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Aptenia cordifolia (Baby Sun Rose)


Scientific Name

Aptenia cordifolia (L. f.) Schwantes

Common Names

Baby Sun Rose, Heartleaf Iceplant, Red Aptenia


Mesembryanthemum cordifolium (basionym), Litocarpus cordifolius, Ludolfia cordifolius, Tetracoilanthus cordifolius

Scientific Classification

Family: Aizoaceae
Subfamily: Mesembryanthemoideae
Genus: Aptenia


Aptenia cordifolia is a mat-forming perennial, growing in flat clumps from a woody base. The succulent stems are 4-angled or rounded and up to 24 inches (60 cm) long. The leaves are fleshy, flat, heart- to oval-shaped, bright green and up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) long. The flowers are bright pink to purplish, appear in the leaf axils and are open during the day. The fruits are capsules up to 0.4 inches (1 cm) long with brown tuberose seeds. Perhaps the most common plant seen under this name is actually Aptenia 'Red Apple', a hybrid with red flowers and bright green leaves, whose parents are A. cordifolia and Mesembryanthemum haeckelianum (formerly known as Platythyra haeckeliana or Aptenia haeckeliana).


USDA hardiness zones 8a to 10b: from 10 °F (−12.2 °C) to 40 °F (+4.4 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Water Aptenia only when the soil is completely dry and then provide enough to drench the soil to a depth of about 6 inches (15 cm). To check for dryness, poke your finger into the soil. Never water if the soil feels damp or cool, as Aptenia, like all succulents, is prone to rot in soggy, waterlogged soil. Water Aptenia lightly during the winter if the leaves begin to look shriveled. Provide only enough water to moisten the soil as the plant deteriorates quickly in cool, damp soil.

Withhold fertilizer, which isn't needed and often results in a weak, floppy plant. Trim the plant as needed throughout the growing season, using pruners or garden shears to keep the plant tidy. Pot the plant and bring it indoors for the winter when nighttime temperatures drop below 50 °F (10 °C).

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Aptenia.


Aptenia cordifolia is native to South Africa (Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal).

Cultivars and Hybrids


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