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Southwest Gardening > Blog Page > Southwest Gardening > Hardy Iceplant: You Can Grow That!

Hardy Iceplant: You Can Grow That!

Winter seems the fitting time to mention one of my favorite low-water groundcovers for the Southwest garden: the succulent iceplant (Delosperma). These spreading and flowering plants are hardy down to zone 4 through 6, depending on the variety. That’s right – a succulent that survives moderate winters.

alans ice plant
Alan’s Apricot ice plant boasts large, color-changing blooms. Courtesy of Plant Select and Alan Tower.

Perennial iceplants spread quickly and flower all summer with striking aster-like blooms just above the fleshy foliage. I love the deep pink blooms of Cooper’s iceplant. But you can find iceplants with yellow, lavender, flame red and apricot.

Plant Select David Salman iceplant
Red Mountain Flame ice plant from David Salman of High Country Gardens. Image courtesy of Plant Select and David Salman.

Give iceplants full sun for best flowering. You need to water them a little more in the first year or when temperatures soar in summer heat and they bloom like crazy. Otherwise, they can survive drought and occasional watering. Oh, and bees love iceplant flowers!

Iceplant blooms
Sometimes, iceplants look like a bright carpet of flowers. They’re striking up close or from far away.

I mentioned iceplants spread rapidly in the right conditions. If yours are overreaching the bed, you can enjoy the effect. They’ll spill over paver borders, for example. We’ve also carefully dug up rogue stems (they don’t root very deeply) and transplanted them after the last frost.

hardy iceplant foliage
This photo of an iceplant was taken in October, so the blooms are not as full. But the pretty succulent foliage remains.

So simple, so fun, so pretty. You can grow iceplants!

delosperma iceplant zone 6B
We started with three small iceplants in this zone 6B, northern-exposed bed.

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4 comments on “Hardy Iceplant: You Can Grow That!

  1. I think it is worth noting that Carpobrotus edulis is also called iceplant but should not be planted in some areas (particularly coastal California) because it escapes into natural areas and spreads quickly forming solid carpets that displace rare native plants. Delosperma is sometimes listed as a good alternative to Carpobrotus.

  2. heather

    will iceplant survive at 5000 feet?

    • I’m at 6300 feet, but it really depends on the variety and your climate. I’m sure hardy iceplant would make it!

    • William Jury

      Here in Colorado, the hardier Delosperma species/cultivars (like Alan’s Apricot) easily survive 4,751 feet (Milliken) and 5,003 feet (Fort Collins), so long as they’re planted in reasonably well-draining soil (we average 13-16 inches of rain per year). I doubt that your elevation would be a limiting factor in their success, and I would encourage you to try them. My favorite is Fire Spinner, though it seems a little less hardy than Alan’s Apricot or Delosperma nubigenum…but only a little.

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