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Plant Profile: Moss Rose ( Portulaca grandiflora)

Also called eleven o’clock, Mexican rose, sun rose, table rose, and rock rose, this herbaceous annual is a member of the purslane family, Portulacaceae, and a native of southern Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay.  It is low growing with prostrate stems and thick succulent leaves that are about 1″ long. From early summer to frost, rose-like flowers appear and are 2’ wide,  semi-double or double, and are vividly colored with red, yellow, pink, orange, peppermint, apricot, tangerine, fuchsia, or white. Moss rose thrives in hot, dry conditions and is an excellent choice for rock gardens, the front of the border, or groundcover. They used to have a reputation for not opening in the late afternoon, evening, or overcast days, but new hybrids have reduced this trait. The genus name, Portulaca, comes from the Latin word, porta meaning door and refers to the door-like opening of the seed capsule. The specific epithet, grandiflora, comes from the Latin words grandis, meaning large, and flos meaning flower, and refers to the relatively large flowers.

Type: Annual.

Bloom: Two inch wide flowers in vivid colors including red, yellow, pink, orange, peppermint, apricot, tangerine, fuchsia, and white early summer to frost.

Size: 6” H x 12” W.

Light: Full sun.

Soil: Average, well drained. Will not tolerate wet feet.

Fertilizer: Apply general fertilizer when planting.

Care: Cut back by half in mid summer if plants become floppy to encourage late blooms.

Pests and Diseases: In areas of high heat and humidity, and afternoon rains, root rot may cause the demise of the plants.

Propagation: Seed (but 6 packs are readily).

Companion plants: Annual ageratum (Ageratum houstonianum) , creeping zinnia (Sanvitalia procumbens), dusty miller (Senecio cineraria) or other silver plants such as Artemisia ‘Silver mound’, globe amaranth (Gomphrena globosa).

Outstanding Selections: Sundial series has huge variety of colors and provides semi-double plants on vigorous plants.

Photo Credit Jee & Rani Nature Photography,  Wikipedia

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