Moss roses, also known as time flowers, are herbaceous flowering annuals native to South America and Asia. They produce flowers in late summer that can be red, orange, yellow, pink, white, purple or bi-color. Moss roses require very little care and are often left to grow wild without much attention from the gardener. Despite their tropical origins, moss roses can be easily grown in temperate regions around the world.
Plant moss roses in early spring after all danger of frost has passed. Choose a planting location that receives full sunlight and has fertile, well-drained soil. Space moss rose seeds between 6 and 12 inches apart for the best results.
Spread 2 inches of organic compost over the surface of the site before planting. Use a garden tiller to incorporate the compost into the soil to increase both fertility and drainage. Scatter the seeds over the surface of the soil and water thoroughly.
Water moss roses once every week during the spring and summer, but only on weeks that receive less than 2 inches of rainfall. Do not allow the soil to become wet or soggy, or moss roses will rot. Reduce frequency of watering to once every two weeks during fall.
Feed moss roses once per year during mid-summer using a balanced 10-10-10 NPK fertilizer to thicken the plant and renew growth. Follow the instructions on the package for proper application and dosage rate. Water before and after applying to prevent root injury.
Remove faded or dying moss rose flowers as soon as possible to encourage the formation of blossoms instead of seeds. Pinch the flowers off near the stem with your fingers or use pruning shears. Leave a few blossoms to set seed if you desire the plants to return in the same location the following year.