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Yubi moss roses impress viewers
By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center
Yubi portulacas will stop traffic with their eye-popping, jaw-dropping displays. These moss roses have been out a few years, but most Mississippi gardeners still are timid with them.
In Texas, the Yubi has garnered awards and caught on very quickly with gardeners. The single-petaled blossoms of the Yubi are as big as their rose-formed cousins in the Sundial series. The centers of the flowers expose the stamens and give a two-tone effect.
There are eight clear colors in the Yubi series: white, yellow, light pink, pink, rose, red, scarlet and apricot. The same company that introduced the Yubi series also brings us another group called Duet. The Duet has two varieties available: Yellow on Rose and Red on Yellow. These bi-colored moss roses are very striking and should prove to be popular in our area.
When you mass plant single-colored portulacas like Yubi, the landscape impact becomes dramatic, especially considering their colors are almost iridescent. One of my favorite plantings was in Georgia and used the Bengal Tiger canna in the back, followed by Victoria Blue salvia, then the bright yellow Yubi. I can tell you it was a pleasure to walk along the sidewalk bordering that flower bed.
If you think you might like the portulacas better with rose-formed flowers, look no further than the Sundial series or the fairly new Margaritas. The Sundial series of moss rose has been at the top of my list because of its giant, semi-double flowers that stay open longer into the day.
The Sundial peach was the first moss rose to earn the All-America Selections award. It has a unique pastel-coral color. The plant is vigorous and thrives in our hot, humid summer conditions. If the peach color is not one of your favorites, rest assured that all the other colors are just as impressive.
New in competition with the Sundial series is the Margarita series. In fact, the flashy Margarita Rosita was the second moss rose to garner All-America Selections status. Margarita Rosita plants have a mounded, compact habit when young. This improves the appearance in cell packs and is easier to remove for transplanting. Margarita Rosita is a sun-loving moss rose.
When grown in a sunny garden with well-drained soil, gardeners can rely on Margarita Rosita to flower for months throughout the growing season. The semi-double, hot-pink blooms appear to be designed from the sheerest tissue paper, yet the flowers are quite durable. I am partial to one called Margarita Cream that has antique shades of cream, yellow and rose.
Whether you choose Yubi, Sundial or Margarita portulaca, select healthy, growing transplants and space them 6 to 8 inches apart in a bed with well-drained soil and full sunlight. Moss roses do not like wet feet or water-logged soil. After it is established in a bed, it is one of the top drought-tolerant plants. Moss roses are ideal for use with rocks, if you are fortunate enough to have access to these for your garden.
About midsummer you may want to cut back your plants by about 50 percent and fertilize. This will give you a new flush of growth, tighten up your bed and produce more dazzling flowers