Ice Plant Winter Care

Based on the name, the ice plant may seem like a winter-hardy plant, but this nickname results from how the plant sparkles in sunlight as if covered in ice crystals. Many ice plants are hardy in zones 5 through 9, although some varieties are less frost tolerant. Ice plants prefer areas with dry winters and are less hardy in climates with wet, cold weather. These plants require some care and attention to survive the winter, especially when freezing temperatures are possible. 


Protecting Ice Plants in Winter

Ice plants may die back in cold climates, especially those with wet winters, and may turn completely brown. In the spring, the roots or brown stems will often resprout, so don’t give up on your plant too quickly. Ice plants grown in mild winter weather will be evergreen. Cover the plant if the forecast calls for heavy snow or freezing rain to protect the foliage. Mulch with rocks or gravel to prevent rot around the stems.

Cutting Back Ice Plants For Winter

The stems and foliage may die after the first heavy frost. As insurance, take a few cuttings of your plant before winter and root them indoors in case you lose your outdoor plant to a harsh winter.  Wait until spring to clean up any dead stems that don't resprout on your outdoor plant. Ice plants may resprout from the roots or brown stems. Some varieties will stay evergreen and do not need to be cut back. 

Ice Plants Winter Care in Pots

Potted ice plants need protection from cold temperatures. The ground is warm and retains heat, so the roots of landscape plants are safe from freezing temperatures. The roots of potted plants are more vulnerable to cold damage, so the containers must be moved to an area out of the elements if cold weather is possible. Make sure the pot drains well and does not sit in water during the winter, which is sure to kill the plant  

Watering Ice Plants in Winter

Ice plants do not need water in the winter. The plants are dormant and have reduced water needs. Too much moisture during cold weather is a fast way to kill succulents like ice plants. Rainfall is enough to sustain these succulents in areas where they grow as evergreens. Resume watering in the spring when new growth appears.

Growing Ice Plants Indoors

Bring ice plants indoors to grow as houseplants. Ice plants enter a dormancy period, where the plant’s growth and blooming slow. Place the potted ice plant in bright light and water when the top few inches of soil are dry. 

Steps To Care For Ice Plants in Winter

Ice plants are low maintenance, especially during the winter. Plants in cold climates will need protection; otherwise, winter care of Delosperma is minimal.

Step 1 - Take and root cuttings before the first frost in case your plant doesn’t survive the winter.

Step 2 - Ice plants in warm areas typically stay evergreen during the winter but cover the plant if the forecast calls for cold temperatures.

Step 3 - Move container-grown ice plants to a protected space in cold or wet climates.

Step 4 - Ice plants grown as houseplants for the winter need bright sunlight and water when the top few inches of soil are dry.


 Alison Cotsonas Profile Pic

Author Alison Cotsonas - Published 06-04-2023