on Portulacas in Hanging Baskets
Portulacas - Easy Care
Portulaca grandiflora, also known as moss roses, Mexican roses or the
sun plant, are herbaceous plants with thin succulently leaves that grow
approx 6-7 inches in height.
Because they are so easy to grow moss roses are ideal for hanging
baskets and hanging planters particularly if you have a hot, sunny and
Portulaca blooms from summer to fall, traditionally opening during
the heat of the day.
All portulacas need sun for their flowers to open. The flowers of older
varieties closed up around noon or as soon as the sun lost its
intensity. Most plants sold today have blooms that stay open all day.
They do stay closed at night and on cloudy days.
The 2-inch single or double rose-like flowers bloom in rainbow hues of
rose, red, yellow, salmon, orange and white. Although it is considered
an annual, portulaca often returns from seeds dropped the previous year
– if you are using a moss lined hanging basket or planter you will find
that they self seed year after year.
Moss roses thrive in full sunlight. Their main soil requirement is
that the soil be well-draining which makes them perfect for hanging
baskets. If the plant's roots stay soggy and wet for too long they will
rot. They also do not grow well if they are cold and wet for too long
In gardens, portulaca grows in any soil type, from loam to clay, even
soil that is heavily sand or quite poor. When planting in containers,
use a potting mixture that is 50 percent potting compost and 50 percent
permalite or similar.
Tips on Caring for your Hanging Baskets
You can easily raise portulaca from seed scattered and lightly pressed
into the soil in March or April or you can buy plants direct from the
Plants your hanging basket or planter after the last frost date.
Keep portulaca lightly watered; in fact you only really need water
when the plant shows signs of wilting – which is great for those of us
who want hanging baskets but are not able to water them on a daily
The plants do not require fertilizer either.
Portulaca do not have problems with many insects and the only fungus
problem that seems to occur is if the plants have been kept too wet,
causing them to fall over.
In this case, water the hanging basket or planter lightly with a
copper-based fungicide and let the basket dry right out before the next
After the first frost in fall, pull up the plants and add them to the
Other Uses for Portulacas
Easy to grow Portulaca is useful in a variety of gardening
The plant's spreading habit makes it a popular choice for containers
or hanging baskets, as it mounds over the container's edge in a riot of
color. You can also plant moss roses as ground covers, use them in
borders or rock gardens.
Its drought and heat tolerance makes it an ideal choice in desert
areas or in a seaside garden.
Portulacas look great planted in crevices of rock walls or on the
edges of gravel paths.
Because Moss Roses thrive in dry conditions, they are a good choice for
Plant them in your rock or alpine gardens for season-long color. Plant
masses of single colors of portulaca for dramatic impact. They make a
great groundcover for hot, sunny areas.
Portulacas love it hot and dry. You can plant them in poor, even sandy,
soil. They also adapt to average garden conditions. Just give them full
sun and any well-drained soil – there love of the hot and dry makes them
ideal for hanging baskets and hanging planters.
Moss roses don’t need much care. Water them after planting and watch
them go. They’ll grow 4 to 8 inches high and spread 6 to 18 inches. You
don’t even have to deadhead. If plants get scraggly, you can cut them
back. Don’t fertilize too much; it will encourage plants to produce
thick foliage but fewer flowers.
Starting Moss Roses from Seed
Moss rose plants are widely available in the spring. They’re also
easy to start from seed. Start them directly outdoors around the last
frost date. Rake the soil surface and sow the seeds without covering
them. In areas with shorter growing seasons, you can start the seeds
indoors 6 to 8 weeks before planting them outside. To minimize
transplant shock, start the seeds in peat pots that can be planted
directly into the ground.
Potulacas will also self-sow in the garden, but not to the point of
being a nuisance. They’re much prettier than your average weeds. Plant
them in a rock wall or along a sidewalk and they may show up next year
in the cracks and crevices. Some of the hybrid cultivars don’t come
true, so expect smaller flowers and fewer colors from self-sown seeds.
Top Portulaca Plants
Portulaca grandiflora has been a popular garden flower since the late
1800s. The species has thick stems covered with succulent, needle-shaped
leaves. Flowers are about 1 inch in diameter and can be single,
semi-double, or double. They come in a wide range of bright colors
including neon pink, red, orange, and yellow. More recent introductions
include pastel shades such as apricot, cream, and white. Some plants
have mottled, bicolor flowers.
Plants in the Sundial Series have gigantic, semi-double flowers up to
2½ inches across. The plants spread about a foot across, making them
perfect for containers. ‘Sundial Peach’ has unusual peach flowers with
The Margartia Series is a compact, early flowering type that produces
loads of 11/2–inch, semi-double flowers that appear ruffled. ‘Margarita
Rosita’ is an award-winning hot pink selection.
The Tequila Series has a tendency to tolerate cool, wet conditions
better than others. Spreading plants grow 2 inches tall by 14 to 18
inches across. Try ‘Tequila Red’, 'Tequila Orange', or 'Tequila Mix'.
Yubi Hybrids are often sold in pots or hanging baskets. They produce
plump, paddle-shaped leaves and spectacular 1- to 1 ½- inch blooms. The
exposed stamens at the centers of the flowers give them a two-toned
‘Double Sunset Fire’ is an exciting new moss rose. One-inch, double
flowers feature a vibrant combination of ruffled magenta centers backed
by bright yellow/gold petals. Plants grow 2 to 4 inches high. These look
great in hanging baskets.
Hot Shot is another popular series of plants, available in several
colors including fuchsia, rose, mango, and orange. They grow between 4
to 6 inches tall.
Where to Buy Seed
Burpee seeds has a selection.
For different colors and a wider selection visit
Give Moss Roses a go in your hanging baskets and you will not be