Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A Pop of Portulaca

At the greenhouse we love showing off our plants!  The new, the unusual, the overlooked...if we're growing it, we have an appreciation for it.  Portulaca is one of my favorites to show off and point out.  Folks that know portulaca know that it has a bit of a reputation for being old fashioned, or something you might find in your grandmother's garden.  (And, yes, the first thing that pops into my head when I think of portulaca is the old black kettle at our Uncle John's house that would be planted full of them every summer.)  Those old seed varieties perhaps weren't terribly exciting by today's standards, but they were tough, dependable color.

The past few years we have been sifting though newer hybrid varieties that combine the best of both worlds:  powerful, unique color AND incredible durability.  Just like the old fashioned portulaca, the newer types love the heat, are drought-tolerant, and require little water.  They will do well in landscape, containers, and we often use them in hanging baskets.  Here's a brief list of our current favorite portulacas:

Portulaca 'Rose Flambeau'
Oh boy- few things are better than plants with funky foliage!  The pink flowers of 'Rose Flambeau' perfectly pop off it's green and white leaves.  This type is new for 2017 and we are loving it!

Portulaca Colorblast Series
This is perhaps one of the most unique portulacas we have seen yet!  Colorblast 'Watermelon Punch' and 'Mango Mojito' pack a lot of color into a little bloom.  The bicolor flowers are reminiscent of calibrachoa (the pink and yellow pattern of 'Watermelon Punch' is eerily similar to Calibrachoa 'Holy Moly!') and are just terribly eye-catching from a distance as well as interesting up close.  

Portulaca 'Samba Rose'
Samba Rose isn't exactly new, but it would be a shame not to highlight this beauty- it's a stunner!  The hot pink blooms are two to three inches wide, nearly triple the size of other portulacas.  It's trailing habit is especially noticeable in hanging baskets.

Portulaca Pazazz Series
There's no two ways about it, the Pazazz series has become a standard for us.  This series has a great range of powerful color, a thick growing habit, and blooms continually.  It comes in Pink Glow, Red Flare, Vivid Yellow, and Tangerine- just don't ask us to pick a favorite!

So if you're looking for something to go in that hot, dry, impossible-to-grow-anything place...perhaps it's time to try a little pop of portulaca!

-Anna Mary

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