Delosperma sphalmanthoides plants mainly grow in Cape Province in South Africa. It is popularly called the tufted ice plant or dwarf sea anemone. It belongs to the Aizoaceae family and takes up only an inch or two in terms of its height, although it can grow around 12 inches in width.
The leaves are cylindrical, fleshy and small and form a ground cover. The flowers are taller than the leaves and are magenta or fuchsia in color.
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How to Care for Delosperma sphalmanthoides
The Delosperma sphalmanthoides grows well outdoors and indoors. When planted outdoors, the plant does well in a sunny, sheltered area.
The plant can also be grown indoors in a container, but you must ensure that you place the pot in an area that gets plenty of sunlight.
When the plant is getting established and also during the summer months, the Delosperma sphalmanthoides needs regular weekly watering. But it must be kept dry during the winter months.
If you stay in an area where the ground is covered with snow in winter, then it may be a good idea to keep the plants covered with a frost blanket or row crop cover so that the crowns and foliage are dry.
Plant the Delosperma sphalmanthoides in quick-draining soil. Sandy, gravelly or sandy loam soils are the best for these plants. It is best to avoid clayey soils for the Delosperma sphalmanthoides in any region.
If these plants are planted in rich, moist soil, they will die because of root rot. Garden loam works well in places with drier climates.
You can use gravel mulch or other materials like medium-textured bark chips or pine needles to add porosity to the soil.
Fertilize the Delosperma sphalmanthoides only in the fall using natural or organic fertilizers. If fertilized frequently during their growing season, the plants will be prone to winter kill.
The Delosperma sphalmanthoides is a long-lived cold-hardy xeric that grows well outdoors with full sun. They are perennials in less humid, drier climates of the western U.S.
In the USDA hardiness zones 4 and 5, which have a cold and wet climate, they are annuals and in the USDA hardiness zones 6 to 8, they are more long-lived.
Delosperma sphalmanthoides are generally hardy plants that are resistant to diseases, but they can be susceptible to pests, including mealybugs, vine weevils and aphids.
Pruning the Delosperma sphalmanthoides will encourage the healthier growth of the plants. Prune the plants after the blooms fade in the fall.
Using sharp pruning shears, remove all the wilted flowers and cut the plants to a uniform height. This will prevent the production of seeds and also preserve the vibrant appearance of the plant.
Trim off all the dead foliage. The plant may die during a very cold winter and if this occurs, trim the plant to the ground. It will grow back in the spring.
The Delosperma sphalmanthoides must be repotted right after you purchase it and bring it home. And, then you can re-pot the plant once every two years if the plant has outgrown its pot.
How to Propagate Delosperma sphalmanthoides
Year after year, the Delosperma sphalmanthoides will re-seed itself and does not require help for propagation. But if you want to, then it is possible to propagate the Delosperma sphalmanthoides using seeds, cuttings or division.
You can grow Delosperma sphalmanthoides from seeds very easily. Rake the soil and expose it. Water the soil moderately. Then, scatter the seeds lightly and to prevent them from blowing away, press the seeds into the soil. Avoid covering the seeds with soil as they need sunlight to germinate.
Delosperma sphalmanthoides propagates very easily from cuttings and you can start it any time at all. Take the cuttings, around 2-4 inches long and remove the lower leaves, exposing 1 node at least. Set the cutting aside so that they heal.
Insert the cut end of the plant into the soil and keep it outside in the bright sun for a week. Once you see the new growth, move the saplings into more direct sun and then transplant them into a new container or bed in the garden.
Division of the Delosperma sphalmanthoides is easy to do when you’re repotting. To do this, remove the plant from the pot and divide the roots to form two or more separate plants. Place the plants in new pots with well-draining potting soil.