Planting Ice Plant

Ice plants, also known as Delosperma, are herbaceous perennials with brightly colored spring and summertime flowers. The flowers have thin petals in shades of red, pink, yellow, orange, and purple that radiate from the center. These plants earn their unique nickname, ice plants, because of the tiny hair-like growth on their stems. When the plant is wet, especially after a heavy dew, sunlight hitting the plant creates the appearance of ice crystals cloaking this spreading ground cover. Ice plants are easy to maintain and prolific bloomers when they receive proper care.

planting-of-delosperma-cooperi-in-bloom

What You Need To Plant Ice Plant

  • Shovel
  • Compost or manure
  • Garden spade
  • Good location
  • Water source
  • Mulch

Where to Plant Ice Plant

Plant ice plants in full sun. These beauties need at least 6 hours of sunlight and will become leggy or straggly in low light. The soil should be well drained because these plants do not like consistently wet conditions and are susceptible to root rot. Ice plants are not heavy feeders; rich soil or top-dressing the soil with organic mulch will support growth and encourage blooms.

Ice Plant Spacing

Most ice plants have a spreading growth habit, making for an excellent ground cover, although the plants respond well to trimming if you prefer a more compact, bushy look. Space ice plants 15 to 18 inches apart, depending on the cultivar.

Steps To Plant Ice Plant

Step 1 - Choose a sunny area with at least 6 hours of sunlight daily.

Step 2 - Dig a hole twice as big as the root ball and amend the soil with organic mulch or compost.

Step 3 - Place the root ball in the hole so the top is level with the ground.

Step 4 - Backfill the hole, firmly pressing the soil into place.

Step 5 - Spread mulch around the ground to prevent weeds and retain moisture.

Step 6 - Water the ground around the plant until the root ball is saturated.

When to Plant Ice Plant

Plant Delosperma during the spring or early summer in the northern reaches of its growing zones. Ice plants are perennials, so allow the plant plenty of time to acclimate before winter. Plant as late as the fall in areas with mild climates. 

Transplanting Ice Plant

Delosperma is a fast-growing plant, and it may be necessary to divide it every few years. Transplant ice plants in the spring or fall. Spring is ideal for areas with cold winter weather. Move the plant at the start of the growing season, so it will settle in before the bloom cycle begins. Transplant Delosperma in the fall, after the plant is done flowering in warm climates.

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Author Alison Cotsonas - Published 06-02-2023