hardy ice plant creates a colorful display with it
its shocking iridescent pink flowers. Here it is
partnered in a Mediterranean garden with Lemon
Ball sedum and soap aloe.
you have been to California youíve probably seen the
shockingly colorful display of ice plants blooming
everywhere. Now, after growing them at two different
locations in the Southeast, I am convinced the rest of
us can revel in their iridescent beauty.
hardy ice plant is known botanically as Delosperma
cooperi and is native to southern Africa. It is a low
growing plant reaching about 3 to 6 inches in height
with lush, succulent leaves. The psychedelic,
fuchsia-colored flowers might make you think daisy
family, but it belongs in the Aizoaceae, the
worry about all of that taxonomic stuff -- just make
sure to give them a try. In addition to the hot pink or
fuchsia colored selections there are is also a flashy
yellow selection, which I have not grown, called Jewel
of the Desert Peridot.
spring flush of flowers is simply incredible and the
showiest. On the other hand, the hot blazing sun just
seems to keep those flowers coming. Some report that
once fall and winter arrive the foliage takes on a
slight red hue. It is cold hardy from zones 6-10 with
several reputable suppliers suggesting it can be pushed
to zone 5 as well.
addition to full sun, the real paramount requirement is
good drainage. You must think desert or Mediterranean
climate when planting. Sandier soils are best but when
you consider the range of soil amendments at your garden
center today it will not be hard improve your planting
hardy ice plant is the "poster child" for
drought tolerance. Dry, sandy or gravelly soil
situations are no problem. Overhead irrigation that
comes on every day, however, spells doom and failure.
you find your plants, space them 16 to 24 inches apart.
You will find they have no trouble spreading to 24
inches and if you do you soil prep, this will be the one
bed you do not have to worry about when you go on
the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens, we have ours
growing in the Mediterranean Garden. Here they are
growing around a large glazed container with a young
olive tree. In the colorful bed they are partnered with
another dazzling succulent, the Lemon Ball sedum.
Ball is also a perennial but only in zones 7 through 9,
so it is not quite as cold hardy as the ice plant.
Botanically speaking it is Sedum mexicanum and sports
chartreuse foliage topped by flashy yellow blossoms. The
contrast with the hot pink of the ice plant makes for a
most striking partnership. Lemon Ball also spreads and
will develop into a 3-foot-by-6-foot drift in about
combination planting is made even showier with the
3-foot-tall spike of the soap aloe, Aloe maculata. The
aloe also adds interest with its foliage by helping
create a great diversity in leaf texture.
we as gardeners forget that real beauty can be created
with drought tolerant or xeriscape type plants. With a
little soil preparation and the right choices in plant
material, like the hardy ice plant and Lemon Ball sedum,
we can have an attention0grabbing display without being
a slave to the garden.