Grow Moss Roses: Portulaca


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Grow Moss Roses Indoors and Outdoors

You can grow moss roses as houseplants with some careful considerations. Although usually an outdoor plant, the rose enthusiast may consider growing these beautiful specimens indoors. Interested in more roses for indoor growing? See our article on Roses As Houseplants.

Grow Moss Rose Portulaca
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The Moss Rose as a bedding plant
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Moss roses make beautiful bedding plants and are easily found in nurseries and many home improvement stores. These hardy plants hold their flowers throughout the season, often even during droughts.

Resembling miniature roses, they come in many varieties. In fact, their colors range from orange, yellow, red, bright pink, white, and cream, to variegated colors. With semi-double or full-double flowers, they provide a light beauty to walkways and garden beds.

The purslane family Portulacaceae contains less than 100 species and includes the genus Portulaca grandiflora. The Moss roses stay small, usually under 8 inches tall. However, given space to spread, they will cover up to 2 feet. The dense mat they form creates an excellent groundcover.


The Moss Rose as a houseplant
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However, these hardy annuals may also be grown as houseplants. Some use them in mixed boxes to create a variegated color and texture design. Others allow them to trail from hanging baskets.

And whichever pot type you choose, these hardy plants will provide a beautiful display of dainty blooms for many weeks. Of course, you need to ensure they have the proper growing conditions. This includes a similar environment to an outdoor bed.

Our discussion encompasses the ideal conditions to grow Moss Roses for indoor or outdoor uses.



  • How to Grow
  • Light
  • Soil
  • Water
  • Temperature and Humidity
  • Fertilizer
  • Varieties
  • Pruning
  • Growing From Seeds
  • Common Pests


The details, in summary

Botanical Name: Portulaca grandiflora

Common Name: Moss rose

Plant Type: Annual flower

Propagate from: Seed, cuttings

Mature Size: 3 to 8 inches tall; up to 12 to 24 inches wide

Sun Exposure: Full sun

Soil Type: Sandy, well-drained; will tolerate moist to dry soil

Soil pH: 5.5 to 7.0

Bloom Time: Early summer to frost

Flower Color: White, cream, orange, yellow, red, pink, purple, variegated

Hardiness Zones: 2 through 11

Native Area: South America


How to Grow Portulaca Flowers
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To grow moss rose plants, they need containers. In fact, their low demand for water makes them ideal for containers, including hanging baskets. While they thrive in soil, they do equally well on your patio or deck. Consider them in hanging baskets to enjoy the beautiful trailing vine adorned with petite roses.

In the ground, the Moss Rose is a well-behaved ground cover. Because it is not invasive like many ground covers, it stays within the bounds given. As such, it is quite useful in a small garden area, fairy garden, or a rock garden. You might even use it on a stone or rock wall, allowing it to trail over the edges.



To grow moss rose, it needs six to eight hours of full sun. In shade, they may live, but may not flower much, if at all. They tolerate cloudy days but the flowers usually close without the sun. They emerge again when the sun returns.

For indoor plants, this means they need a window view with plenty of sun. Alternatively, consider using a sunlamp to supplement the needed light. You might even consider putting the sunlamp on a timer to imitate the true sun.



Soil needs must be met for the Moss Rose. They thrive in a well-drained soil. Sandy and rocky soil work, too. However, clay soil will kill these beautiful plants.



While Moss Rose plants tolerate some drought, they are not arid plants. They need regular watering. If they become somewhat dry, they usually recover. But we see the best performance with regular watering. For outside, consider a drip irrigation system to avoid water-logging the flowers. Indoor and container plants should be watered when the soil begins to dry out but is not completely dry.


Temperature and Humidity

The Moss Rose is native to Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina. Therefore, they love heat and can tolerate dry conditions. In fact, Moss Rose plants often are used for xeriscaping for these characteristics.



The Moss rose plant demands little feeding. Use a slow-release fertilizer labeled for flowers. Feed just twice a year, usually once every 6 months.


Varieties and Companions

Moss rose plants make good companions for flowers that also thrive in hot, dry, sunny gardens. Gomphrena flowers, zinnias, and dusty miller grow well when planted with a moss rose border.

The Moss rose provides a good gap-filling after spring bulbs and foliage finish blooming. The Moss Rose forms a mat over the now resting bulbs which protects them without harm. And, because they don’t require large volumes of water, they don’t cause the bulbs to rot, either.

Consider these beautiful portulaca varieties:

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Afternoon Delight: These close their blooms later in the evening, allowing for longer enjoyment.




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Duet series: Duet’s name comes from it’s bi-color flowers in yellow and red or yellow and rose



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Fairy Tale series: These resemble bomb-type peonies. They have a pom pom like center with flat petals that flare around the edges





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Happy Hour: This variety blooms earlier than most, due to a shortened photo-period requirement.




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Margarita series: Rosita variety is an All-American selections winner in this series




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 Sundance: Slightly larger flowers than other varieties hosting on mounding, upright plants make this variety unique.




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Sundial series: This variety is an excellent choice for Northwest gardeners and some indoor placement, as it tolerates cloudy days and cool weather




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Yubi series: Variety of color marks Yubi with single-petaled flowers in eight color choices.




These plants will bloom all season long, but sometimes need a little pruning when they look spindly. At this point, just trim back the plants to provide a stronger stem point. Then fertilize with a flower-type fertilizer. You should see stronger stems and new flowers emerging.


Keep the flowers coming

Your Moss Rose plants produce flowers throughout the growing season. However, to ensure the multitudes they are capable of, pinch back the flowers as they die back. This encourages new growth and more flowers.


Growing The Moss Rose From Seeds

People find it easy to grow moss rose. Just remember that these tiny seeds need light to germinate. Therefore, it’s important that you sow lightly to avoid over-seeding.

For outdoor plants, start the seeds indoors about eight weeks before the last frost date. Alternatively, you may sow them directly in the ground after your last frost.

Germination takes about two weeks if the weather is warm and they receive sunlight. If you have grown these plants in previous seasons, you may not need to seed again. The Moss Rose plant will self-seed and often produces a large number of seedlings in the spring.

Similarly, to grow in a container indoors, simply plant the seeds. Keep the well-drained soil moist. Ensure that they receive ample direct light. In this manner, you may find that direct seeding provides a very simple method of increasing your houseplants quickly.

While the Moss Rose grows easily from seed, propagation from cuttings also works well.


Common Pests
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Aphids occasionally attack portulacas, particularly in the spring. To combat them, spray affected plants with insecticidal soap when the temperature is below 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

If the planting area is wet, you may also need to treat for slugs and snails. Use DE, otherwise known as diatomaceous earth, around moss rose plants to prevent infestations. The DE kills insects naturally by drying out their bodies.


Other Concerns

Fungus diseases can occur. Use a general-purpose fungicide in humid weather, and when problems appear.

Stem and root rot can occur.  This is a problem in wet soil. To avoid problems, plant in well-draining soil, such as a sandy blend. A slightly elevated planting bed also helps to avoid this problem.


Why Grow Moss Rose

If you live in an area of heat and drought, you will love growing Moss Rose. Also commonly called Portulaca, this tough, yet pretty little plant, needs little moisture to thrive and bloom. It grows well in midsummer’s heat, too.

Native to South America, Moss Rose, or Portulaca, is a hardy annual. It produces vividly colored blooms, in shades of rose, yellow, white, orange, red, purple, and pink. Flower blooms begin to appear in early summer.

Moss Rose grows just four to six inches tall. Place it in front of your flower garden.  Try planting Moss Rose as border edging, in rock gardens, as bedding plants or ground cover. They also look good in containers and hanging pots. They’ll be forgiving when you forget to water them.

We invite you to grow Moss Roses as indoor plants!








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This website contains affiliate links. Any purchases made through such links will result in a small commission for me (at no extra cost for you). I use these commissions to help maintain this site to provide helpful information to you.


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