What is Delosperma?
Delosperma is a type of succulent also known as Ice Plant. Panayoti Kelaidis of Denver Botanic Garden has introduced this plant in the early 1990s to the gardening community. This plant is one of the most common succulents used in drought-tolerant landscapes. This plant blooms lovely foliage and its colorful flowers make a great addition to your garden.
Its low spreading stems make it a perfect choice for ground covers. You can plant your Ice Plant in areas with gravel mulch and they can decrease the reflected heat and glare during hot and sunny days. Delosperma succulents are perennial plants and most varieties can withstand dry and cold climates.
The Delosperma plant comes from South Africa. It has become popular with gardeners because of its amazing ornamental potential. If you have xeriscapes you can add this succulent for its bold colors throughout the seasons and even those individuals who live in zone 5 can enjoy having them in their gardens.
Delosperma comes in a variety of colors such as purple, pink, yellow, orange, magenta, bi-color, and many more color and shade combinations that you can choose from. You can check them out and pick which colors suits your garden and even your personality. If you want to attract different pollinators like butterflies and bees, especially honeybees, the Delosperma is an excellent source of honey.
The leaves of the plant are edible and can be used as an addition to salads; they can also be stir-fried or steamed just like the other vegetable dishes. It is deer-resistant so you don’t have to worry about your Delosperma plants be eaten by wild deer in your backyard or garden.
Which Areas Do Delosperma Succulents Grow Best?
Delosperma succulents are perennial plants in drier, less humid areas of the western part of the United States. If you live in cold wet zone 4 and 5 climates like Chicago, Cincinnati, and Madison you can grow and care for the delosperma succulents as an annual plant.
If you live in zones 6-8 like the Eastern Seaboard and areas near the Appalachian Mountains, the ice plants can live longer and you can plant them as perennial plants. You can also plant your Delosperma plants in containers or pots as they grow fast and can offer a burst of color and they look beautiful when the stems and lovely flowers cascade in the edges of their containers. You can bring them indoors during the winter season for individuals who live in areas that are north of zone 7.
When you are planning to grow delosperma succulents you must take note that the Delosperma succulents are less cold hardy in wetter climates. A wetter climate reduces their ability to tolerate the cold weather. The Delosperma plant is called Ice Plant because their leaves appear to have ice crystals and they glisten in the sun and look like they are semi-transparent.
1. Cooper’s ice plant (Its scientific name is Delosperma cooperi) – This is the most common variety, it is also known as the purple ice plant. It is the first variety of the delosperma succulents that were introduced in the United States.
2. Delosperma Lavender Ice – A long live delosperma variety that produces pinkish-lavender flowers. It can be mixed with “Blut” because they both have deep purple foliage. This plant is developed by Perennial Favorites Nurseries Of Rye CO.
3. Hardy white (Delosperma herbeau) – This plant has white flowers that have exceptional beauty.
4. Blut (Delosperma ashtonii) – It is a long-blooming delosperma variety discovered in Arvada CO by Kelly Grummons. It has dark-green foliage and blooms flowers that are deep magenta. This plant’s foliage transitions into deep purple when the climate becomes cold. This plant is drought and cold-resistant making it a perfect choice for individuals who live in hot and dry climates.
5. Hardy yellow – (Delosperma brunnthaleri) – This plant produces beautiful yellow flowers.
6. Starburst (Delosperma floribundum) – This plant blooms pink flowers with a white center.
7. Lesotho Pink (Delosperma sp) – This plant has bright-green leaves and blooms pink flowers during early spring. This plant is native to the mountains of South Africa and can thrive in areas with higher elevations that have colder climates.
8. Alan’s Apricot (Ice plant Delosperma) – This plant is a hybrid, it is a variety of ice plant that has been developed by Alan Tower and has been available since 2016. This plant is extremely cold-hardy, it blooms bi-colored pink/apricot flowers during the summer months.
9. Red Mountain® Flame (Delosperma dyeri) – David Salman, a horticulturist, discovered it. This plant is an accidental hybrid that blooms reddish-orange flowers during springtime. This plant thrives well in very hot and dry regions. The Red Mountain® Flame is very cold hardy to zone 6.
10. Delosperma Fire Spinner® – This plant blooms flowers that have bright orange and deep purple colors. It blooms flowers during late spring. This succulent does not thrive in areas that have warm winters, it prefers cold weather and it is best to plant in areas that belong in the USDA Zones 5-8.
How to Grow and Care for Delosperma Succulents
1. Plant the delosperma succulents in a sunny area. Use a fast-draining soil; you can use sandy, sandy loam, or gravelly soils. If you live in drier climates, garden loam is preferable but make sure to avoid using clay soil.
Ice plants are like cacti. They do not like to stand in water and do not prefer rich soil. They grow best in dry sandy soil, and they can grow and spread easily. If you plant your delosperma plant in the moist-rich soil they can die because of root rot, this can occur during wintertime. You can prepare a soil mix by mixing peat, sand, perlite, soil, and compost.
2. Plant the delosperma succulents during mid-summer if you live in colder climates so they can be established before wintertime. For those who live in the Southwestern part of the USA, they have hot summer climates, so it is best to plant the delosperma succulents during fall.
3. Water the plants regularly especially during summertime, as Delosperma is a native plant in South Africa, they get summer rains. Keep the succulents dry during the wintertime. If you live in areas where the snow stays on the ground, you can use a frost blanket to cover the plants and keep their foliage and crowns dry. Get your frost blanket here.
4. Delosperma succulents love gravel mulch, they tend to grow best when the stems grow over the top of the gravel, and this allows the roots to stay moist and the leaves and stems dry. You can also use fast-drying mulch materials like bark chips with medium texture or pine needles. You can allow them to dry out during the fall by stopping their irrigation so they can shrink down and harden before the wintertime comes. Actively growing delosperma plants are usually killed during the first hard frost.
5. During mid-spring, you must prune out any stems that are damaged in wintertime.
6. Use fertilizers during fall, you can use organic fertilizers. Ice plants can be prone to be killed during winter when it is fertilized frequently during the active season, they will keep growing during fall and they are prone to die during the wintertime.
7. Plant the delosperma succulents with 15-18 inches apart, but they can be closer if you have smaller rock garden varieties. You can place a little compost on each planting hole as well.
Warning: If you will plant your delosperma succulents in poor, dry soil they can spread rapidly and can become out of hand. They tend to grow aggressively and become an invasive plant in your garden.
Delosperma plants do well as landscaping plants along road embankments in areas with temperate climates. They can be used to control erosion. They can become invasive plants and affect other plants in your garden.
How to Propagate the Ice Plant
The Delosperma succulents can be propagated by using cuttings or planting seeds. You can also divide the plant and plant them in individual containers during springtime. You can take the cuttings during spring, summer, or fall. When growing them by seeds spread the seeds on top of the soil and make sure to not cover them because they need sunlight to germinate and grow properly.
Division – If you grow ice plants in containers, divide them easily when repotting them.
- Remove the plant from the pot.
- Divide the roots to form a few more separate plants.
- Place the new plants in pots with a coarse, sandy potting mix that drains water fast.
- Propagate your plants during springtime.
Get your Delosperma succulent cuttings here.
Seeds – Planting the delosperma succulent is easy to do.
- Rake the soil.
- Water the soil moderately and scatter the seeds lightly.
- Press the seeds into the soil.
- Do not cover them because they need light to germinate.
Get your Delosperma succulent seeds here.
How to Prune Your Ice Plantst
- Prune your delosperma succulent during fall after the flowers fade.
- This will prevent seed production and allow plants to conserve energy so they will have a vibrant appearance.
- If there is dead or dry foliage, you must trim it. This will allow your plants to have a better appearance.
- Some varieties of delosperma succulents can dieback, if this occurs, just trim it down and it will return and grow during springtime.
How to Water and Fertilize Your Ice Plants
1. Water the ice plants after planting them. This way you can remove air pockets and allow the soil to settle on the roots of the plants. If there are pockets of air around the roots, this can cause them to dry out and die.
2. Water the ice plant with 1 inch of water every week. Do this during the first few months after planting them.
3. Use a watering can, soaker hose, or sprinkler. If you will be using a soaker hose or sprinkler you can set a 1-inch deep can next to the plant, turn off the sprinkler or hose when the can is full of water.
4. Reduce your watering regimen after the first few months of planting the delosperma succulent. It will not need supplemental water to survive after the first couple of months. The plants will begin to look a little rough; the leaves will turn yellow or brown and become withered. Give them 1 to 2 inches of water every 3 to 4 weeks to allow them to grow properly.
5. Do not water your Ice plants during wintertime. Cold wet soil can cause root rot and they can die from it.
6. Give fertilizer during springtime when they are actively growing. Use a balanced fertilizer, you can use 10-10-10 or 8-8-8.
7. Use 4 oz. of fertilizer for every 25 sq. feet of garden space. Sprinkle the fertilizer on the ground around the plants; be careful not to get any on the plants, as it can burn the leaves and stems of the Ice plants.
If you accidentally get any fertilizer on the plants, wash it with clean water. After spreading the fertilizer in the ground, you can water the plants so it can spread into the soil.
What are the Common Pests and Diseases of Delosperma Succulents?
Clay soil is not advisable to use when planting the delosperma succulent. If you don’t have a choice, you can mix the clay with compost and gravel so the plant can grow.
Watch out for aphids and mealybugs as they are the common pests that can attack your ice plant. Remove them by spraying water using a garden hose. If you have severely infested plants, you have to remove them and throw away so it will not affect other plants in the garden.
Both aphids and mealybugs can be troublesome to your ice plants because they suck the juices from the plant and they can cause slow growth and yellow leaves can drop and this can kill your plants.
If you need more information about common pests and diseases of succulents, make sure to check our website.
Delosperma succulents are an excellent addition to any landscape or garden setting. Its foliage and flowers will help brighten your outdoor garden. It can also be used as ground covers or in areas with sandy seaside areas. You can use the delosperma succulent as an edger plant or you can also plant them in window boxes. This plant can also be used in rock gardens or as a trailing plant in containers. If you have xeriscapes, you can add your delosperma succulents on it as they can withstand drought and harsh climates.
Are you planning to grow and care for Delosperma succulents? If you need more information about succulents and how to take care of them properly, Eden Succulents is the perfect place for you! We can teach you all the things about succulents.
If you need guides and other information please visit our website for more information. You can get all types of information so you can be successful in growing succulents at home. If this is your first time grow succulents, let us know any of your concerns, questions, or inquiries, we will do our best to help you out!