Ideas for shade alternative to portulaca? (My "moss rose")

Woodridge, IL

I want to do a border in a bed that gets a lot of shade. I understand that portulaca doesn't do well in shade. Any suggestions for something similar? I'd like something that stays relatively short, has bright flowers, and maybe interesting foliage. Can you actually get interesting foliage AND bright flowers in a shade tolerant plant?

The bed will have mostly grass-type plants, so I wanted something that would flower during the summer. I like portulaca because they tend to reseed themselves, so even as an annual they seem to keep coming back!

I'm attaching a picture - this is what I was taught was a "moss rose" growing up, but I now know there are tons of things called moss roses.

This message was edited May 31, 2012 8:18 PM

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Standish, MI

Check out some of the varieties of Impatient they do well in shade or partial shade and sun. We grow them every year and have used them as hanging baskets, borders and etc.

Harrison County, WV(Zone 6a)

I agree with gardenworm2 about the impatiens and/or you might try fibrous begonias---not the tuberous type. I use them in my shade garden and they are sold as annuals around here in the little six packs. Their foliage is either green or the dark chocolate color and the flowers are bright. One variety is the angel wing and I think it grows taller and has a wing shaped leave and hanging flower clusters. I use the more compact one the mounds up and over and I plant them in containers that way I can rearrange or tuck them in here and there. I have portulaca in the sun and we also call them moss roses.

Harrison County, WV(Zone 6a)

I forgot to say that my begonias don't like a lot of water but maybe because we have a lot of humidity here.

Orlando, FL(Zone 9b)

ditto the begonias and definitely the impatiens. you will not be disappointed if you use impatiens, should they grow (very easy). torenia AKA wishbone flower is more pastel colored but you get a ton of showy flowers nonetheless, and they spread like impatiens.

to combine bright colors and interesting foliage, try coleus. if you give coleus a shot, then you might not want flowers in your shade garden! lol. you can also try caladiums.

Tobyhanna, PA(Zone 5a)

Impatiens are great for shady gardens, but you might want to reconsider if you have a deer problem. They are like CANDY to deer! I have actually just planted some wax begonias in a shade garden. Supposedly, deer aren't fond of them. I hope so. If it's not the deer, it's slugs.

Ventress, LA(Zone 8b)

I love caladiums. Depending on the length of the bed, they may get a little pricy though.

Hopkinton, MA(Zone 5b)

ufpspock, I agree with the folks recommending begonias. I live in zone 5b and wax begonias (fibrous rooted) provide constant blooms outdoors for at least 6 months of the year. They don't survive New England winters and die on the day of the first frost, but I buy them in packs for about 55 cents each and the plants grow about 6-18" across so it's a very inexpensive way to provide color in my mostly shade garden. I planted a row in a shady area that gets a few hours of filtered sun in the morning and evening and even though they were damaged during shipping (half roots and leaves cut off) they bloomed within a few days and provide bright red color in a dark area of the garden.


Canton, IL(Zone 5a)

idk who told u that portulaca doesn't do well in the shade? it is the most versatile plant i have ever used... sun, shade, wet, dry, hot, cool... it thrives

if it wasnt so pretty, id almost accuse it of being invasive

Ventress, LA(Zone 8b)

Believe it or not i have mealy bugs on my portulaca. I have been spraying with malathion with no results.

Canton, IL(Zone 5a)

plantsforpeg- try veem oil

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

Do you mean neem oil?

Canton, IL(Zone 5a)

LOL yes! sorry- typo fingers :)

Ventress, LA(Zone 8b)

guess I will go back to Neem Oil.

Canton, IL(Zone 5a)

peg- why did u stop using it to begin with?

Ventress, LA(Zone 8b)

I stopped using Neem because I thought it was similar to an oil spray which should not be used in full sun with blasing temps. I was using it for mealy bugs, but the bugs were winning. I needed something stronger. I moved my plants outdoors and spray them with the hose then spray malithion. Now I am trying a drench. I used to have some granular sestemic, but can't find it any more. That was much easier to use.

Cedar Valley, OK(Zone 6b)

I use fibrous begonias, so many varieties of coleus (have them in shade and also this year have Red Head sun coleus and it's doing great in almost full sun), caladiums (love dwarf Miss Muffett, holds up to heat well), some daylilies, and yes, impatiens (although they may wilt in high summer temps --I've used the old fashioned impatiens- 'balsam', or 'Touch-Me-Not' with good results and reseeds), perennial blue plumbago (ceratostigma plumbaginoides), just a knock-out blue and spreads each year. Regarding rose moss, I use purslane moss, has single blooms in several colors, in hanging pots in almost full shade and it actually blooms pretty well. Good luck!

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