Pruning Ice Plant

Ice plants are easy-care perennials that bloom during the spring and summer. The name ice plant is derived from the small hair-like structures on the stems that sparkle like ice crystals when sunlight shines on the plant. Pruning is not a big part of caring for ice plants. Delosperma is commonly grown as a ground cover, so this plant is often used to fill in a bed, border, embankment, or other space. Pruning ice plants keeps the growth full and bushy. Ice plants grow quickly, so a well-timed trim prevents the plants from becoming straggly or leggy.

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When to Prune Ice Plant

Prune ice plants after the flowers fade. Delosperma blooms in the spring and summer. Avoid pruning when the plant is blooming to allow the plant to set flowers. The plant can become leggy after the flowers fade, so cut back elongated stems. 

Ice plants usually stay evergreen although some varieties turn brown over the winter. Sometimes, the brown stems will resprout and should be left alone until the weather warms up.  In mid-spring, remove any dieback from winter that has not resprouted. In climates with mild winters, ice plant typically doesn’t need much pruning outside of trimming straggly overgrowth as needed. 

Why Prune Ice Plant

Ice plants are fast-growing plants, and the stems can quickly become overgrown if plants are in a preferred setting. Pruning leggy ice plants creates a compact, bushy look and encourages new growth. Ice plants continue to grow after the flowers fade, and removing overgrown stems keeps the plant in bounds and forces energy into new, branched growth.

How to Prune Ice Plant

Step 1 - Do not prune ice plants when blooming.

Delosperma blooms in the spring and summer, and pruning while the plants are blooming could reduce flowering.

Step 2 - Trim long stems to remove straggly overgrowth.

Prune ice plants after the flowers fade to remove leggy stems and spent flowers.

Step 3 - Remove brown stems that don’t resprout in mid-spring.

Ice plants may die back in areas with cold winters. Wait until mid-spring to prune any dead stems.

Ice Plant Pruning Tips

  • Prune ice plants in midsummer after the flowers fade
  • Avoid pruning ice plants when blooming to maximize flowering
  • Remove any winter dieback in mid-spring

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Author Alison Cotsonas - Published 06-03-2023