Ice Plant Brings Long-Lasting Color to the Garden
There's a new succulent in town, and its name is ice plant. Species in the genus Delosperma and the family Aizoaceae, these plants are evergreen succulents with many-petaled flowers that resemble daisies. They're perfect as an eye-catching groundcover, and they also thrive in rock gardens. They can be used as accents anywhere, including in containers. According to The New Southern Living Garden Book, "They never grow more than a few inches high but spread to form ground-hugging mats ideal for covering a bank or slope."
The succulent's foliage is thick and green, and from spring to fall, the plant flowers with showy, vibrant blooms that come in shades of white, yellow, magenta, lavender, purple, and blue. The New Southern Living Garden Book describes them as having "daisylike flowers (about 2 inches across), which appear above the small, succulent leaves. The leaves may be cylindrical or flattened."
These plants are very drought tolerant and thrive in full sun or partial shade with moderate water requirements. The New Southern Living Garden Book says they need "just enough water to keep them looking fresh," and recommends gardeners "mulch with gravel to keep base of plant dry. Withhold water in fall to harden off plants for winter."
Delosperma cooperi comes in many colors, and one of its most recognizable hues is a bright purple-magenta shade. Delosperma dyeri 'Red Mountain' has pinkish red flowers that fade during the summer and become bronze with white centers. Delosperma floribundum 'Starburst' produces lilac-pink blooms throughout the summer and into fall. Delosperma hybrids bloom in a variety of colors, with most appearing from spring through the fall months. Other species include hardy ice plant (Delosperma nubigenum), with yellow flowers and leaves that turn from green to red, and tufted ice plant (Delosperma sphalmanthoides), which has gray-green foliage and pink flowers in spring.
WATCH: How To Propagate Succulents
Do you plan to add any ice plants to your garden this year? What are your favorite succulent species?