How to Grow Ice Plants & Care Guide

Looking for a beautiful flower that can handle the arid conditions in your garden? Planting some ice plants could be an option to consider.

Easy to care for and with beautiful blooms, ice plants are a great addition to any garden, especially those with a dry section.

Read on to discover the history of the ice plant and the steps to successfully cultivate one in your own yard.

Information About the Hardy Ice Plant

The ice plant, or Delosperma, is a tough perennial ground cover that features daisy-like blossoms.

The ice plant gets its moniker not because it can withstand freezing temperatures, but rather because its flowers and leaves look like they’ve been dusted with frost or ice crystals.

You may expect the plants to be between 2 and 4 feet (0.5 and 1 m) in height and 3 to 6 inches (7.5 to 15 cm) in width during their full growth.

Flowers on ice plants are perennial in USDA plant hardiness zones 5–9, and they bloom for several months during the summer and fall.

Due to the fact that their foliage remains green throughout the year, they are an excellent ground cover.

Though the plant itself is perennial, its leaves often lose some of their vitality throughout the winter months.

Some popular varieties of ice plants include:

  • Cooper’s ice plant (Delosperma cooperi) – This purple ice plant is the most common variety
  • Hardy yellow (Delosperma brunnthaleri) – This species consists of lovely yellow flowers
  • Starburst (Delosperma floribundum) – An ice plant variety with pink flowers and a white center
  • Hardy white (Delosperma herbeau) – A white-flowered type that offers exceptional beauty
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How to Grow an Ice Plant

Although they flourish in bright sunlight, ice plants can also survive in partially shaded areas of the garden.

Although they thrive in poor soil, ice plants cannot survive in consistently damp conditions since they are succulents.

In reality, moist soil is extremely detrimental to plant life, especially during the colder months of the year.

Considering the potential for this plant to become invasive in arid locations is important before planting it.

It’s possible to multiply the ice plant in a number of ways, including by cuttings, seeds, and division.

To maximize the success of your plant divisions, do them in the spring. The spring, summer, and fall are all good times to take cuttings.

Plant seeds on the soil’s surface without covering them up; germination occurs best when seeds are exposed to light.

Ice Plant Care

Ice plants are low-maintenance once they’ve been established. They can survive with very little water because they are succulents.

There is also very little fertilization required for these plants. It’s easy to grow ice plant flowers; just plant them in the soil.

Propagating Ice Plants

If given the chance, ice plants will naturally spread and reproduce by sending out seeds.

Stems that have extended and rooted far from the parent plant are common.

Cutting the stem and carefully digging out the freshly rooted plant are all that are required for transplanting.

They can also quickly reproduce by splitting into new individuals.

It can help revitalize an older plant or produce a new one at little expense.

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The spring is ideal for dividing a mature plant. Here’s how:

  • You should carefully dig up the plant without damaging the roots too much. Wet the dirt down first so the roots can more readily glide out.
  • Make use of a sharp spade to cut the plant in half via its roots.
  • Plant each piece in its own individual pot at the same depth it was originally planted. Lightly mist the dirt and pat it down gently.

Common Pests

Ice plants occasionally suffer from pests like aphids and mealybugs.

You can identify these pests by the signs they leave behind, which include odd substances that are sticky or otherwise cling to the leaves and stems.

Dabbing with cotton swabs dampened with rubbing alcohol is an effective way to treat minor infestations. 

How to Get Ice Plants to Bloom

The timing of a flowering ice plant is species dependent. As a rule, ice plants have brightly colored, daisy-like flowers with numerous, slender petals.

When spring finally arrives, they burst into bloom, and their show can linger for several weeks.

It’s possible that certain plant species will bloom twice this summer.

In most cases, ice plants don’t respond well to deadheading, the practice of removing faded flowers to encourage new blooms.

Providing ice plants with an abundance of light stimulates flowering.

Soil deficiency is not a need, but if yours is particularly lacking in nutrients, you may want to supplement it with a flower fertilizer or compost anyhow.

Common Problems With Ice Plants

In a well-managed environment, ice plants rarely experience issues. But a poor setting often leads to the same old problems.

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Plant Leaves Falling Off

Overwatering can cause root rot, which can cause the leaves and stems of your ice plant to wilt and die.

Wet soil can rot the roots, cutting off the supply of water and nutrients to the plant’s stems and leaves.

The soil needs to dry out completely between waterings.

Yellow Leaves

Overwatering often results in the leaves of ice plants turning yellow.

Make sure the plant has good soil drainage and allows the soil to dry out between waterings.

If not, you might want to dig it up and move it somewhere else before the soggy soil kills the plant.

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