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This neon-pink Chilean import turns heads in garden

Garden Gems: Chilean rock purslane is a real eye-catcher with its bright magenta flowers.
Garden Gems: Chilean rock purslane is a real eye-catcher with its bright magenta flowers.

This is one part in a weekly series featuring the UC Davis Arboretum’s “Garden Gems” series – 45 can’t-fail, easy-care, low-water plants well adapted to our region and that add sparkle to drought-tolerant landscapes.

Chilean rock purslane

Calandrinia grandiflora

Size: Basal clump grows 1 to 3 feet high and 2 to 3 feet wide.

Bloom season: Tall spikes of electric pink-magenta flowers from late spring through fall.

Exposure: Full sun.

Pruning needs: Remove old stems after bloom; after coldest winters, remove any frost damage.

Water needs: Low to medium; once established, water deeply every other week.

Snapshot: This charming succulent from another Mediterranean climate – Chile – is gaining new fans in California. Besides the arboretum’s teaching nursery, rock purslane can be found in many large nurseries and home centers. Rock purslane forms a low mound of smooth, succulent blue-gray leaves; that foliage is attractive in its own right. But it’s those brilliant magenta flowers that make this succulent such a standout. From late spring through frost, these sparkling blooms seem to float above the plant on tall, slender 3-foot stems. These neon-bright flowers will stop people in their tracks along paths and entryways. Bees and beneficial insects appreciate them, too.

For more on “Garden Gems,” click on arboretum.ucdavis.edu.

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