Moss Rose Care and Growing Tips

Moss rose plants produce colorful flowers in that open in the sunshine. These annuals look gorgeous in containers or as a ground cover.

How to Grow Moss Roses

Moss rose is a spreading groundcover with yellow and red flowers.Photos from Japan, Asia and othe of the world/Getty Images
Moss rose is a spreading ground cover that works well in containers.
  • Moss rose
  • Portulaca grandiflora
  • Annual
  • Light needs: Full sun
  • Soil: Sandy and/or rocky well-draining soils

Moss rose, a member of the purslane family (not the rose family), grows to create a mat that is 3 to 8 inches high and up to 1 foot wide. It makes for a stunning spiller in a hanging flower basket or as a ground cover in your rock garden. Give these annuals full sun—the blooms open only in daytime before closing back up in the evening.

These plants are drought-tolerant, but you’ll want to give them a good watering once a week in hot, dry summer conditions. They will not thrive in wet, soggy soils.

Why we love it: The ruffled petals come in a wide array of colors including yellow, pink, white and red. Try the Fairy Tale series for fluffy pompom-like flowers or grow Sundial for blooms that stay open longer during the day.

Check out the top 10 fast-growing annual flowers.

Ask the Experts: Moss Rose Color Change

13 Deborahwhiting Bbfm18Courtesy Deborah Whiting
This moss rose plant unexpectedly produced a white flower.

“Pink moss roses have come up every year in our flower bed for the past 15 years. This is the first time we’ve ever seen a white flower produced. What are the chances it will continue to come up as a white bloom in the future?” asks reader Deborah Whiting of Midland, Texas.

Horticultural expert Melinda Myers: Moss roses are self-seeding annuals that can return to the same general location for many years. Hybrid cultivars do not always produce duplicate offspring. Cross-pollination and mutations also result in changes in flower color, plant size and growth habit.

The white flowers may continue to appear and produce additional white offspring, or this may have been a one-time occurrence. Enjoy the surprise!

Next, learn how to grow annual gomphrena in your flower garden.

Lori Vanover
Lori has 20 years of experience writing and editing home, garden, birding and lifestyle content for several publishers. As Birds & Blooms senior digital editor, she leads a team of writers and editors sharing birding tips and expert gardening advice. Since joining Trusted Media Brands 13 years ago, she has held roles in digital and print, editing magazines and books, curating special interest publications, managing social media accounts, creating digital content and newsletters, and working with the Field Editors—Birds & Blooms network of more than 50 backyard birders. Passionate about animals and nature, Lori has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural and Environmental Communications from the University of Illinois. In 2023, she became certified as a Wisconsin Extension Master Gardener, and she is a member of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology and sits on the organization's Publications Advisory Committee. She frequently checks on her bird feeders while working from home and tests new varieties of perennials, herbs and vegetable plants in her ever-growing backyard gardens.