Ice Plant

I take pictures of every flower that grows in my yard, and my house, and lots of other places too. Somehow, I did not get any photos of the Ice Plant that I put in this year. It was a mid summer replacement for another plant that died young. It’s out there, I remember seeing the flowers, but for whatever reason, I never photographed it. That’s not to say that I have no pictures of Ice Plants, because I took some in San Diego.

Lucky for me, Ice Plant is a perennial, and might be back next year to give me another chance. Ice Plant is also called Trailing Ice Plant, Pink Carpet, Cooper’s Ice Plant and Hardy Ice Plant. It’s a dwarf perennial native to South Africa. Ice plant is a succulent, it has fleshy leaves that are full of liquid, helping it to resist drought and tolerate hot, dry environments. It needs little water, but does need well-drained soil to prevent root rot. Because they grow up to 3 times more across than tall, Ice Plants are used for ground cover. After the flowers bloom from July to September, the evergreen foliage remains, like a green carpet.  Ice plant is fire retardant and mildly salt tolerant and is used in some areas to control erosion.

Propagation of Ice Plant is by cuttings, division or seed. I’m told you can take a cutting without a flower, remove the bottom leaves and replant it in the same soil and it will quickly root. Ice Plants attract butterflies and have loads of long-lasting flowers, in white, yellow, red, pinks and purples. Delosperma is the genus which contains all of the 100 species of Ice Plant. All of them are from South Africa and only in the last 10 years or so have they been introduced to North America. All Delosperma species form low mat-like plants and are supposed to be hardy in zones 5-11. But, I’m told they are only reliably hardy if they are in reasonably dry areas. Better cross my fingers and hope that mine comes back next year, since it’s not very dry here in zone 5.


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