Plant the ice plant properly
For the graceful ice plant, spring is considered the optimal planting time, so that the perennial can establish itself well by winter. Choose the sunniest location in the garden with sandy, lean and well drained soil. Thanks to this care, you set the course for a flowering perennial life. In the thoroughly weeded and raked earth, create small pits at a distance of 20-25 cm with 1.5 times the volume of the root ball. Subject the excavation to a close inspection for loose, permeable texture. If in doubt, add sand, fine grit (€ 12.80 at Amazon *) or gravel. Then pot the young plants out and plant them in the middle, maintaining the previous planting depth. Water regularly on the day of planting and over the next few days to support rooting.
- The ice plant: flowering time and characteristics
- Is the ice plant (Mesembryanthemum) hardy?
- Propagate the ice plant yourself
If an ice plant is given a sunny location with sandy, permeable soil, the maintenance program is limited to the following measures:
- Start fertilization with compost and horn shavings (€ 6.39 at Amazon *) in April / May
- Apply liquid fertilizer diluted in a pot in April and June
- Water a little if it is dry
- Cut only when necessary to control the spread
Frost-sensitive species and varieties are preferably kept in pots so that they can move to a light, frost-free winter area in good time. Cover cold-resistant conspecifics with leaves, straw or brushwood before the first frost.
Which location is suitable?
The sunnier the location, the more opulent the ice plant unfolds its floral flowers. The perennial owes its name not least to its floral talent for showing no signs of fatigue even in the blazing midday sun. On the contrary, maximum light output promotes vitality and abundance of flowers. This goes hand in hand with their desire for sandy-dry, poor and well-drained soil.
What soil does the plant need?
Midday flowers have a reputation for being robust survivors. Thanks to their succulent leaves, they save every single raindrop for periods of drought. Thus, the soil can be sandy, dry and poor, because the perennials are primarily concerned with first-class water drainage. If in doubt, add a generous portion of sand, grit and fine gravel to normal garden soil and potting soil.
When is the flowering time?
The central flowering time of midday flowers extends from July to September, as the perennial achieves the maximum yield of sun rays in summer. If you can't wait for the star blossoms to appear in the rock garden, choose the crowded ice plant (Delosperma congestum). In mild years, this species ventures out of cover as early as April. If you run out of breath in July, conspecifics such as the Lesotho ice plant (Delosperma lineare) or the Transvaal ice plant (Delosperma sutherlandii) are there.
Cut ice cream properly
The ice plant expresses its modest modesty in terms of cutting. In principle, no pruning is required. Only if you want to contain the spread of the exotic ground cover, cut the plant into shape as required. This measure is possible at any time.
Water the ice plant
With a watering can in hand, you will seldom make your way to an ice plant. Thanks to the succulent leaves, the perennial usually has a supply of moisture. Only water the plant in the early morning hours or in the late evening if it is persistent. Since the substrate dries out faster in a pot than in a bed, check the surface with your finger every few days to water when it is dry.
Fertilize ice plant properly
The proper supply of nutrients is limited to starting fertilization in April. With a portion of compost and horn shavings you can get the perennial going. Slow-acting organic fertilization meets the needs of an ice plant much better than a highly concentrated complete fertilizer. We therefore recommend the application of liquid fertilizer in a highly diluted concentration in the tub and balcony box in April and June.
The degree of winter hardiness of an ice plant depends on the type and variety selected. Popular favorites like Golden Nugget or Peach Star are completely frost-proof in the local regions. Species such as Delosperma cooperi only get through the cold season in good health in mild winter wine-growing regions. Therefore, cultivate frost-sensitive midday flowers, preferably in pots, so that they can be relocated to a light, frost-free winter area in autumn. The resilient copies should be given the following protection:
- Before the first frost, cover the perennial with a 20-30 cm layer of leaves and brushwood
- Alternatively, cover the ice cream with garden fleece (no foil)
Please note that any winter protection must be removed as soon as the mercury column permanently exceeds the zero degree mark. Otherwise, condensation could form under the layer of leaves or the fleece and, as a result, rot.
Propagate ice plant
In terms of reproduction, the uncomplicated cultivation of an ice plant continues seamlessly. In order to grow more specimens of this frugal perennial, the following methods are available:
- Cut cuttings with a length of 10 cm to allow them to root in a small pot with poor substrate
- Division of the root ball in spring
- Sow the seeds behind glass from February
While the vegetative propagation by means of cuttings or division takes place without extensive effort, the sowing makes slightly higher demands. The very fine seeds should not be sieved or only very thinly sieved. In a partially shaded window seat at a constant 20 degrees Celsius, germination takes 2 to 3 weeks. After another 4-6 weeks you can prick your pupils if they have at least 2 pairs of leaves. The young shrubs should ideally be planted out from mid-May.
Is ice plant poisonous?
The toxicity of ice cream flowers is still the subject of controversy. As there is currently a lack of well-founded scientific research and knowledge, we recommend exercising caution. Keep the perennial out of the reach of small children and pets to be on the safe side.
When hobby gardeners talk about an ice plant, it is usually one of the following magnificent varieties of the genus Delosperma. At home in the sun-drenched regions of South Africa, the succulent, flat-growing plant combines an abundance of exotic flowers with modesty and robust winter hardiness.
- Golden Nugget: gold-yellow gem for the rock garden and sunny table garden; Height 5-10 cm
- White Nugget: pure white magical blossoms all summer long over juicy leaves; Height 5-10 cm
- Peach Star: The peach-colored star blossoms contrast enchantingly with the succulent foliage; Height 10-15 cm
- Mesa Verde: A tall growing variety that sets the scene with salmon pink flowers; Growth height 10-20 cm
- Compact ice plant: The bright yellow variety scores with early flowering from April; Height 8-10 cm