How to Care for Moss Roses in the Winter

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Things You'll Need

  • Moss rose plants

  • Pots, 4"

  • Potting soil

  • Sand

  • Small shovel

  • Warm, dry storage place

Moss roses thrive in dry weather and do well in sandy soil.

Moss rose is an old-fashioned garden flower that is usually grown as an annual. The low-growing plant will flower from June until the first frost with red, pink, orange, white and yellow rose-like flowers. The leaves and stems are semi-succulent. Its scientific name is Portulaca grandiflora and the flowers have an interesting habit of not opening on cloudy or rainy days. Moss rose is native to Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina and needs warm, dry weather. It will survive in USDA plant zones 5 to 11 and should only be planted outdoors after all danger of frost has passed.

Step 1

Dig up the moss rose plants. Be very careful not to break off the stems, which are fragile. Pinch off dead flowers. Pinch back some of the stems to force the plant to push new foliage at those points.

Step 2

Mix half potting soil and half sand and fill the pots two-thirds full with the mixture. Place the moss rose plants in the soil and fill the remainder of the pot with the soil/sand mix. Bring the pots indoors and set them in a sunny, warm location.

Step 3

Water until the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot leak moisture. Do not let the pot sit in a saucer of water. Keep the roots dry and water only every two weeks or when the soil is dry to the touch at a depth of 2 inches. There is no need to fertilize, since winter is not a growing period for plants.

Step 4

Fertilize with a cactus/succulent fertilizer in spring. Use it at half dilution, according to package directions. When all danger of frost has passed, plant the moss rose back outside in a sunny, semi-dry location.


Bonnie Grant

Bonnie Grant began writing professionally in 1990. She has been published on various websites, specializing in garden-related instructional articles. Grant recently earned a Bachelor of Arts in business management with a hospitality focus from South Seattle Community College.