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Ready for Summer Heat with Portulaca

There is one tough annual plant that thrives in the summer garden and provides bright color in our sun and heat. Portulaca or moss rose (Portulaca grandiflora) is strong performer, even growing well when reseeding in sidewalk cracks and stone walkways.  Of course it will be most attractive when used in containers or well drained landscape beds in bright sunshine.

Containers of portulaca brighten an entrance to the herb garden at Escambia County Extension Demonstration Gardens. Photo by Beth Bolles, UF IFAS Extension Escambia County

The thicker, flattened leaves of portulaca make is adaptable to drier conditions. The plants are only about 6 inches tall but branches will spread out a foot or so from the center.  The attractive flowers extend just above attractive green foliage in colors of yellow, pinks, and oranges.  Portulaca is extremely versatile, making it a good filler in a container or at the edges of flower beds along hardscape areas.

Bright flowers of portulaca reach for the sun. Photo by Beth Bolles, UF IFAS Extension Escambia County

Portulaca will not perform the best when soils remain too moist or days stay overcast for extended periods. Flowering will also be reduced if water is totally lacking.  Maintain a balance by providing a quality soil that drains well.

Although many gardeners prefer perennials to annuals, portulaca can provide a big impact in the summer garden for a small investment.

PG

Author: Beth Bolles - bbolles@ufl.edu

Horticulture Agent, Escambia County

Permanent link to this article: http://nwdistrict.ifas.ufl.edu/hort/2018/06/07/ready-for-summer-heat-with-portulaca/