Potted Portulaca Care – Tips On Growing Portulaca In Containers

Potted Portulaca Flowers
(Image credit: jaaey88)

Another easy to grow succulent, you can plant portulaca in containers and sometimes watch the foliage disappear. It doesn’t go away but is covered by prolific blooms so foliage is not visible. The saucer-shaped, tiny, rose-like blooms rise slightly above the greenery.

Colorful Container Grown Portulaca

Flowering in a wide range of colors, portulaca comes in white and warm colors. Flower colors include pink, peach, yellow, orange, red, fuchsia, magenta, lavender, and purple. Standard plant blooms open in full sunlight, closing at night and on clouded days. Some new cultivars; however, now have blooms that will open slightly during cloudy conditions.

Newer cultivars have spotted or striped blooms in various contrasting shades. There is a color to match or complement any outdoor design on the patio or deck. The plant takes full sun and hot summer temperatures while continuing to bloom and reseed.

Planting Portulaca in Containers

This summer annual reaches about 6 inches (15 cm.) in height when branches begin to spread from the center and trail over the sides. Choose a white container or porous terra cotta pot so as not to detract from the beauty of the blooms. Flowering branches cascade, so let the colors draw attention and save the colorful container designs for plants that remain green.

Start your containers from seed for the best color selection. Mix the tiny seeds with coarse sand to make them easier to spread. Cover lightly with less than half an inch (1 cm.) of the sand or don’t cover at all if birds can’t get to the seeds. Seeds need light to germinate.

Keep them moist until they sprout in one to four weeks. Portulaca in containers is easily started from cuttings too. Choose from newer varieties with larger blooms. Some are double flowering. Select from the ‘Mojave’ series, ‘Calpyso Mix,’ or the ‘Happy Hour’ series, which has the earliest bloom.

Potted Portulaca Care

After pollination seed pods develop and split, so portulaca container plants grow fuller during the season. It is drought resistant, so you don’t have to worry about missing a watering for this specimen.

As with other containerized plants, this one needs more water in a pot than those planted in the ground. Regular water helps provide more abundant blooms, but regular for this plant may be just every other week or even less. The succulent foliage stores water well and has a small root zone. Plant in well-draining soil and allow to dry out before watering again.

Other than the occasional need for water, potted portulaca care is minimal. Pruning and deadheading are not required for portulaca in a pot. Pruning seedpods helps keep the plant from dropping seed, if your moss rose plant is outgrowing companion plants in the pot.

You may fertilize lightly if flowering appears slow. A good trim toward the end of summer may reward you with a new flush of flowers.

Becca Badgett

Becca Badgett was a regular contributor to Gardening Know How for ten years. Co-author of the book How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden, Becca specializes in succulent and cactus gardening.