How to Grow Moss Roses: The Complete Moss Rose Guide

Portulaca grandiflora is a succulent flowering plant, eleven o'clock, Mexican, moss, sun, table, rock rose in yellow, red, white, pink, purple bright colors. Summer.
Photo Credit
Svetlana CA Countryside
Botanical Name
Portulaca grandiflora
Plant Type
Sun Exposure
Hardiness Zone

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Planting, Growing, and Caring for Moss Roses

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Bring vibrant color to your garden with the Moss Rose! This low-maintenance annual thrives in the hot sun and boasts cheerful blooms in a rainbow of hues. Learn how to grow Moss Rose from seeds or cuttings, and discover easy tips for watering, fertilizing, and keeping your plants blooming all summer!

About Moss Roses

The Moss rose is easy to love. Native to the arid plains of Argentina, southern Brazil, and Uruguay, this semi-succulent in the purslane family (Portulacaceae) thrives in Zones 2 to 11 in this hemisphere. Its single, semidouble, and double rose-like flowers, in a wide range of hues that include white as well as cheerful pastels—fuchsia, lavender, magenta, orange, peach, pink, purple, and yellow—rise above its bright green, needle-like leaves to inspire a festive mood when draping from hanging baskets or filling containers. This low grower typically spreads a foot or more while it blooms, ranging from 1 to 3 inches in diameter, and rises up over the foliage.

Portulaca grandiflora demands little in terms of care but spreads joy and delight wherever it grows—as long as the Sun shines. 

“The saucer-shaped, rose-like flowers are produced on the stem tips, held facing up above the foliage, opening from buds that resemble little popcorn kernels. They are only open in bright sunlight, closing at night and on cloudy days, but most of the newer hybrids will remain open throughout the day,” explains Susan Mahr of the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Moss rose, aka Sun plant or Sun rose, is considered an herbaceous perennial in Zones 9 to 11 and treated as a tender annual elsewhere.

Moss Rose Flower, Portulaca Moss Rose, Portulaca grandiflora Flowers, Colorful flowers


Purchasing seedlings or starter plants may jump-start moss roses’ flowering period, but they can also be grown from seeds or propagated through cuttings from established plants. 

Starting Moss Rose From Seeds

Start seeds in seed-starting mix indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost. Cover minimally; moss roses need sunlight to germinate. Learn to make your own seed-starting mix.

Dampen and maintain moisture. Plants germinate in about 10 to 14 days in 70° to 85°F temperatures. 

Propagating Moss Rose

To propagate from a cutting, prepare damp potting mix. Trim off a 3-inch piece of the plant and remove any foliage from the last inch of the cut end. Insert the cut end into the potting mix. Maintain even moisture until new growth appears, 

Transplanting Moss Roses

Be aware that moss rose transplants need special care: The night before transplanting, water to ensure that the plant is hydrated so that soil will cling to its shallow roots. Lift with a spoon or small spade (depending on plant size), including the soil surrounding the plant. 

Space plants 6 to 12 inches apart; crowded plants flower poorly. Replant, with roots only just below the soil’s surface, as soon as possible. 

Water lightly and keep moist until new growth appears (a sign that the plant is established). Moss rose’s shallow root system means that water is important until plants get going. Afterward, too much water can cause rot, which is why well-draining soil is essential.


Moss rose is drought-tolerant but benefits from watering when the top inch of soil is dry. See more drought-tolerant flowers.

Provide 6 to 8 or more hours of sunlight per day; warm temperatures are ideal. Shade may reduce blooms.

Deadhead to stimulate more blooms or to deter self-seeding, if desired. If plants become leggy, pinch stems back and provide a diluted dose of balanced fertilizer. New growth and blooms should follow.

Yellow moss-rose purslane (Portulaca grandiflora)
Yellow moss-rose purslane (Portulaca grandiflora)
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Wit and Wisdom

  • Portulaca oleracea, common purslane with flat, fleshy leaves that is sometimes grown as a vegetable and often considered a weed, is known as “moss rose.” You can eat purslane! Learn more.
  • Portulacas have been grown in American gardens since the 1700s.
  • “Portulaca” comes from the Latin words porto, meaning “to carry,” and lac meaning “milk,” referring to the milky sap of some species.


Diseases: none serious; sometimes Botrytis blight, damping off, Pythium root and stem rot, Rhizoctonia root and stem rot.

Pests: aphids, slugs/snails.

About The Author

Jennifer Keating

Jennifer is the Digital Editor at The Old Farmer’s Almanac. She is an active equestrian and spends much of her free time at the barn. When she’s not riding, she loves caring for her collection of house plants, baking, and playing in her gardens. Read More from Jennifer Keating

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