Southern Gardening: Make room for portulaca in your 2022 landscape

Bachman Gary
Gary Bachman

I adhere to a checklist for quite a few of the plants I take into account making use of in my coastal Ocean Springs backyard and landscape each and every 12 months. The crops have to have to prosper in heat and humidity, be drought tolerant and not require significantly yard supervision.

In other terms, vegetation in my garden have bought to be hard. 

When I advocate difficult back garden plants, Portulaca is constantly in the vicinity of the leading of the checklist. But Portulaca is not a one species there are basically two species I glimpse for that go by the common names of moss rose and purslane.

Moss rose, which botanically is Portulaca grandiflora, is a vigorous and lower-developing plant that sorts a quite colorful, moss-like, ground-hugging carpet. It is ideal for our hot summer season landscapes.

Moss rose has fleshy, succulent foliage composed of clusters of shiny-green, 1-inch-long cylindrical leaves arranged in clusters on stems. The bouquets, both of those semi- and absolutely doubles, resemble tiny roses, hence the common title. Flower shades contain yellow, orange, dazzling pink and red.

Moss rose, when drought tolerant, thrives in constantly moist planting beds or sub-irrigated containers. And a massive furthermore for me is that moss rose does not will need to be pinched — a pruning approach utilized to discourage branching — as it has a the natural way tight and dense spreading progress habit.

The other ought to-have Portulaca is purslane, recognized botanically as Portulaca oleracea. Consider of purslane as the even larger, rougher cousin of moss rose. The bouquets are even bigger, and the fleshy foliage has a flattened, teardrop condition.

Purslane flowers are up to 2 inches throughout and are available in a huge colour palette of rose, scarlet, apricot, orange, yellow and white. There are even a several bicolors that can be located in yard centers.

Purslanes are commonly small-expanding and spreading flowering annuals that I assume have a exclusive, tropical glimpse. The stems are purplish-eco-friendly, and the leaves are shiny eco-friendly. Frequent pinching retains purslane dense and comprehensive.

One of my most loved strategies to develop moss rose and purslane is to get benefit of their spreading and trailing growth characteristics and use them in patio containers, raised beds and hanging baskets.

These two portulaca species are weighty feeders that have to have adequate nutrition throughout the time for most effective flowering and advancement. I fertilize with a drinking water-soluble 20-10-20 or 20-20-20 fertilizer, constantly following label recommendations.

You can enable the soil or container combine to dry out reasonably involving watering, as moss rose and purslane have a substantial drought tolerance. But I have found that I get the incredibly ideal flowering when the root zone is kept continuously moist, just not waterlogged.

Moss rose and purslane last all summertime and into the fall. As temperatures begin to fall, retain the soil on the dry aspect, and the plant will reward you with blooms into the slide.

Besides liking the summer months heat and humidity, moss rose and purslane like total sun. Greatest flowering happens when the vegetation get about six hours of comprehensive solar a day. I come across it interesting that the flowers shut in late afternoon and early night, as properly as on cloudy days and when the plant is underneath worry.

So be on the lookout for portulaca transplants later on this spring. Or for the adventurous, Moss rose and purslane can be grown from seed, but just bear in mind the seeds are very small.

Gary Bachman is an Extension and research professor of horticulture at the Mississippi Condition College Coastal Analysis and Extension Middle in Biloxi. Get hold of him at [email protected]

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