Ice plants refer to a large family of succulents that belong to the Aizoaceae family. These plants get their name from the tiny white spots on their leaves that glisten in the sun and appear like ice crystals. In this article, we’ll discuss in detail, how to care for the ice plants succulent.
- 1 How Do You Care for an Ice Plant Succulent?
- 2 How to Propagate the Ice Plants Succulent
- 3 FAQs
How Do You Care for an Ice Plant Succulent?
Most of the ice plant species are native to South Africa; however, they are also found in the coastal areas of the Mediterranean, the US, California and Australia. Many different species belong to the ice plant family; however, the 2 popular genera are Delosperma and Lampranthus.
Ice plants with their fleshy, elongated and succulent-like foliage are resilient, drought-tolerant plants. They come in various forms, right from bushy shrubs to spreading ground cover.
These trailing succulents are warm-weather perennials, which have a bright and profuse display of colorful flowers that look like asters or daisies in varying colors like purple, scarlet, magenta, white, orange, yellow and bi-color.
These plants bloom during their growing season and in spring. In sunny regions, some types of ice plants bloom all through the summer season and in general, ice plants have a fast growth rate. Read on to know everything about how to care for the ice plant succulent.
1,000 Types of Succulents With Pictures
Does an Ice Plant Need Full Sun?
Ice plants are not very fussy plants. They prefer full sun, i.e., 6 hours or more of sun, which enables them to bloom abundantly. These plants don’t do very well in shaded areas and if they are sun-starved, the growth of the ice plant becomes rather weak.
Ice plants with their vibrant and profuse blooms are sure to look stunning near your swimming pool, sunny patio or deck.
What Kind of Soil Do Ice Plants Like?
The ice plant requires dry soil with very good drainage. The plant will not grow in dense clayey soil that tends to retain water, and if the soil is constantly moist, the growth of the ice plant will suffer.
The ice plant grows and thrives best in gravelly and sandy soil that is quite porous. The plant requires soil with a neutral pH level and does not need the soil to be very nutrient-rich.
How to Water Ice Plant Succulents
Typically, the ice plant is a succulent that stores water in its fleshy leaves, stem and roots, which makes it drought resistant. Usually, normal conditions exist when the climate is temperate, the soil gets rain and is not very well-draining.
During the growth period, the ice plant requires one inch of water a week; however, this requirement is only during the growth period because, at other times, this much water will cause the oxygen flow to the root to be blocked, causing root and stem rot and the ice plant will wither and die.
When the weather is dry and arid when the soil gets rain but drains very quickly, then you must water the ice plant deeply once every 7 to 10 days. You should water the soil to around 7 to 12 inches to ensure that the root ball is soaked completely. If the plant does not get sufficient water, it will wither and die.
As the weather turns cold, the ice plant will store water in its leaves and enter dormancy. Avoid watering the ice plant before a freeze as the water can penetrate and cause the plant to freeze and die. And, if you expect it to snow, then cover the soil with dry mulch like straw, bark chips or sawdust, which will help to keep the plant dry during the winter months.
Always water the ice plant late in the day as this helps to reduce any stress to the plant; however, make sure to water it early enough so that the leaves can dry out properly before night. This will help to protect the ice plant from any fungal infections.
What Kind of Climate Can They Grow In?
All varieties of ice plants are sensitive to cold temperatures and prefer warmer climates. Ice plants thrive well in bright, sunny gardens. In dry areas of the US, in USDA hardiness zones 6 to 8, having lesser humidity, ice plants grow as perennials.
In cold and wet climates, USDA hardiness zones 4 and 5, ice plants grow as annuals, where they do best in a container instead of in the ground. In very temperate areas, they grow as evergreen plants. If you live in zone 7, then you can bring the ice plant indoors during the winter.
Ice Plant Care in Winter
If the area you live in gets plenty of snow, then it may be a good idea to do some winter mulching. Ice plants cannot tolerate high humidity and too much moisture in the air can lead to fungal problems and rot. Ice plants do best in dry climates.
How to Propagate the Ice Plants Succulent
The ice plant succulent can be propagated either by cuttings or seeds.
It is possible to take cuttings from your ice plant in summer, spring or fall. You can do this by cutting off a portion of the stem, allowing it to callous and inserting it into a well-draining soil mix.
Only when the soil has dried completely, should you water it. And, when you’re cutting, make sure that the tools you use, whether a knife or scissors, are sharp for the best results.
If you’re using seeds for propagation, then scatter the seeds on the soil. Avoid covering the seeds because they require light to germinate. Depending on the USDA hardiness of the zone you live in, you can keep the seeds outdoors or indoors. For USDA hardiness zones 9a and below, allow the seeds to germinate indoors; however, provide sufficient light. For zones 9b to 11, you can keep them outdoors.
How Big Do Ice Plant Succulents Get?
Most varieties of ice plants have a quick growth rate, while the growth rate of some varieties is moderate. Typically, ice plants spread quickly and can even double their size in the first year.
They can cover a fair amount of ground and spread as much as 4 feet. Most ice plant varieties grow between 3 to 6 inches in height and around 2 to 4 inches wide with succulent foliage and bright flowers.
Is Ice Plant Poisonous to Dogs?
According to the ASPCA, ice plants are pet-safe perennials and almost all the varieties of the plant can be planted around your garden where your pets run around. Ice plants are not poisonous to dogs; however, they are not veggies that your pooch can eat a lot of.
If your dog ate a couple of leaves of the ice plant, he should not have any problems; however, if he ate a whole ice plant or a few plants, he may suffer from a stomach upset and may also have diarrhea and vomiting but he should be fine after a while.