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Dakota Gardener: A great rose for North Dakota

May 28, 2023May 28, 2023

I love going to greenhouses and seeing the colorful flowers for sale. With all the varieties available, I struggle with deciding which plants will come home with me. I like to grab different flower packs and hold them up together to see which ones will complement each other.

Although the choices at a greenhouse seem endless, there is one flower that is always guaranteed a spot in my shopping cart: moss rose. It's bright, easy to grow and thrives here in the Dakotas.

My love for moss roses started at a young age. My grandma always grew moss roses in her gardens and I was astonished at their glistening petals.

What really bumped this annual up to the top spot of my favorite list is the summer my mom planted them around a statue in her garden. There was a severe drought that summer. Despite my mom watering regularly, all of her flowers struggled except for the moss roses. They were the showstopper of her yard that year!

This proved to me that moss rose is perfect for us in the Dakotas where hot and dry summers are common.

Moss roses get their name from their creeping habit and rose-like flowers. The low-growing plants have thick, spiky leaves with waxy blooms appearing in wonderful shades of orange, yellow, pink and white.

Moss roses tolerate infertile soil and requires minimal care. Set it in a sunny, well-drained spot and give it an occasional drink of water. The plants will quickly spread and beautify your garden.

This plant is a great choice for rock gardens and in the front of a garden bed. It does well in container arrangements as its vines will cascade over the edges of a container.

Very few pests will bother moss rose but watch out for aphids and slugs. Be careful not to overwater this succulent.

The flowers of moss rose have the tendency to close when the weather is cool or cloudy. The Sundial series is popular because its flowers are more likely to stay open under overcast conditions. The Happy Hour series is another favorite as it has a full habit, large flowers and blooms early. Other noteworthy series include Calypso, Fairy Tale and Yubi Summer Joy.

If you have a bare spot in your garden or if you want to add a special accent to your container planting, consider moss rose. This "rose" is easy to grow and perfect for North Dakota gardeners.

For more information about gardening, contact your local NDSU Extension agent. Find the Extension office for your county at