A native of hot, dry plains in Argentina, southern Brazil, and Uruguay, moss rose, or Portulaca grandiflora, is a drought- and heat-tolerant annual. For its colorful flowers that bloom all summer long with little maintenance, this herbaceous plant of the purslane family (Portulacaceae) is grown all over the world as an annual garden plant. Similar to the weed purslane (P. oleracea), it has escaped cultivation and naturalized along some of the nation’s highways and in waste areas. Although many cultivars of moss rose are probably hybrids, the ornamental industry may list it as P. oleracea, P. umbraticola, or P. grandiflora.
The semi-succulent moss rose plant holds water in its fleshy stems and leaves. The oblong to cylindrical, brilliant green leaves have sharp points. Along the reddish, multi-branched, prostrate to slightly ascending stems, they are grouped alternately or in small clusters and can reach a length of an inch.
The leaves of P. oleracea and its hybrids are flat.
The stems can be quite brittle and readily break (although broken pieces will root if the soil is moist enough). The low-growing plants emerge from the core fibrous root system to form a mat that can be up to a foot broad and 3 to 8 inches high.
The stem tips bear the saucer-shaped, rose-like blooms, which emerge from buds that look like tiny popcorn kernels and are held facing up above the foliage. The majority of the newer hybrids will stay open all day, unlike the older ones, which are only open in direct sunlight and close at night and on overcast days.
The foliage can almost disappear when the flowers are open. Warm hues including pink, peach, yellow, orange, red, fuchsia, magenta, lavender, and purple are also available in addition to white when it comes to flowers. More colours are available in newer cultivars and hybrids than in the species, and some include stripes or spots in different colors. Although double and semi-double varieties with numerous sets of petals have been created, each flower has five paper-thin petals. A cluster of 40 or more stamens and 5 to 8 stigmas are surrounded by the petals. Flowers range in size from 1-3 inches across, depending on the variety.
Round seed capsules with a 1/8–1/4 inch diameter form after fertilization. When they are fully mature, they burst open, releasing a large number of tiny, irregularly shaped to long, blue-gray seeds. Moss rose frequently reproduces through seed. The seeds can be eaten raw or cooked, although gathering enough to serve as food would take a lot of time.
In hot, dry climates where other plants struggle, moss rose makes an excellent bedding plant. It can be interplanted in bulb beds to cover the ground after the bulb foliage dies back, used as an annual groundcover in large quantities, or as an edging plant along walks. It looks great draped over stones in a rock garden or in the cracks in a rock wall and will grow between rocks and flagstones (but does not tolerate any foot traffic).
It blends well in containers with other plants like nasturtium and zinnia that also do well in hot, sunny environments. Moss rose’s delicate texture pairs nicely with nasturtium’s striking, spherical leaves, and its low stature contrasts with all varieties of zinnias. When planted in containers, the beautiful sweet potato vine in either lime green or dark purple enhances the appearance of the vividly colored blossoms (but be aware that the vigorous growth of the sweet potato could easily overrun the smaller moss rose, especially when planted in the ground). In hanging baskets, moss rose can be utilized as a trailing plant that hangs over the edge of the basket.
As long as the soil is well-drained, moss roses can be grown in full sun in most soil types. It works well in rocky, gravelly, sandy, or lean terrain. For an earlier bloom, grow from seed that is directly sown in the ground or started inside 4–8 weeks before the typical last frost. Whether planted outside or indoors, the small seeds must be barely covered.
Before planting, combine the small seeds with sand to make it simpler to distribute them evenly. The germination time for seeds is 11–2 weeks. Wait until the soil has warmed and the threat of frost has subsided before sowing seeds or transplanting into the garden since they are frost-sensitive. The seedlings should be spaced 3 inches apart or more. Cuttings can also be used to spread established plants. Although moss rose can withstand harsh conditions, plants thrive in moist, rich soils and generate more lush growth and blossoms. Deadheading or pinching will increase flowering and decrease reseeding. If plants start to appear straggly in the middle of the growing season, they can be trimmed or sheared to create a neater appearance and encourage fuller growth.
Although occasionally aphids or slugs might be an issue, moss rose has few pest concerns. In moist soils, stem or root rots might be an issue. In most places, deer do not appreciate this plant.
Both single types and combinations of seeds are available. In the spring, many varieties are offered as bedding plants in garden stores and from other merchants. Although more are always being created, some popular kinds include:
- The 2 inch flowers of “Afternoon Delight” remain open later in the afternoon than the species.
- Bright double flowers in colours of yellow, red, pink, orange, purple, and white are featured on the plant ‘Calpyso Mix’.
- ‘Duet’ features compact, free-flowering plants with bicolor solitary flowers.
- Flowers from the “Fairy Tale” series include flat outer petals in vibrant hues and a pom-pom of petals in the center. It features the flat leaves typical of P. oleraceae even though it is classified as P. grandiflora. These cultivars are appropriately named, with names like “Cinderella” for the bicolor yellow and red one, “Snow White” for the all-white variety, and “Sleeping Beauty” for the yellow.
- The “Happy Hour” series is available in 8 vibrant colors with exotic names like “banana,” “coconut,” “lemon,” “orange,” and “rosita.” It was bred to require less photoperiod so that it will bloom earlier. Unlike most moss roses, this one has a larger habit and huge, double flowers.
- A group of plants known as “Margarita” are compact, mounding, early bloomers with blooms that come in hues of red, pink, orange, white, yellow, and purple.
- Large white, pink, red, tangerine, and yellow flowers are featured in the “Mojave” series.
- The “Rio” series consists of a mixture of six different cultivars with individual patents that have big, vivid flowers.
- Semi-double, all-day blooms in four different hues can be found on the plant variety “Sundance.”
- The double flowers in the “Sundial” series bloom early and open when it is cooler and cloudier outside. The small plants are available in nine hues, including white, pink, peach, “Mango” (orange), red, yellow, and “Fuchsia,” which has blossoms that are magenta-pink in color. Other colors include white, pink, and peach.
- The TequilaTM family of hybrids features blooms that are multicolored, such as the red variety, which has a red outside and a yellow interior. It has been demonstrated to be somewhat less responsive to daylength and marginally more tolerant to cool and damp circumstances than other variants. In 2013, the Happy Trails series took its place, offering more colors than the Tequila series and a shorter minimum photoperiod (so will bloom earlier).
- There are various hues in the “Yubi Summer Joy” collection. All of them have a solitary blossom that opens up late in the day and is almost three inches across. More trailing and with large leaves are the plants.
What classifies as a succulent?
A genus of annual plants in the Portulacaceae family is called Portulaca. It grows nicely in containers and has succulent leaves and vivid, beautiful blossoms. Additionally, it can be grown indoors.
This plant thrives in very well-drained soil, full sun, or brilliant direct light. If growing outdoors, remove the wasted blossoms to stop self-seeding.
- stems that are decumbent or procumbent
- one inch long, thin, meaty leaves
- At the joints and apex of the stem, leaves gather.
- petals with a heart shape that close at night or on overcast days
Succulents, are purslane?
The widely distributed, highly variable common purslane, Portulaca oleracea, belongs to the Portulaceae family of plants. Despite probably having its origins in North Africa, the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent, it had already reached North America by the time of the pre-Columbian era and was present in Europe by the late 16th century. It is now commonplace in most regions of the world, both tropical and temperate, and can be found in disturbed or waste areas including roadside ditches, flowerbeds, and cultivated fields. It has been farmed for food and medicine for almost 4,000 years and is still growing in many locations now.
It is regarded as being quite nutritive due to its unusually high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids (found only in fish and flax seeds), large amounts of vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium, as well as antioxidants. It should not be ingested in excess by people who are prone to developing kidney stones because it also contains significant amounts of oxalates (just like spinach does). It was once used as an ointment for burns and is occasionally administered to birds to lower the cholesterol in their eggs. Garden purslane, small hogweed, pusley, and wild portulaca are some of its other common names. In Mexico, it is known as verdolaga and in France, pourpier.
An herbaceous annual with succulent leaves and branches, purslane grows quickly. Even the seed leaves, which are rectangular, are succulent. The numerous reddish, silky stems that grow from a single taproot are usually prostrate and can create a mat that is up to three feet in diameter. The plant may grow relatively low or more erectly, reaching a height of 16 feet, depending on the amount of moisture available.
At stem joints, the alternate leaves are grouped together. Each leaf is quite meaty and can hold a lot of water when it is available. Each flat, green, oval to spoon-shaped leaf is devoid of indentations along the frequently reddish rim and is at its widest near the rounded tip. They are immediately linked to the stems and hardly ever have petioles.
When there is enough moisture, plants will bloom. The five (or four) notched petals, numerous yellow stamens, and numerous pistils that are grouped together in the center of the 1/4-1/2 inch wide yellow blooms. They only normally are open from mid-morning through early-afternoon on hot, sunny days. Just one bloom opens at a time in each cluster of leaves, and they grow in the leaf axils at the stem joints or terminally.
The plants are self-fertile, thus even while pollinators will visit the flowers, practically all of them will eventually produce a large number of tiny brown to black seeds in a little pod. When the seeds are ready to be released, the ovoid capsule ruptures along a transverse groove.
In practically any soil, from thick clay to muck high in organic matter, purslane can grow in full sun. Young plants will remain small and stunted in cool temperatures, and it thrives in warm weather. Despite preferring regular water, it can endure drought. It is simple to dig or hoe out undesired plants, but these plants should be taken out of the garden since cut stems from larger plants will quickly root at the nodes to become re-established, and seeds will mature in the pods even if the plant is withdrawn and left with its roots turned upward. In the soil, seeds can survive for many years. The plant will die if it receives its first fall freeze because it is frost-sensitive.
In a vegetable garden, purslane can be easily grown from seed and is ready for harvest in 6 to 8 weeks. Sow in nutrient-rich, well-drained soil, spacing seeds 4–6 apart. You can pick the entire plant or only the stems up to two inches from the crown, and the plant will grow back and produce edible leaves for the most of the summer (although successive sowings may be preferred for more tender young leaves). Water regularly when growing crops for human consumption since leaves from plants that are experiencing moisture stress do not taste as well. There aren’t many pests that affect purslane, although in some regions of the country, the purslane sawfly (Schizocerella pilicornis) and a leafminer weevil (Hypurus bertrandiperris) can harm or kill the plants.
Purslane is frequently consumed as a raw or cooked vegetable outside of North America. It occasionally appears in specialized shops or at farmer’s markets in the US.
A faint acidic or sour and salty flavor can be found in the stems, leaves, and flower buds. The physiology of the plant affects the flavor’s intensity. Purslane changes to photosynthesis in hot, dry conditions in order to save moisture through Crassulacean acid metabolism (C4). In this system, the leaves capture carbon dioxide at night and convert it to malic acid rather than during the day, when the regular photosynthetic process would cause valuable water to evaporate through transpiration. The sour-tasting malic acid is then transformed into glucose and stored for use throughout the day. Therefore, the tartest-tasting leaves are those that are plucked early in the day when malic acid concentrations are at their peak. Many branded varieties are grown as crops, but only a few number are offered in the US.
Around the world, purslane is used in a variety of dishes, particularly salads, soups, stews, and tomato sauces. Purslane thickens soups and stews when cooked because it turns mucilaginous. The seeds can be eaten as well. University of Wisconsin-Madison student Susan Mahr
Do moss roses count as roses?
Moss rose, also known as Portulaca grandiflora, is an eye-catching annual flowering plant. A member of the Purslane family, moss rose is a drought-resistant plant that is indigenous to the dry plains of Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil. Moss roses are easily recognized by their succulent leaves and pom-pom-shaped flowers. Because they can store water inside their fleshy leaves and strong stems, moss rose plants are better equipped to withstand high temperatures and direct sunlight. The moss rose is hence a flowering plant that requires little upkeep.
Moss rose is frequently used as groundcover because it brightens up stone walls, walks, and rock gardens. It can also be grown in a hanging basket, where its robust blossoms and thick leaves make for an eye-catching show. Seed packs with a single variety or a combination are available.
Can You Grow Moss Rose in Pots?
You can begin moss rose cultivation in pots. However, the plant will no longer fit in the plant after around two months, and you might start to see exposed roots. When this occurs, it’s time to take your moss rose out of the pot and plant it in a garden.
Can Portulaca Be a Houseplant?
Portulaca, often known as sun rose or moss rose, can be grown indoors. If you have a trailing variety, it will be challenging.
On the other hand, upright portulaca plants are considerably simpler for you to grow indoors in a big container. Just bear in mind that they will only reach certain heights.
How Do You Care for Potted Moss Rose?
You should be careful not to overwater potted moss roses if you plan to grow them. Before giving the plant any water, make sure the soil is fully dry. Additionally, you should enable them to sit in a sunny area because these plants want a lot of light.