happy Hour, Sundance, and Calypso.

Where to Grow Moss Roses

You can grow moss roses almost anywhere that has enough sun. These are sun-loving plants and their seeds need exposure to sunlight to germinate. It does not do well indoors unless it is placed in a window that gets at least six hours of direct sunlight per day.

We have had good luck growing moss roses outside during the summer. However, they do not tolerate cold well, and in most American climates, they will die back in the winter. Moss roses can be grown outdoors in spring, either from dormant seeds or roots, but it's best to go ahead and replant them from scratch every year for the best blooms.

Moss roses work great in hanging baskets as well as growing in large containers. These hardy flowering plants usually tolerate well when planted with other desert or succulent plants.

Growing Moss Roses From Seed

You can easily grow moss roses from seeds. They need sunlight to grow, so scatter your seeds over the soil in a container that you keep in a sunny location.
The best conditions for germinating moss rose seeds are when the soil temperature is above 80 degrees F, when sunlight reaches the container most of the day, and when watered every few days (caution: do not overwater).

When danger of frost has passed, you can transplant moss roses from your starter pots into your outdoor beds. Small moss roses are best planted about 12 inches apart as they can grow up to 6 inches tall and a foot wide.

Moss Rose Tips

Start the seeds indoors using a potting mix containing sand in a sunny area.
Water once or twice a week or when the topsoil feels dry to the touch.
Keep the seeds exposed to sunlight.
Plant young plants in the garden after all danger of frost has passed.
Plant the small moss roses about 1 foot apart.
Plant outside in well-drained, sandy soil with plenty of sun.

Types of moss roses you can grow from seed

Varieties of moss roses, or purslane, that you can grow from seed include Happy Hour, which we planted this spring along with peppery, red and orange Happy Hour mint.

How to Care for Moss Roses

Moss roses are very easy to care for. They like well-drained soil and any regular potting soil with some sand will work well as long as the container has good drainage. If your potting mix doesn't include sand, you can mix cactus and succulent potting mix with houseplant potting mix for a mix in which moss roses will thrive.

They don't need a lot of fertilizer. If you want to give them a boost from time to time, you can give them a small amount of Miracle-Gro House Plant Fertilizer.
Most insects leave moss roses alone, which is another reason we love growing them in addition to their hardiness. If you do become infested, products such as safe soap, diluted and sprayed on the plant, can often solve the problem.

No comments