Jewel of the desert ruby ice plant

Unyielding & trouble-free. Sparkling blooms thrive in heat, drought and humidity.

Deer & drought proof groundcover! Jewel of Desert delosperma represents a new generation of hardy ice plant with shimmering blooms from late spring thru frost. Growing 4-6″ tall by 12″ wide. Jellybean type leaves form a tight growing evergreen mound that’s as tough as leather and takes on foot traffic. Dense habit stays attractive all season long. Difficult for weeds to grow thru.

In late spring, masses of neon daisylike blooms smother the foliage. Blooms are white with a yellow transitioning area highlighted with uniform bold strokes of bright ruby red on the tips of the petal. The real plus is this awesome color blooms up to 5+ months in the garden.

How to grow:

  • Grows & flowers best in full sun
  • Well drained soil is a must. Does well in gravelly type soil
  • Avoid cold, wet conditions and heavy soil
  • If using mulch- use a gravel mulch only
  • Allow plants to completely dry out between watering
  • Not bothered by series insects or pests.
  • Thrives in heat, humidity & drought
  • No maintenance-no pampering needed
  • Needs little fertilizer

Designing with delosperma

Slowly spreading foliage cascades over stones and walkways. Plant between stepping stones where they tolerant some foot traffic. Thrives in super tough hot spots (with good drainage) near cement, driveways, urban environment, or anywhere sprinkler’s don’t reach. Use to fill in gaps between taller plants in the landscape. Widely used in decorative containers where they combine well with succulents, hens & chicks, sedums and other drought proof plants.

Special features: Attracts butterflies, Deer resistant, Disease resistant, Drought tolerant, Easy care, Evergreen, Fast growing, Fall color, Heat tolerant, Pest resistant, Tolerates foot traffic

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How To Grow An Ice Plant And Purple Ice Plant Care

Looking for a drought tolerant but lovely flower to fill in a troublesome dry area in your garden? You may want to try planting ice plants. Ice plant flowers add a bright splash of color to the drier parts of your garden and ice plant care is easy. Keep reading to learn more about these pretty plants and how to grow an ice plant in your garden.

Information About the Hardy Ice Plant

Hardy ice plant (Delosperma) is a succulent, perennial ground cover with daisy-like flowers. The ice plant is not called an ice plant because it is cold hardy, but rather because the flowers and leaves seem to shimmer as though covered in frost or ice crystals. The plants grow to be about 3 to 6 inches tall and 2 to 4 feet wide.

Ice plant flowers grow in USDA plant hardiness zones 5-9 and will bloom for most of the

summer and fall. Their foliage is mostly evergreen and, because of this, they make a great year-round ground cover. While the plant is evergreen, it will often have some dieback of foliage in the winter.

Some popular varieties of ice plants include:

  • Cooper’s ice plant (Delosperma cooperi) – This purple ice plant is the most common variety
  • Hardy yellow (Delosperma brunnthaleri) – This species consists of lovely yellow flowers
  • Starburst (Delosperma floribundum) – An ice plant variety with pink flowers and a white center
  • Hardy white (Delosperma herbeau) – A white-flowered type that offers exceptional beauty

How to Grow an Ice Plant

Ice plants prefer full sun but can tolerate some light shade in the garden.

Because ice plants are succulents, they do not tolerate wet soil, though they do well in poor soils. In fact, wet soil, especially during the winter months, is likely to kill the plants. In areas where the soil stays consistently dry, this plant can become invasive, so it is best to take this into consideration when planting it.

The ice plant can be propagated by division, cuttings or seeds. If propagating by division, it is best to divide the plants in the spring. Cuttings can be taken anytime in the spring, summer or fall. When grown by seeds, scatter the seeds on the surface of the soil and do not cover them, as they need light to germinate.

Ice Plant Care

Once they are established, ice plants require little maintenance. As succulents, they need very little watering and thrive in drought-like conditions. In addition, these plants need little to no fertilizing. Simply plant your ice plant flowers and watch them grow!

Ice plants are an interesting genus of succulents, with daisy-like flowers. There is a good amount of variety among ice plants; some are low growing spreaders, others become bushy subshrubs. There are over 150 species in this genus from southern Africa. Most are easy growers that bloom freely. The botanical name, Lampranthus, is from the Greek words “Lampros” (bright) and anthos (flower).

  • Leaves: The stocky leaves grow in pairs and can be cylindrical or almost triangular. They are short, very succulent and often blue-green.
  • Flowers: Daisy-like flowers with thin petals that only open in the sun. Different species bloom in vivid shades of yellow, orange, pink and red. The flowers form near the stem tips. Some varieties bloom over a long period, others only a few weeks.

Botanical Name

Lampranthus species and hybrids

Common Names

Ice Plant. You may see individual species labeled as Ice Plants and some have quantifiers like Trailing Ice Plant. It can be confusing. If you are looking for a specific plant, you would be wise to have the botanical name.

Cold Hardiness

Hardiness will vary with the species and variety, but most are only perennial in USDA Hardiness Zones 8 – 10. Some species can tolerate a light frost, but despite their name, prolonged periods of cold, damp conditions will cause them to rot. Gardeners in colder areas can grow them as annuals or houseplants.

Sun Exposure

All varieties of ice plant grow and bloom best in full sun.

Mature Plant Size

The size will vary among the species, but most of the commonly grown ice plant varieties remain 2 ft. (60 cm) tall or lower, with a spreading habit.

Bloom Time

Many ice plants put on their best show in spring, with sporadic repeat blooms throughout the season; however, a few, like Lampranthus spectabilis, bloom all summer.

Suggested Varieties of Ice Plant

  • Lampranthus aurantiacus – Spring blooming, upright plant with bright orange petals around a yellow center. H 2 ft. (60 cm)
  • Lampranthus coccineus / Redflush Ice Plant – Bright red flowers throughout the season. Somewhat frost tolerant. H 2 ft. (60 cm)
  • Lampranthus haworthii – Blue-green leaves held up like a candelabra are covered with pink or purple flowers in the spring. Repeat blooms sporadically. H 2 ft. (60 cm)
  • Lampranthus spectabilis /Trailing Ice Plant- Long blooming in white or purple-pink. Low growing and spreading. H 2 ft. (60 cm)

Design Suggestions Using Ice Plant

Where the plants are hardy, they make a nice ground cover. Ice plants thrive in poor soil and make a wonderful alpine or rock garden plant or tucked in a stone wall. Their spreading habit means they quickly fill a container and spill over, so they are equally nice in hanging baskets and free-standing containers.

Ice Plant Types

delosperma floribundum image by Alison Bowden from <a href=’’></a>

Ice plants, a variety of herbaceous succulents in the genus Delosperma, consist of mat-forming succulents that hail from South and East Africa. Known for their daisy-like blooms and low-growing, matting form, ice plants are useful plants to grow in groups as a ground cover. Their fleshy, bright green foliage is often evergreen, providing color all year. Ice plants are hardy plants, as they’re tolerant of heat, drought and frost, with some varieties persisting into winter.

Ice Plant Kelaidis

Ice plant Kelaidis (Delosperma Kelaidis) is an herbaceous ground cover that blooms from June to September. It is mat-forming to hug the ground with its spreading, dense and freely-branching tendrils. Kelaidis grows up to 6 inches high and has a spread of 1 to 2 feet. The 1-½-inch-wide, salmon to pink flowers have yellow centers and close up at night and during cloudy days. The fleshy, green, succulent, jellybean-like foliage on Kelaidis is often tinged with purple during winter and covered with transparent flakes that resemble small pieces of ice, hence the name ice plant. They grow best in full sun and well-drained, dry, sandy soil. Versatile, ice plant withstands drought and heat. They grow in USDA zones 4 to 8.

Cooper’s Hardy Ice Plant

Cooper’s hardy ice plant (Delosperma cooperi) is a rapidly growing succulent ground cover that blooms from summer until fall. They grow 6 to 7 inches tall and have a spread of 24 inches. Their low, mat-forming growth habit makes them suitable plants to grow in rock gardens or along a garden bed or border. The dark green, shiny, succulent leaves on Cooper’s hardy ice plant are drought-tolerant to withstand periods of limited moisture. The masses of 2-inch-wide, daisy-like blooms are bright pink to purple. Cooper’s hardy ice plant grow best in full sun to light shade and well-drained soil. They grow in USDA zones 6 to 10.

Hardy Ice Plant

Hardy ice plant (Delosperma nubigena), also called cloud-loving hardy ice plant, is a variety of ice plant that is evergreen, meaning it retains its foliage color year-round. It has a rapid growth rate and grows 2 inches tall with a 3 foot spread. The solitary, daisy-like flowers on hardy ice plant are yellow to chartreuse and emerge in spring to light up the plant. The shiny, bright green, thick and fleshy leaves on hardy ice plant grow just over 1 inch long and cast a red tinge in fall. Hardy ice plant is drought-tolerant and grows best in full sun to light shade and well-drained soil. Plant in USDA zones 6 to 9.

Creeping Shrubby Ice Plant (Ruschia)

Tips for Growing Cacti and Succulents

Cacti shipped early in the spring may be dormant. As the weather warms, these cacti will expand and green-up. Remember, after an initial watering to settle the soil around the roots, no further water should be applied until the weather warms up. If plants are dormant and the spring weather is rainy, protect the plants from too much moisture by covering them with a gallon plastic milk container with the bottom cut out. Leave the top off the jug so heat build up isn’t excessive in sunny weather.

Soil Preparation

All the species of hardy cacti and succulents require fast-draining soil.

Planting in the ground

Put the plants on a slope or raised area of the garden, not in a low spot which collects water. Select a bed with full sun exposure, preferably next to a south or west facing wall. These areas will provide extra winter warmth. In heavy clay soils, it is essential to replace half or more of the soil from a 10”x 10” or larger hole with coarse sand and gravel mixed thoroughly with the remaining soil to ensure adequate drainage. No compost should be added, only a small handful of Planters II and Yum Yum Mix®.

Planting in an outdoor pot or planter

Use a planting mix of 3 parts garden soil + 2 parts coarse sand + 2 parts coarse perlite (or similar material). When growing plants indoors in pots, use a good quality potting soil to mix with the sand, and expanded shale instead of garden soil.

Planting Instructions

1. Cacti, agaves, and tap-rooted succulents (Aloinopsis, Titanopsis, Nananthus) should be transplanted bare-root. Let the soil in the pot dry out for a few days. Then remove the pot and gently loosen the soil so it falls away from the roots. Trim off any broken roots. Bare root plants should then be planted into a shallow hole. Spread out the roots evenly and sprinkle the soil into the hole until full. The base of the plant should rest on top of the soil. Mulch with a 1⁄2”-1” thick layer of pea-sized gravel around the base of the plant to protect it from contact with soggy soil over the winter months. (See planting diagram on page 12 of our Planting Guide.)

2. Succulents with fibrous roots (Ruschia, Delosperma, Sedum, and others) need not be transplanted bare-root, instead, the root ball should be scored and roughed out like other perennials.


1. Bare-root cacti and tap-rooted succulents must not be watered right away, but should sit dry for a day or two to allow the roots to callus over any broken or damaged areas. Other succulents can be watered in right away. Water thoroughly with a mixture of SeaCom-PGR and Superthrive to stimulate strong new root growth. Water again with this mixture two weeks later.

2. Outdoor beds with new plants should be initially watered once every 5 to 7 days for the first month or so after transplanting. Cacti and succulents enjoy regular watering during the heat of the summer and will grow vigorously. After the first year, most cacti species need a good soaking only once every 2-4 weeks during the spring and summer if there has been no rain.

3. Potted plants require more frequent, regular watering, especially if the weather is hot and dry.

4. To prepare cacti and succulents for the approach of winter, begin withholding water in the fall so the plants can begin to dehydrate and shrivel. Plump, well watered plants are ripe for cold damage when temperatures plunge in late fall/early winter.


Cacti and succulents are very modest in their fertilizer requirements. When planted in the ground, fertilizing in spring with SeaCom-PGR and Yum Yum Mix® will encourage plentiful flowers and good stem growth. When planted in pots, remember to feed monthly with the same mixture as above, beginning in late summer.

Winter Protection

Garden plants: Many cacti and succulents are quite cold hardy if kept dry in the cold winter and spring months. In areas that receive a lot of winter and spring moisture (especially rain), it is strongly recommended that plants be protected from cold, wet soil conditions. For example, a temporary cold frame can be constructed using pipe or PVC hoops covered with a clear plastic sheet to cover the entire bed. Or individual plants can be covered with plastic gallon milk jugs with the bottom cut out to keep the ground around the plants dry. Leave the top off the jug so heat build up isn’t excessive in sunny weather. Problems will occur if plants are in wet soil all winter or sit under melting snow for extended periods.

Potted plants: Should be moved under a roof overhang on the south or west side of the house or placed in a well ventilated cold frame. Water pots and other containers lightly a few times over the winter during warm spells.

All our cacti, agaves and succulents are seed-grown or cutting-grown in our greenhouses. Cacti and agave plants are 2-4 years old; succulents are 1-2 years old. Please, never collect cacti from the wild unless it’s to rescue plants from construction sites. Many species are close to extinction in their native habitats due to irresponsible collectors.

Recently, while visiting a neighbor, I notice a beautiful groundcover filling a flowerbed by his home. Recognizing it immediately, I asked permission to take a picture. This groundcover has a cool name that keeps its cool year around. Ice plant is the plant that is an eye-catching and easy to grow plant for great gardens and landscapes in Central Texas.

In searching references, I found the spelling of ice plant as two words or iceplant, one word, but however you refer to it you will find that this low-growing succulent is very easy to grow. In my unsuccessful effort to grow it in the past, I found it does not like heavy watering or very fertile soil. So, what will work?

Ice plants get their name from the way their leaves and flowers seem to shimmer as though to be covered with ice.

There are three types of ice plant that that I found are recommended for this area of Texas, they are Aptenia spp, Delosperma spp, and Malephora spp. The common name is ice plant. You may find Aptenia under the name of “hearts and flowers” or “red apple plant.” All of these varieties grow about six inches tall with a one-foot spread. They are a fast-growing groundcover for hot, dry areas of your landscape. They do well in hanging baskets.

Each of the three varieties has thick green succulent leaves. Aptenia has heart leaves while the Delosperma has slender leaves. Daisy-like flowers vary in color including yellow, and dark pink to purple which bloom from spring to fall. Ice plants are a semi evergreen perennial. Enjoy the green foliage during the winter, however a very harsh winter may be its demise. Of importance to our environment, ice plant is described as a fire-wise plant.

It is suggested to plant ice plants about a foot apart. Their fast growth will close the gaps quickly. They do well in poor soils from mildly acidic to neutral to mildly alkaline (Ph 6.1 to 7.8). These plants need little to no fertilizing. Because the ice plant is a succulent, it has very low water requirements and thrives well in our hot summers. It is described as versatile and resilient in most environments.

Landscape uses for the ice plant vary. It can be used as a border or edge, in a rock garden, in a container, hanging basket, or it can be used to fill an entire flower bed that is easy to care for. It likes full sun to partial shade. It is best propagated by cuttings. A suggestion is to let the stem callous over for about an hour before planting. Once established, no pruning is necessary.

It attracts wildlife such as butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. Some varieties are deer resistant, but I make no guarantees because when a deer is hungry, the ice plant may be on the low end of pecking order of preference.

My plan is to try to grow ice plant again, now that I understand it a bit better. I encourage its use in our Central Texas landscapes for the pop of color from its blooms during the summer, low water requirements, adaptation to poor soils, and ease of care.

Upcoming free seminar

Looking ahead on the Bell County Master Gardener calendar, there will be a seminar titled “Preserving your Harvest” 6:30-8 p.m. Thursday, June 20, at the Bell County A&M AgriLife Extension Offices, 1605 N. Main St. in Belton. It is free of charge. For more information or to register send an email to [email protected]

Purple Ice Plant flowers

Purple Ice Plant flowers

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Purple Ice Plant in bloom

Purple Ice Plant in bloom

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Plant Height: 2 inches

Flower Height: 3 inches

Spread: 24 inches


Hardiness Zone: 5b

Other Names: Trailing Ice Plant


Low growing carpet-like, succulent, native to South Africa but amazingly hardy in North America; bright purple daisy-like flowers cover the ground; green foliage has burgundy overtones in fall; perfect for xeriscapes, rock gardens, screes and sandy soils

Ornamental Features

Purple Ice Plant features showy purple daisy flowers with gold eyes rising above the foliage from early summer to early fall. Its attractive small succulent narrow leaves are light green in color. As an added bonus, the foliage turns a gorgeous burgundy in the fall. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.

Landscape Attributes

Purple Ice Plant is an herbaceous evergreen perennial with a ground-hugging habit of growth. Its relatively fine texture sets it apart from other garden plants with less refined foliage.

This is a relatively low maintenance plant, and is best cleaned up in early spring before it resumes active growth for the season. It is a good choice for attracting bees and butterflies to your yard, but is not particularly attractive to deer who tend to leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Purple Ice Plant is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Mass Planting
  • Rock/Alpine Gardens
  • Border Edging
  • General Garden Use
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Purple Ice Plant will grow to be only 2 inches tall at maturity extending to 3 inches tall with the flowers, with a spread of 24 inches. Its foliage tends to remain low and dense right to the ground. It grows at a fast rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 5 years.

This plant does best in full sun to partial shade. It prefers dry to average moisture levels with very well-drained soil, and will often die in standing water. It is considered to be drought-tolerant, and thus makes an ideal choice for a low-water garden or xeriscape application. It is not particular as to soil pH, but grows best in sandy soils. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. This species is not originally from North America. It can be propagated by cuttings.

Purple Ice Plant is a fine choice for the garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor pots and containers. Because of its spreading habit of growth, it is ideally suited for use as a ‘spiller’ in the ‘spiller-thriller-filler’ container combination; plant it near the edges where it can spill gracefully over the pot. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

Ice Plant

Ice Plant

Delosperma nubigenum

Ice plant is a popular blooming low growing shrub or ground cover that can be used in many different landscape settings. Plant in tropical to desert style landscapes for a pop of color with very little maintenance. Ice Plant comes in a few different colors with yellow, purple and red being the most popular. Ice Plant blooms periodically throughout the year and when not in bloom their unique green color foliage is sure to add a brilliant splash of color. Originally brought to Southern California in the early 1900’s from it’s native South Africa, the Ice Plant is right at home in our arid southwest temperatures.

The Ice Plant has many other uses other than an attractive landscape plant. It was originally used for erosion control and to compact loose coastal soils in Southern California. Homeowners today may not know this but they are helping to reduce erosion when planting this on their property. It was also used for medicinal purposes as well. The gelatinous juice that is inside of the plump Ice Plant leaves has been used for decades for an alternative style of medicine.

Stop into any Moon Valley Nurseries location today and allow one of our expertly trained nursery pros to help you select the perfect plants for your landscape.

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