Basic information about Delospermas. Includes Origin, Growing & Cultivation, Common Pests & Diseases, Interesting Facts & Uses, and Garden Design Tips.
Delosperma is the botanical name. The common name, Hardy Ice Plant, is not referring to its cold hardiness, but to the appearance of the flowers and leaves, which are said to look shimmery as if covered in frost or ice (in reality, they are covered in hairs that reflect and refract light in a manner that imitates sparkling ice).
Delosperma cooperi is native to South Africa.
Growing and Cultivation
Delosperma prefers full sun and very dry, sandy, poor soil. They do not tolerate wet, heavy soils and do not respond well to fertilization. This plant does best in your driest, sunniest spot with the poorest, sandiest soil you can provide! This plant could be considered drought-loving – only in the most extreme conditions does regular watering apply!
Wet soil during the winter will most likely kill this plant. Foliage commonly dies back in the winter in all but the warmest climates. Delosperma is hardy to USDA growing zone 5, but is sensitive to cold and wet winter conditions – mulching with winter mulch (light and air-pocket-filled) is recommended for the first winter and in notably colder winters after that. Slowly tapering off watering in fall to decrease water retention in leaves may also help to reduce damage to them in winter.
Common Pests and Diseases
The most common diseases Delosperma displays are crown and root rots; both can be traced to lack of drainage or excessive watering. Amend poorly draining soils with perlite, bark, or coarse sand to improve drainage and water VERY sparingly. Aphids can occasionally show up to munch on leaves, but can be sprayed off with a hose or treated with insecticidal soaps or oils.
Interesting Facts and Uses
This plant is very useful for filling dry, poor spots with blazing color in the garden! Delosperma cooperi is featured on the UK Royal Horticultural Society’s ‘Perfect for Pollinators’ list, due to its attraction to bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.
Garden Design Tips
Delosperma loves to be planted on a slope, retaining wall, raised bed or rock garden. It also can be used as edging for a walkway.
To purchase Delosperma varieties, please visit our Sun Companion Plants Page.