Garden & Landscape Tips

'Sundial Peach' moss rose
Photo courtesy All-America Selections

Moss rose

Moss rose or portulaca (Portulaca grandiflora) looks like a succulent with its fleshy, soft, needle-like leaves. This drought-tolerant plant is at its best in the dead heat of summer.

Ground hugging with a spread of 4 to 6 inches, some cultivars have two-inch-wide blooms. The flowers tend to close on a cloudy day, but in the sun, they look like a jeweled carpet.

Moss rose can be used as a summer ground cover, tucked in a rock garden or planted in a container where it trails nicely over the rim.

‘Diamond Frost’

Diamond Frost Euphorbia
'Diamond Frost™' Euphorbia
Photo courtesy Proven Winners

‘Diamond Frost™’ (Euphorbia 'Inneuphdia') forms a frothy mound of white flowers on dark green, spindly stems. This plant has won dozens of awards from professional landscapers, grounds crews and public gardens. It’s great in a container or in the ground, as an accent plant or planted in clusters.

It blooms all summer with no maintenance. It is drought tolerant and deer resistant. Once established, Diamond Frost needs no additional watering when planted in the ground. If in a container, it will need to be watered when the soil surface feels dry.

Diamond Frost will get about 18 inches tall and 12 inches wide. Plant in full sun to part shade. This is a euphorbia, which is a large family of plants that includes poinsettias (E. pulcherrima).

Fan flower

Whirlwind blue fan flower
'Whirlwind' blue fan flower
Photo courtesy Proven Winners

Fan flower (Scaevola amula) is a little known, underused plant that blooms from spring to fall in full to part sun.

A native of Australia, the drought-tolerant fan flower has thick, fleshy leaves. With a relaxed growing habit, it is ideal as a summer ground cover or as a container plant, where it trails over the edge, or in a rock garden.

Most named cultivars will get 12 to 18 inches tall with a spread of 24 to 36 inches. Fan flower comes in light to dark blue, purple and white.

Other tips:

  • All drought-tolerant plants need water until they get established, usually the first week or two.
  • Any plant in a container will have to be watered more frequently than those planted in the ground. Water when the surface of the soil in the container feels dry to the touch.
  • Most plants in containers require regular application of a water-soluble fertilizer. Always read and follow the label directions.
  • Annuals planted in the ground also do best with adequate fertilizer and when growing in a weed-free bed. Apply Preen Garden Weed Preventer or Preen Weed Preventer Plus Plant Food. Always read and follow the label directions.
  • None of these three plants needs to be deadheaded.
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