Along with a few other genera, these low-growing succulents are all known as ice plants. Delosperma species, most of which hail from South Africa, are the best ice plants for the South (they do particularly well in the Southwest). They never grow more than a few inches high but spread to form ground-hugging mats ideal for covering a bank or slope. Daisylike flowers (about 2 in. across) appear above the small, succulent leaves, which may be cylindrical or flattened. Need full sun, good drainage, and just enough water to keep them looking fresh. Mulch with gravel to keep base of plant dry. Withhold water in fall to harden off plants for winter.
D. ashtonii. ASHTON'S ICE PLANT. Zones MS, LS, CS; USDA 7-9. Dark lavender-pink flowers with yellow centers bloom over a long period in summer, held on 4- to 6-in.-tall stalks above gray-green leaves that are broader than those of most other species.
D. congestum 'Gold Nugget'. Summer into fall, butter-yellow blossoms emerge from tight clumps of beadlike, dark green leaves. Grows in. tall, up to 9 in. wide. Foliage turns red in winter.
D. cooperi. PURPLE ICE PLANT. Zones MS, LS, CS; USDA 7-9. Purple flowers appear all summer above light blue-green foliage. To 35 in. tall, spreading quickly to 2 ft. across. Hardy to 0F if protected by snow or mulch.
D. dyeri 'Red Mountain'. Forms a neat carpet 24 in. high and 1020 in. wide. Summer flowers are pinkish red, fading to bronze with creamy white centers. Good ground cover.
D. floribundum 'Starburst'. Glowing lilac-pink blooms, each with a central white eye, appear above shiny, deep green foliage from summer to fall. Grows 4 in. tall, 1020 in. wide.
D. hybrids. Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8. 'Kelaidis', also called Mesa Verde ice plant, is a vigorous, cold-tolerant hybrid that grows 2 in. high and 12 ft. wide, with pale salmon-pink flowers (112 in. across) from spring until fall. 'John Proffitt', Table Mountain ice plant, is similar but has fuchsia flowers. Both make excellent ground covers.
D. nubigenum. HARDY ICE PLANT. Only 12 in. tall, spreading to 3 ft. Cylindrical lime-green leaves turn red in winter. Bright yellow flowers, 11 in. wide, are borne in great profusion in late spring. Excellent ground cover. Very cold hardy, surviving to 10F. 'Basutoland' is an improved form that reaches 24 in. tall.
D. sphalmanthoides. TUFTED ICE PLANT. Tight mat of gray-green foliage grows only in. high and 8 in. wide. Early spring show of pinkish purple flowers.