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Unveiling the Truth: Are Portulaca Perennials or Fleeting Beauties?

Knowing about Portulaca’s variety and growth habits is essential before planting, as Portulaca are both annual and perennials according to the climatic conditions. 

Generally, Portulaca is a herbaceous annual blooming from late June to the first frost. However, in zone 10-11, where winter is mild, Portulaca acts as perennials, returning year after year with vibrant colored flowers from orange to white to pink and purple.

Follow along to learn in-depth about the fast-growing Portulaca’s habits and climate suitability.

Where Does Portulaca Grow Best?

Portulaca grandiflora, also known as Purslane or Moss Rose, is not your ordinary winter plant but a drought-tolerant succulent that loves warm temperatures. 

Native to North Africa, the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent, they can easily grow in your garden from zone 2 to 11 without the temperature falling below 68°F.

In spite of the fact that Portulaca is considered a weed, they are still being cultivated as garden flowers in many parts of the U.S., especially in the arid regions.

But in the USDA zone receiving early frost, you must bring the plant indoors for extended longevity. 

You can grow them in containers or a hanging basket as long as the sunlight and temperature requirements are met.

A Portulaca bloom in a white round pot.
While indoors, we recommend you place the plant near the window for enough warmth and light. 

Besides, you’ll witness the vibrant boom of Moss Rose all through the summer until the first frost, with each bloom lasting for more than a week.

Are Portulaca Perennials or Annuals?

Belonging to the Pursulanes family, Moss Rose is primarily a low-growing annual in zone 2 to 9.

These cold-sensitive plants germinate, grow, bloom, and produce seeds all through the summer months and then die as temperature drops or frosts set in.

While mostly annual, Portulaca may behave as perennials for the areas above zone 9, where winter isn’t as extreme. Also, Portulaca enjoys the long summer month in these zones favoring year-round growth and bloom.

These areas barely go below freezing, so the dormant roots are safe throughout the winter. 

Even after the aerial parts of the plant die back during the colder season, the plant can regenerate and produce new shoots as the warm spring begins.

Meanwhile, the self-seeding property in some varieties like Moss Rose (common Portulaca), Mojave Pink, and Sundance keeps the plant growing every other growing season.

How Do You Keep Portulaca Alive?

Although annual, it is possible to encourage Portulaca to behave as a perennial by following the winter care below:

  • Place the plant in a location where it receives bright, light sunlight for at least 6 hours a day with a warm temperature of around 75°F and 90°F.
  • Despite being a drought-tolerant plant, water the plants deeply but infrequently to encourage root growth. To avoid overwatering issues like root rot, you may bottom water the pot once.
  • Deadhead the spent flowers to encourage blooming and vegetative growth of plants, enhancing the chance of survival into the following year. 
  • Add a layer of organic or plastic mulch as insulation that helps regulate the soil temperature required for the plant’s survival during winter.
  • Overwinter your garden Portulaca by bringing them indoors and providing enough light and little water to slow the plant’s growth. As the winter pass by, reintroduce the plants outdoors and resume regular watering and care once.

From Editorial Team

Fast Draining Sandy Soil For Portulaca!

Portulaca can grow well in all soil types but is best in dry sandy soil. So, incorporate some sand in your potting mix to quicken the drainage. 

If you are growing Portulaca in pots, ensure it has enough drain holes to maintain dryness in the soil.