Delosperma - Ice plant
Delosperma – Ice plant

For the past ten years, I have been collecting various members of the sun loving Aizoaceae family. You could put it down as just another one of my plant obsessions, but I think you’ll agree that these excellent little adapters will add a touch of warmer climes to any garden.

The Aizoaceae is a very large group of succulent plants and contains species such as Lampranthus, Annual Mesembryanthemum (Livingstone daisy), to mention just a few. Most species come from South Africa and my favourite has to be Delosperma (Ice plant).

Things you’ll love about Delosperma

  • They are remarkably easy to take from cuttings. No need for rooting powder. Use a gritty compost.
  • Being succulent, they need very little moisture to survive.
  • Colourful Daisy-like flowers that only open out during periods of sunshine. Something to amuse children.
  • They have luscious, cacti-like leaves.
  • Some species like Delosperma compactum form dense, weed suppressing mats and will grow in that trickiest spot.
  • Slugs and snails are not really interested in them

Depending on where you live in the UK, you will need to protect some varieties of Delosperma from hard frosts. Personally, I haven’t had any die on me yet, but I do live by the sea in South Devon. Every year, I take plenty of cuttings from each variety and place them in a frost free environment. This ensures that if I loose any plants, I have a good stock for next year.

A hardy Delosperma to try

In January, I purchased Delosperma ‘Hardy Mixed’, from Thompson and Morgan. They claim this to be a selection of the hardiest varieties of the Ice plant. So far, I am very impressed with the results. Not only did they make it through the coldest months in a non-heated greenhouse, they have also been flowering now for three months and there are still plenty of new buds forming. The flowers aren’t quite as big as the common Delosperma cooperi, but they do come in 4 different colours: red, yellow, white and orange.

I can’t wait to propagate them once they grow a bit bigger. I’m planning to cram them into every dry, hot and sunny spot in my garden next year.

If you’re new to Delospermas, I would highly recommend this variety.

Remember, if you are considering growing them, make sure you plant Delospermas in a bright spot as the flowers only open in the heat of the sun. Also, a well-drained soil would be best.

James Middleton

An obsessive gardener since 1982. Day-time job - web designer and developer and University lecturer.

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