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Gardening

When Did Succulents Get So Cool?

 

Beautiful low-growing portulaca flowers are easy to plant and care for.

The ground cover plants scientifically known as Portulaca grandiflora are eye-catching as they blossom throughout the year in a mix of pink, red, yellow, orange, purple, cream and white colours, if you want.

Sometimes known as the Sun Rose or Moss Rose, these plants grow to a height of about 30 centimetres tall.

Jahera Biondi also known as ‘Rina the landscaper’ says these flowers have a nickname “10 o’clock flower”, because they are usually in full bloom in the morning.

“Sun Rose flowers bloom from 10 o’clock till about 3pm in the evening. The flowers do not open at night,” says Ms Biondi.

Because they don’t command attention on their own, you may have to mix different colours or pair them with other succulents or grow them as border plants.

Portulaca plants can be grown from seeds, stems or cuttings. The seeds can be directly sowed into a garden or one can plant them indoors and transplant later.

Ms Biondi says that Moss Rose are preferably outdoor plants and when planted indoor, they do not flower. “Moss Rose do well in full sun,” says the landscaper who has designed gardens in a number of high-end hotels and homes in Mombasa.

These plants are drought and heat tolerant, but they should be watered twice a day; early in the morning and late in the evening.

If you are growing them in containers or hanging pots, allow the soil to dry between watering.

“Water them lightly. Avoid waterlogged soil because these plants are succulents and store water in their large, fleshy leaves,” she says.

Portulaca plants are best for all landscapes and can be used to beautify old structures and stone walkways, as they grow well in the old cracks.

They also produce seeds and they self-propagate, covering the ground quite fast and artistically.

Ms Biondi says even though Portulaca plants cover the ground, weeding is required.

“Aphids, gnats, and other insects can pose a problem. Spray insecticide or repellents as needed. Snails and slugs can also be a problem,” says Ms Biondi.

Stem and root rot can occur but this is mostly caused by wet soil. To avoid this problem, plant the flowers in loose, sandy or loam soil.

Also, a slightly elevated planting bed helps to ensure the roots and stem don’t rot.

@ke.natiomedia.com

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