Portulaca is commonly known as “Moss Rose”. It is one of the best flowering plants for summer. Every year I grow these in my garden and some on the terrace corners.
In summer, hundreds of colorful flowers bloom every day. These plants don’t need much attention in their favorable condition i.e., in Hot dry Summer days. But in Winters, maintaining Portulaca is really a tough job, especially if you live in frost-prone areas.
Portulaca loves dry well-drained soil. Actually, it is more like a succulent than any ordinary flowering plant.
A little bit of sand mixed with nutrient-rich soil is best for Moss Rose. If you need help in growing portulaca then you should read Portulaca (Moss rose) – How to Grow and Care? a complete guide for this purpose.
How to care portulaca in winter? – Keep the soil dry, Place the portulacas in partial shade and provide proper sunlight. Special care for Portulaca in winter- Don’t Over-water, Avoid excess water and remove dead flowers to protect your portulaca from rotting.
Problems with Portulaca or Moss Rose in Winter
- Shortening of flower size. It is the first sign, winter is coming. You should prepare for winter at this stage.
- Yellowing of leaves. Due to lack of sunlight, the leaves of portulaca start yellowing and later it will fall apart. There are multiple other reasons for yellow leaves. Check your plant carefully.
- Buds will form but No bloom occurs. Reduced blooming in portulaca can be seen due to the lack of potassium in the soil. But in winter it is mainly due to a lack of proper temperature and sunlight.
- Rotting of Stems especially from the top. Stem rotting is very common with portulaca. There are many reasons for this problem. Excess of water, lack of temperature and sunlight is the most prominent of them all.
- Infestation- attack of pest and fungus. In winters portulaca is very prone to insect and pest attack. The lack of sunlight and excess of moisture in the soft stems attracts various sucker insects. White mildew and aphids are very common in portulaca in winters.
Caring Portulaca in Winter
The first and most important thing is the dead-heading of Portulaca. Believe it or not, Removing dead flowers and rotten stems are very essential for the survival of portulaca.
It may seem easy, I know. But sometimes it is the most tricky part. The stem of portulaca is very soft and fragile. You should be careful while picking the odd ones. Don’t break healthy stems.
The dead flowers of portulaca is not a big problem. It will fall apart on its own. The bigger problem is the leftover, ie., the portion that contains the seeds. Here the insects and pests attack the plants. It should be clean of any infestation.
2.Reduce Over Watering in Winter
Watering is necessary for every plant but overwatering is the worst case of it.
In summer excess of water is managed by the hot sunny weather. Actually, the need for water for the portulaca plant in summer is also higher than in winter.
In winter, You should be quiet careful with watering especially with portulaca. They can’t survive in extremely low temperatures. Overwatering can lead to a quick drop in temperature. Ultimately it can cause frequent root rot and in portulaca, the whole plant can rot.
3. Let the Soil Dry Completely
Dry soil is necessary for growing portulaca. In fact, portulaca starts root rot in damp soil. If you see any symptoms then its time to change the soil.
Else let the soil dry completely, believe me, your moss rose won’t die. Just sprinkle some water when it needs the most. If you are not sure, then put your finger in the soil, if you feel the moisture then wait for a day else water it.
4. Change the Soil
I personally recommend changing soil only if necessary. I can say this with my long experience, if you repot portulaca in winter, there is a fair chance of killing it.
So, generally, I do this just after the last rain, (before monsoon or just after it). If you see excessive rotting in portulaca in winter then only change the soil.
Alternatively, you can take the entire bunch out of pot or container carefully. This process needs some extra care but you can do it.
Portulaca is a sallow rooted plant so extra soil can be removed easily without damaging the plant. You can prepare the soil for repotting. It just needs some manure, dry soil, and sand or cocopeat.
5. Prepare Mazic soil mix for winter
Portulaca needs warm and healthy soil specially for winter. I have tried so many soil mixes in the past that can’t be counted.
After so many trial and errors, I got the perfect mix for portulaca. It is best for winter flowers.
So, what to do…
- Take dry garden soil and mix half the amount of good quality compost in it.
- Add a little amount of fine wood ash. It will prevent fungal growth. It will provide some extra phosphorus to help root growth.
- If you are growing portulaca organically then the above two steps are enough for you. else you need something extra.
- Add a half teaspoon of Urea and quarter teaspoon of Potash with a quarter teaspoon of Superphosphate in the complete soil mix. Remember excess of these can burn any plant. Therefore avoid this step if you are new to inorganic fertilizers.
- An alternative is the use of any good quality fertilizer mix for cactus or succulents. You can try NPK-5:5:5, use only if necessary.
- Extra tip- Dry fry the soil mix for 10 minutes. After this let it cool for a few hours. This will minimize any chance of fungal growth in the soil. This process kills any insect or fungal spore present in the soil mix.
6. Don’t disturb the portulaca plants unnecessarily
This idea seems to contradict the above details but it is true. Despite all your effort, portulaca may show signs of damage in winter.
The best thing you can do is nothing. Yes, you are right, doing nothing is sometimes the best way to go.
If you don’t have enough time to maintain your portulaca in winter. Then the best way to protect them is by not disturbing them at all.
It may look dead but in spring, new branches will come out and portulaca will grow back again. So the best thing to do is to do nothing.
Caring portulaca in winter is not that easy but if you want, you can definitely do it. Just follow my personal experience and that’s it.
Just care for three things- Dry Soil, Proper Sunlight, and little care. Hope these things help you out. For anything else write down below in the comment section.