Delosperma cooperi (Hook.f.) L.Bolus
Hardy Ice Plant, Trailing Ice Plant, Pink Carpet, Purple Ice Plant, Hardy Purple Ice Plant, Cooper's Ice Plant, Cooper's Hardy Ice Plant
Delosperma cooperi is a mat-forming, evergreen succulent with trailing stems, needle-like leaves and daisy-like flowers. It grows up to 6 inches tall (15 cm) and spreads up to 24 inches (60 cm). The leaves are light green, nearly cylindrical, up to 2 inches (5 cm) long and up to 0.25 inch (0.6 cm) in diameter. Blooming continuously from early summer to fall, the flowers are produced in such quantities that they literally cover the foliage.
USDA hardiness zones 5a to 9b: from −20 °F (−28.9 °C) to 30 °F (−1.1 °C).
How to Grow and Care
This succulent is indigenous to South Africa, where it is an evergreen. Belying its origin, this hardy perennial can be grown in USDA zones 5 to 9. At the northern end of this range, however, note 2 things:
- Winter hardiness is not a given. Purple Ice Plant may not survive a difficult winter in USDA zone 5.
- Its leaves will not be evergreen, even if it does survive. Treat it as an herbaceous perennial.
Planting it in full sun and in a superbly well-drained soil are critical steps to growing this sun-loving groundcover successfully. Avoid planting in a clayey soil unless you are willing to improve percolation there with soil amendments. Purple Ice Plants are drought-resistant plants and do not require rich soils, but they hate to be sitting in water.
Despite their resistance to drought and dislike of wet feet, they will profit from an occasional watering in the heat of summer, as long as the drainage is excellent.
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