Ice Plant Care: Keeping Ice Plants Happy

Summertime is approaching and bringing the sweltering warmth with it. We’ll be reaching for ice cream, ice buckets, and … ice vegetation! Their flowers received’t cool your backyard down, however they do add an icy look. Every petal is roofed with translucent hairs that shimmer like ice crystals within the daylight. Any ice plant selection you select is certain to make a splash in your summer time backyard!

Regardless of their title, ice vegetation aren’t chilly hardy. In reality, they’re drought-tolerant succulents that develop in sizzling climates. Ice vegetation thrive in desert and rock gardens. When you reside someplace sizzling and dry, these vegetation will really feel proper at dwelling in your backyard.

Ice vegetation are additionally glorious floor covers, edgings, and container vegetation (additionally they present erosion management). They sprawl throughout the bottom and kind a tidy carpet of small flowers. Their blooms are available a rainbow of yellow, orange, pink, purple, or white. Plus, ice vegetation maintain their vivid blooms for a number of months, in order that they’re a fast method to enliven your landscaping for the entire summer time rising season.

You’ll discover ice vegetation to be very low-maintenance. As soon as established, it appreciates neglect and mainly takes care of itself. All you need to do is ready it up for achievement. This information will clarify learn how to develop the easiest ice vegetation in your house backyard.

Good Merchandise At Amazon For Ice Vegetation:

Fast Care Information

Alongside California’s coast, this ice plant spreads invasively. Supply: briweldon
Widespread Identify Ice plant, chilly hardy ice plant, trailing ice plant, sea fig, Hottentot
Scientific Identify Lampranthus, Delosperma, and Carpobrotus edulis (plus many extra!)
Household Aizoaceae
Peak & Unfold 0.5 ft tall, 2 ft vast
Gentle Full solar
Soil Sandy loam, well-draining
Water Sparse watering
Pests & Illnesses Aphids, mealybugs, downy mildew

All About The Ice Plant

Delosperma nubigenum, a cold hardy ice plant
Probably the most cold-hardy ice plant is Delosperma nubigenum. Supply: davidshort

“Ice plant” is a quite common moniker that’s utilized to a whole lot of species inside the Aizoaceae household (a lot in order that it’s nicknamed the Iceplant household). Of the 135 genera on this household, ice vegetation are largely concentrated within the Delosperma and Lampranthus genera. These two are very similar-looking and sometimes advised aside by the presence of a seed pod membrane (spoiler alert: Delosperma doesn’t have one). Different species outdoors of the Aizoaceae household could also be known as ice plant as nicely, however this household is often what the title refers to.

Listed here are some widespread iceplant species you’re prone to come throughout:

  • Delosperma cooperi (Cooper’s ice plant) – blooms magenta
  • Delosperma ‘Kelaidis’ – mild pink flowers, hardy to zone 4
  • Delosperma nubigenum – yellow flowers, most chilly hardy
  • Delosperma ‘Jewel of the Desert Garnet’ – crimson and purple bi-color flowers
  • Lampranthus spectabilis – white, purple, or pink flowers, spreads rapidly
  • Lampranthus aurantiacus – orange flowers, early bloomer
  • Carpobrotus edulis – pink, yellow, or white flowers, invasive in coastal California

Moreover “Iceplant”, it’s possible you’ll hear these vegetation known as hardy ice plant, trailing ice plant, sea fig, purple ice plant, or Hottentot. One species specifically, Carpobrotus edulis, is nicknamed “Freeway Iceplant” as a result of it pops up all alongside the California coast. Regardless of various widespread names, these species are usually very comparable, each in look and development habits. Due to this, we’ll give some primary rising necessities that apply to whichever species of iceplant you select.

Ice plant Delosperma and Lampranthus hail from east and south Africa, which explains why they aren’t that chilly hardy and like drought-like circumstances in greater elevations. Ice plant continues to be fairly new to the US – it was simply launched within the 90s. Delosperma cooperi, additionally known as Cooper’s ice plant, was the primary to be launched, because of Panayoti Kelaidis from the Denver Botanic Backyard. Since then, many species of ice vegetation have been grown as perennial evergreen in zones 5-10. As a result of they’re delicate to chilly climate, ice plant wants additional care as a way to survive the winter and early spring in zones 5-7.

Any ice plant selection is fairly quick. Often, they don’t even clear half a foot. Nevertheless, they’ll unfold as much as 2 ft vast, making them incredible floor covers. This succulent grows by sending up shoots from central stems. Flowers unfold on the tip of every shoot whereas roots prolong from the node beneath. Because of this development sample, ice plant is tremendous straightforward to propagate.

Succulents aren’t all chunky rosettes. Ice vegetation’ water-filled leaves are lengthy and skinny, like little inexperienced beans. They’re spaced far aside on every stem, very like Portulaca or String of Bananas. They’re often grass inexperienced however might flip a plummy purple within the winter months. Despite the fact that it’s evergreen, ice vegetation might lose some foliage in colder winters.

Ice plant blooms constantly from late spring to early fall (relying on the species). Every bloom is just 1-2 inches in diameter, however can maintain as much as 100 petals! These long-blooming, icy petals are lengthy and thin. They encompass white facilities filled with hairy-looking stamens.

Ice vegetation are deer resistant and appeal to butterflies. It’s additionally edible! The evergreen leaves are refreshingly crunchy and may be added to salads. Since such a variety of vegetation go by this title, we advocate that you simply double-check that the precise species you’ve got is suitable for eating.

Ice Plant Care

Lampranthus aurantiacus
Lampranthus aurantiacus is an early bloomer with orange flowers. Supply: cultivar413

They might be low-maintenance, however sure calls for must be met earlier than your ice plant takes care of itself. We’ll cowl the whole lot ice vegetation like and, simply as importantly, the whole lot they hate.

Solar and Temperature

Ice vegetation love to be in full solar. They might tolerate some mild shade at times, however numerous daylight will deliver out the most effective in these ice crystals of flowers. To enhance all that mild, ice vegetation additionally prefer to be sizzling. Even the hardy ice vegetation species aren’t very chilly hardy

In sizzling, dry climates, fall planting is preferable to mid-spring or summer time. That method, the perennial plant has time to get established earlier than the warmth hits. The alternative goes for chilly climates, the place the vegetation get established by mid-summer earlier than the chilly settles in. For these chilly zones, it’s possible you’ll wish to develop cold-hardy ice vegetation in pots. Then, the pots will likely be straightforward to deliver inside if the temperature will get too low in winter or spring. You’ll additionally be capable to management the moist soil ranges extra simply.

Water and Humidity

We are saying that this plant is drought-tolerant, nevertheless it’s actually drought-loving. You need to solely be watering each few weeks until the climate is exceptionally sizzling. Wait till the moist soil dries out fully after which 5-7 days extra earlier than watering deeply. 

Ice vegetation prefer to be very dry all through the winter. Reduce on watering beginning in late fall. When you get snow or onerous frost within the winter, don’t water them in any respect. The leaves may shrink somewhat from lack of moisture, however that’s preferable to freezing from the within out! 

Ice plant, like most succulents, doesn’t care a lot for humidity. An excessive amount of is an invite to pest infestations and decay. Guarantee that your ice plant is positioned someplace dry and pruned to permit good air circulation within the foliage.


Delosperma cooperi
Cooper’s ice plant (Delosperma cooperi) produces vivid magenta flowers. Supply: douneika

Soil texture is simply as essential as daylight for ice plant care. You’ll want sandy soil with good drainage. Ice vegetation will refuse to develop in a clay medium. A well-draining soil is very essential throughout the winter in colder climates. An excessive amount of moisture saved underground can rapidly kill the roots in cooler temperatures.

Ice vegetation don’t care a lot about being planted in wealthy soil. In reality, they fare nicely in poor soil (which turns out to be useful with rock gardens and gravelly soils!). Nevertheless, you may add some natural matter if development is slowing. Within the winter, it’s possible you’ll wish to add a layer of straw, pine needles, or a frost blanket to maintain extra moisture out of the dry soil.


You will get away with skipping fertilizer right here. Nevertheless, like compost, you may add somewhat in case your ice plant’s development is slowing or there aren’t as many daisy-like flowers as you’d hoped. Very sparsely use a fertilizer with somewhat additional phosphorous, like a 1-3-2 ratio. Nevertheless, don’t add simply straight phosphorous, as nitrogen and potassium are additionally important for flowering.


Pruning isn’t strictly essential however may be accomplished to scrub up the bottom cowl and stop pest infestations. In mid-spring, deadhead ice plant flowers and clip off any stems that didn’t make it by way of the winter. In case your ice plant floor cowl is getting fairly dense, skinny it all through the summer time to maintain good air circulation.

Propagating Ice Vegetation

Like most pleasant succulents, you may simply propagate ice vegetation from cuttings. An ice plant sends out roots because it spreads, so all you need to do is divide it into particular person vegetation. In late spring, seek for shoots which can be sprouting roots or have already settled within the group. Clip the connecting stem and transfer the newly unbiased shoot and its roots to their new dwelling away from the unique plant.

Hardy ice plant might self-seed and may be planted from seed. Nevertheless, propagation through cuttings is much easier and sooner.


Carpobrotus edulis
Carpobrotus edulis is typically known as “freeway ice plant”. Supply: oliver.dodd

Not solely is it low-maintenance, however ice vegetation are additionally drama-free! You’ll hardly ever have issues with this well-behaved plant. When you do although, right here’s what it’s possible you’ll be encountering.

Rising Issues

In the case of any succulent, we’ve got to warn about overwatering and root rot. In the event that they get an excessive amount of moisture, ice vegetation’ foliage will wither, flip yellow, and die. You ought to be watering ice plant delosperma or lampranthus very sparsely. It’s additionally important to have well-drained soil. In case your ice plant reveals indicators of overwatering, rapidly transplant it into sandier soil. Don’t water the plant once more till the leaves have perked up.

One other typical succulent downside that applies to ice vegetation is etiolation. If it doesn’t get sufficient daylight, your ice vegetation will stretch out in the hunt for extra mild. This ends in leggy development and gaps in your ice plant floor cowl. Sadly, already-stretched stems received’t return to regular when given extra mild. One of the best you are able to do is prune again the leggy stems and supply numerous daylight for the brand new development.


We’re trying on the normal suspects right here: aphids and mealybugs. These pests are drawn to most sorts of succulents – and for good purpose! Aphids and mealybugs each feed on plant sap, and succulents are plump filled with it. If a big inhabitants of those pests assaults your ice plant, the plant’s development will likely be stunted, its foliage will wilt, and it’ll finally die.

Neem oil often does the trick by deterring these pests (and lots of extra!). You may also attempt insecticidal cleaning soap or diatomaceous earth. For excessive instances, apply pyrethrin spray or spinosad spray. In fact, the most effective factor to do is forestall infestations. This may be accomplished by preserving the ice plant free from particles and never overwatering.


Ice vegetation have solely lately been affected by a selected sort of downy mildew. A fungus species that causes downy mildew was found in California in 2019 and is believed to solely have an effect on ice vegetation. It has been spreading, so in the event you reside in California, be looking out for signs. The mould will coat the foliage in a blue-grey development that destroys the plant tissue.

Downy mildew is inspired by cool and moist circumstances, the precise reverse of what you have to be doing with ice plant care. This illness may be very troublesome to eradicate as soon as established, particularly because it’s so new to us. You’ll be able to attempt making use of a fungicide, however the possibilities of full restoration are slim. One of the best factor you are able to do on your ice vegetation is to look after them nicely as a way to forestall this illness.

Regularly Requested Questions

Lampranthus spectabilis
Lampranthus spectabilis has an array of flower colours. Supply: jam343

Q: Do ice vegetation come again yearly?

A: So long as you reside in zone 5 or hotter, your perennial purple ice plant will bloom reliably every year. In reality, hardy ice plant is evergreen, so that you’ll have some foliage all through the winter months.

Q: Does ice plant want full solar?

A: Sure, sure, sure! You’ll get numerous long-blooming, purple ice plant flowers so long as you give them loads of direct daylight. This perennial groundcover can deal with mild shade every so often, however a lot prefers a sunny spot and drought-like circumstances within the backyard.

Q: Is ice plant invasive?

A: They aren’t sometimes invasive, however one sort of ice vegetation – Carpobrotus edulis – has grow to be an invasive species in California.

Q: How briskly does ice plant unfold?

A: This relies fully on the species. Total although, ice vegetation develop pretty quick, making it an awesome floor cowl for sunny slopes.

Q: Why is ice plant an issue for California?

A: Carpobrotus edulis is only one species of ice plant that offers the remainder a nasty title. It’s an invasive plant that has greater than made itself at dwelling alongside the Californian coast. The opposite species of ice plant, Delosperma and Lampranthus, aren’t such downside kids.

Q: Must you deadhead ice vegetation?

A: It’s not essential, however deadheading spent ice plant flowers is beneficial to assist forestall pests and illnesses.

Q: Do ice vegetation appeal to bees?

A: Sure! Ice vegetation’ daisy-like flowers are a magnet for bees, butterflies, and even hummingbirds.

Q: Is ice plant toxic?

A: No. In reality, many sorts of ice vegetation are edible! Nevertheless, there may be one species within the ice plant household, the slender ice plant, that’s recognized to be poisonous to sheep.

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