Quick facts and care essentials

Sunset  – September 17, 2004

Ground covers

• Evergreen perennial
• Zones vary
• Full sun
• Moderate to little water

Included under the common name “ice plant” are a number of succulent perennials. All have thick, juicy foliage, often with a powdery gray surface; most produce showy, daisylike flowers, often in brilliant colors. These plants aren’t particular about soil and require only enough water to keep the leaves from wilting. Three of the many available ice plants are described here.

Carpobrotus edulis. Zones 12-27. Grows 1 to 1 1/2 feet tall, with curved, 4- to 5-inch-long leaves and pale yellow to rose flowers in summer. Space 1 1/2 to 2 feet apart.

Delosperma. Two species are especially adaptable; space 1 to 1 1/2 feet apart. D. cooperi succeeds in Zones 3-24, 28-31, and warmer parts of 32; it grows 5 inches high, bearing glistening purple flowers all summer. D. nubigenum, hardiest of cultivated ice plants, grows in Zones 2-24, 28-41. Barely 1 inch high, it has fleshy cylindrical leaves and bright golden late spring flowers.