Moss rose has something in common with fern pine and cabbage palm. ‘It is neither this nor that’. Fern pine is neither a fern nor a pine. Cabbage palm is neither a cabbage nor a palm. Well, moss rose is neither a moss nor a rose. It is Portulaca grandiflora. It is a somewhat uncommon warm season annual that blooms until frost, with potential to toss a few seed for next year.

Ours were planted a bit late, after English daisies that were where they are now succumbed unexpectedly to rust. Because they are in three small planter boxes, where annuals get replaced regularly, they will not be able to naturalize. I suppose I could collect some of the seed to toss about nearby, or in a sunnier place where they would be happier. It really is that time of year.

These six picture show six of the colors of our moss rose. There might have been a seventh color that was very pale pink. It was omitted because it was so similar to the white that I am still not certain that it was not white. Peach #3 is more distinct from orange #4 than it seems to be in these pictures. Red, which is common among moss rose, is strangely lacking from our mix.

Flowers are somewhat variable. Pink #1 seems to be a bit fluffier than the others. Yellow #5 has a bit of red around the center. Rose #2 seems to have a very slight bit of white at the center. I only guessed on the names of the colors ‘rose’ for #2 and ‘peach’ for #3.

1. pinkP91019

2. roseP91019+

3. peachP91019++

4. orangeP91019+++

5. yellowP91019++++

6. whiteP91019+++++

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:

21 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: Moss Rose

  1. LOVE Portulaca! I remember my mother growing it one year – a large bed – it seemed to love the hot humid summer. I’ve never since been able to mimic the growing conditions – the leaves would suggest they like it dry, yet they won’t flower without moisture….

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    1. I grew them when I was in high school because they were supposed to be tolerant of dry conditions, but made the same observation you did. I sort of suspect that the minimal humidity might have been unpleasant for them here.

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    1. They are pretty, and do very well for most. However, I find them to be variable. Those in the pictures did well for us. In my home garden in town, they did not do so well, perhaps because of the minimal humidity.

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      1. I doubt anyone here remembers that name anymore. All the new introductions are known simply as cordyline, as if it is something new. The straight species was popular here during the Victorian period. Several grew as street trees in front of the Winchester House.


    1. It was more popular with older generations. I don’t know why. I learned them as portulaca too, and think of them as something that get planted over septic systems. Again, I don’t know why.

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      1. They aren’t showy or big, but the colors are pretty and they do well for her in pots. I guess it matter whether you like/want old time flowers. I grow zinnias and a lot of people don’t go for them either. The colors are beautiful, they remind me of grandma, and I had so many different kinds of bees and butterflies all around them in the summer.

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  2. They are one of my favorites. It’s been a while since i have seen portulaca for sale in the garden shops. No photo can truly convey the colors and character of this elegant little plant. Thanks for the reminder.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The colors remind me of pinatas. They are not as profuse as other annuals, but I think people like their less refined personality. I mean, they are pretty and well behaved, but they do not look as synthetic as some other annuals.


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