Native to the hot, dry plains of southern Brazil, Uruguay and northern Argentina, Portulaca is now grown throughout the world as a favourite summer bedding plant. Its popularity, especially in South Africa, is hardly surprising, as this tough little bedding plant rewards the garden with masses of brightly coloured blooms.
Portulacas, commonly known as ‘Vygies’, or moss roses, takes the heat better than most - in fact, the hotter it gets, the better they like it. The bright single or double flowers bloom freely in all shades except blue. Fairly low growing, they make ideal flowerbed and hanging basket fillers.
New hybrids with a neat, compact form are now available. They come into bloom quicker and stay flowering for longer. They grow well in poor, sandy or gravelly soils, as long as it drains well. Most importantly they need a sunny home. Fortunately, while they are attractive to our eye, pests find them quite unappealing.
Information supplied by the Bedding Plant Growers Association. Go to www.lifeisagarden.co.za for more.