How to Care and Propagate Moss Rose or Portulaca

Moss Rose, also known as portulaca, is a flowering plant that belongs to the family Portulacaceae. It is a flower native to South America, but is now widely cultivated around the world for its beautiful, vibrant flowers and ease of care. The plant gets its name from the small moss-like leaves that grow close to the ground, so it is also called moss rose.

This plant is known for its bright, vibrant flowers that bloom all summer. Portulaca or ‘moss rose’ is easy to grow, with low care and is a great choice for new gardeners. Many people think it is a wild flower that does not need care. That is not true at all. Today we will know about how to care and propagate ‘moss rose’ or portulaca.

How to Care and Propagate Moss Rose or Portulaca

The portulaca or moss rose plant is a low-growing, spreading annual that can grow up to six inches tall and up to 12 inches wide. It has fleshy, succulent leaves that are usually green, but can also be red or variegated. The plant blooms during the summer months, producing a wide range of colorful flowers in shades of pink, red, orange, yellow, white and bi-color. The flowers are cup-shaped and have a silky texture, open in full sun and close at night or on cloudy days.

Portulaca or Moss Rose is a popular plant for use in rock gardens, borders and containers due to its drought-tolerance and low maintenance requirements. It prefers well-drained soil and full sun, but can also tolerate some shade. The plant is also resistant to deer and other pests, making it an excellent choice for gardens in areas with wildlife.

How to Care and Propagate Moss Rose or Portulaca

Choosing the right location:

Portulaca thrives in warm, sunny locations. It prefers fertile, well-draining soil and can tolerate drought conditions. When choosing the right location for your pot, make sure it gets at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. Avoid planting portulaca in areas with poor drainage, as this can cause plant rot.

Soil preparation:

Soil preparation is an important step before planting purslane. Portulaca prefers slightly acidic, fertile sandy-loam soil. If you have accumulated heavy or clay soil, amend it with sand or compost to improve drainage. Mix 50% soil, 30% cow dung, 20% sand and keep the soil moist for a few days. Then the seedlings should be planted. Late winter is the perfect time to plant purslane.

Planting Method:

Portulaca can be planted from seed or cuttings. If planting from seed, sow directly into the ground after winter. To cut, wait until the plant is established and cut a healthy part of the stem. Soak the cuttings in root hormone and plant them in well-drained soil.

When planting, space plants six to eight inches apart for proper plant growth and thorough watering.

How to Care and Propagate Moss Rose or Portulaca

Moss Roses/Portulaca are often propagated from seed and can be sown directly into the ground later in the winter. Plants self-seed, which falls to the ground and grows into new plants the following year. It can also be propagated from stem cuttings taken in the spring or early summer.

Water Application:

In terms of care, portulca or moss rose is a relatively easy plant. Portulaca is drought tolerant and can survive long periods without water, however, it is important to water the plant thoroughly when the soil dries out. Overwatering can cause root rot and other problems. Can’t give less water again. If you give less water to the plant, it dries up and dies. Plants should be placed in a location that receives plenty of sunlight.


Portulaca grows best at a temperature of 23 to 38 degrees Celsius. Sowing temperature should not be too high and mild temperature during sowing is ideal. However, temperatures below freezing should be avoided as this can result in plant damage or stunting. Fertilizer application is essential for healthy plant growth and flowering.

How to Care and Propagate Moss Rose or Portulaca


Portulaca plants do not require pruning, but they do require pruning for growth and flowering. Use a balanced fertilizer once a month during the growing season.


Pests and diseases:

The biggest enemy of the caterpillar is the mealybug. Once the mealybug attacks the plant, quick remediation is recommended. There are two methods to get rid of this mealybug, the first is biological insecticides, the second is chemical insecticides. Mealybug can also be suppressed by spraying water mixed with detergent. Mealybugs can’t attack in the sun, they attack more in the shade.

Planting portulaca in poorly-drained soil can make it susceptible to root rot. Spider mites and aphids can also be a problem, but they can be treated with insecticidal soap or neem oil.


Types of Portulaca/Moss Rose:

‘Afternoon Delight’: This varietal has 2-inch wide blooms that stay open all day until evening, longer than most other types.

‘Calypso Mix’: These varietals have double blooms in orange, yellow, and red.

‘Duet’ series: This varietal has bicolor flowers in yellow and red or yellow and pink.

‘Fairy Tale’ series: These varietals (with names like ‘Snow White’ and ‘Sleeping Beauty’) resemble bomb-type peonies, with flowers that have a pom-pom center and flat petals that flare around the edges.

Happy Hour’ series: These varietals (like ‘Banana’ and ‘Coconut’) bloom earlier than other types, hence the name.

‘Mojave’: This varietal has large blooms in tangerine, pinks, yellows, and white.

‘Sundance’: These have more petals on each flower and their blooms stay open longer than others.

‘Sundial’ series: This varietal blooms earlier and tolerates cloudy days and cool weather better than many others. Varietals include ‘Sundial White’, ‘Sundial Yellow’, and ‘Sundial Peppermint’ (bold pink and white striped flowers).

‘Tequila’ series: These varietals have various colored hybrid blooms, such as red flowers with yellow centers. They bloom early and tolerate cooler, moist conditions.

‘Yubi Summer Joy’ series: These trailing flowers stay open later in the day than most other types.

Overall, the Moss Rose is a beautiful and easy-to-grow plant that can be added to any garden in a small space. Its low maintenance needs and drought tolerance make it a great choice for new gardeners. Use well-drained soil, water thoroughly when dry, and choose a sunny location with fertilizer once a month. With proper care, your portulaca will bloom all summer.

How often should I water my portulaca plants?

Portulaca plants are drought-tolerant and can survive for several days without water. However, during prolonged dry spells, it’s essential to water portulaca plants once a week.

Can I propagate portulaca plants from cuttings?

Yes, portulaca plants can be propagated from stem cuttings. Take a 3 to 4-inch cutting from a healthy plant, remove the leaves from the bottom inch of the stem, and plant it in well-draining soil. Keep the soil moist, and the cutting should root in a few weeks.

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