Also called moss rose, portulaca grandiflora creates a stunning spilling effect in summer containers with its colorful succulent foliage and bright, happy flowers. These low-growing annuals trail long stems covered in cylindrical leaves tinged purple, red, yellow, orange, pink or white depending on variety. Tiny single or double blooms in equally vivid shades adorn the ends of stems.
What to plant with portulaca ?
Portulaca makes an ideal thriller in container designs, cascading over pot rims with dazzling color. When paired with the right companion plants, portulaca can create stunning displays of texture and color. But what makes the best companion plants to highlight and complement cheerful portulaca displays? Consider pairing portulaca with some of the following partners.
Succulents Who provide height and contrast
Since portulaca resembles a miniature trailing succulent, combining it with upright succulents makes perfect sense, aesthetically and culturally.
Succulents like echeveria and aeonium offer rosette forms that beautifully contrast and balance portulaca’s spreading habit.
Other options include erect varieties of sedum and senecio. Go for succulents in purple, blue-green and silver tones to really make the orange and yellow portulaca leaves stand out.
Annuals with similar requirements bloom alongside
In addition to succulents, portulaca enjoys growing alongside other warmth-loving annual flowers that thrive through summer.
Varieties of zinnias, marigolds, Petunias, verbena, angelonia and lobelia all make pleasing partners as they share portulaca’s need for full sun and moderate watering.
Use the tallest plants in the back, medium height in the middle and let portulaca trail from the container rim as a lively foreground filler.
Ornamental grasses sway over the rim
Add fine texture contrast and movement by combining clumping ornamental grasses with portulaca.
Options like fire grass (Pennisetum setaceum Rubrum), purple fountain grass (Pennisetum advena ‘Rubrum’), Mexican feather grass (Stipa tenuissima) and porchoo grass (Muehlenbeckia complexa) provide vertical spikes that dance over and around trailing portulaca stems for visual interest.
Grasses in shades of burgundy and purple especially enhance hot colored portulaca.
Lichens and mosses enhance a magical ambiance
For an ultra-natural look reminiscent of fairy gardens, incorporate lichens like reindeer moss (reindeer lichen) along with green sheet moss.
Let them fill in cracks and trail out of the container, seemingly growing right over the portulaca stems. Contrast the mini moss garden against neighboring succulents or rustic-looking grass for added charm!
Complementary trailing plants increase the spiller impact
One easy way to give portulaca some trailing companions is by adding fellow cascading plants like ivy and creeping wire vine (muhlenbeckia). Let them intermingle and spill out of containers together to form lush living curtains of foliage and blooms.
Calibrachoa Million Bells and Nemesia work wonderfully too paired with portulaca spilling over decorative pots or unique vertical planters!
Caring for Portulaca and Companion Plants
The advantage of planting heat and drought-adapted plants together is they require very little maintenance when grown in containers.
Check soil moisture daily at first, water thoroughly only when the top few inches become dry.
In warm climates, portulaca and companions will thrive year-round. Where not winter hardy, they can be grown as annuals and re-planted each year.
Whether you want to echo portulaca’s succulent features or create striking contrasts using spiky grasses, clumping rosettes and trailing companions, possibilities abound! Just be sure to stick to annuals and perennials that share portulaca’s preferences for full sun exposure, well-drained soil and moderate summer watering. With a vibrant compatible container partner or two, dazzling portulaca makes patio pots really pop!