The Vanishing Portulaca Mystery

All summer I have been scratching my head over this one. I have a large concrete planter on my porch that I filled this summer with a mix of portulaca. At first, it seemed like a winning combo – the drought-loving plants settled right into that sunny, dry planter and bloomed like crazy.

Then, one day, my happy portulaca looked a wee bit wilted. The next day, it looked downright discouraged. Within a couple of weeks, the plants were completely dead, rotted away to stubs. All summer, I have been scouring my sources to find answers, and yes, there are some fast-acting diseases out there, as well as a thriving online support community for survivors of sudden portulaca death.

Finally, though, near the end of the summer, I happened to open my door at just the right moment, and the answer to my question was looking me right in the eye – literally:

Meet Houdini, who generally runs the place by using his 14 pounds in whatever ways he sees fit. In this case, he declared eminent domain over a cozy napping spot, and as you can see by the look on his face, I was disturbing his peace and quiet. Next year, instead of the portulaca, I’ll just put in a blanket and the TV remote.

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Backed by his 40-year remodeling career, Danny served as the home improvement expert for CBS’s The Early Show and The Weather Channel for more than a decade. His extensive hands-on experience and understanding of the industry make him the go-to source for all things having to do with the home – from advice on simple repairs, to complete remodels, to helping homeowners prepare their homes for extreme weather and seasons.


  1. Hi Julie! How nice to hear from you and what a neat job! Houdini is wonderful and it’s obvious that he “rules the roost!” Steve says to tell you that “I’m glad you have him and not me!”

    Please send us your home address so we can include you in a mailing for Steve’s show at Step in Time in Salisbury on November 21. Thanks!



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