With a common name like ice plant, we might expect to find Delosperma growing in frigid mountain crags. Instead, this perennial groundcover hales from sun soaked South Africa and takes its common name from the frosted texture of its succulent leaves.
Delosperma is an excellent groundcover option for rock gardens, parking strips, rock walls - basically anywhere sedums or succulents would thrive. Its evergreen, drought tolerant, low maintenance, and deer resistant. As if those qualities aren’t enough to win us over, its cheerful flowers seal the deal. These daisy like blooms come in a variety of sunset hues start in late spring and can continue throughout the summer. These delicate blooms shine best when the sun is shining on them, and will close at night and during rain.
Whether you’re a xeriscaper, a succulent fiend or just a lover of beautiful flowers, Delosperma is a great plant to add to your garden.
Common Name: Ice Plant
Origin: South Africa
Culture: Very well-draining, gritty soil is vital. Full sun is ideal, but a few hours of shade is tolerable. Though drought tolerant, all species would prefer regular watering during the blooming season. Use a light hand when watering however, as overwatering can lead to rot. Stop watering in fall to harden plants off for winter.
Maintenance: Add pumice and compost if planting in heavy or clay soil. If planting in a container, consider using cactus and succulent soil blend, or amending all-purpose potting soil with pumice or sanDelosperma
Pinch back spent blooms as needed during flowering season. To avoid rot due to winter rains, top dress around the plants with a layer of crushed rock or pea gravel.
Pest and Disease: Aphids, mealy bugs.
Some varieties you can find at Portland Nursery include:
A lovely spreader with narrow cylindrical leaves and pink-magenta flowers. Grows 3-4 inches tall, with a spread of 12-18+ inches. Zone 7.
One of the hardiest species, short leaves form rosettes and become red-tinted in sun. Golden yellow to orange flowers. Grows 2-4 inches tall, with a 20 inch spread. Zone 4
Another tried and true species that spread well. Features a daisy yellow flower in the summer months. 2 inches tall by 24 inches wide. Zone 6.
“Fire Spinner”: Introduced in 2012, flowers are a stunning gradation of pink to orange. 2 inches tall by 12-15 inches wide. Zone 6.
‘Jewel of the Desert’ series:
This more compact variety grows 1-6 inches tall by 6-8 inches wide. Its spring through summer blooms are available in four jewel themed colors: ‘Garnet’ a red-pink gradient, ‘Moonstone’ white, ‘Topaz’ a yellow-white gradient and ‘Ruby’ a bright magenta. Zone 6.
‘Wheels of Wonder’ series:
Another new series, features 4 inch blooms - twice the standard size! Available in four bold shades: fire (a red- orange gradient), golden yellow, hot pink with pale yellow center and orange with pale yellow center. A bit taller than most varieties – up to 6 inches, 18-24 inch spread. Zone 4.