Delosperma, commonly called ice plant, is popular for its mass of flowers throughout the warm months. During the winter, however, it leaves something to be desired. The flowers go away, the stems turn woody, and it looks pretty much dead.
But wait! Don’t just pull it up and start over. When it starts to warm up, around the end of April, first of May here in Muleshoe, green leaves mysteriously begin to appear. I know it looks like a mess, but have faith. It will come back.
If you look carefully, you will see that the woody stem comes to life and starts to green up again.
As it begins to green up and the truly dead ends are obvious, I will sit down and trim off the tried-out ends of the stems to speed up the process. But if you do that, be careful to look for new growth coming out of the woody stem because it is easy to wind up cutting off live parts of the plant. I did trim part of this bunch, but kept coming across live pieces, so I quit.
Today is May 27, and this is what it looks like now. Nice and green with flowers beginning to show up. Delosperma is widely used as a ground cover, and it is definitely covering ground here, including the rusty piece of hardscape that I repositioned. Just remember that when you plant it and put it some place where a ground cover is desirable. It have more flowers as the summer continues.
Keep in mind there are some varieties of delosperma that aren’t cold-hardy and some that actually stay green through the winter and start to bloom and look pretty without going through the dead-looking stage, like this one.
Several mini varieties are now available and while they are cold-hardy, they do turn brown and dead-looking during the winter but come back with color quickly. The smaller-leafed varieties won’t cover as large an area as the more traditional, older varieties, but they are still pretty and add a nice touch to the garden. They can work in a dish garden if you keep them trimmed and under control.
This is the second year for this pale pink variety, and I wasn’t sure if it would make it through the winter, but sure enough, it did.
This variety of ice plant doesn’t turn brown in the winter, but actually turns purple from the cold and then blooms yellow flowers only in the spring. Most other varieties bloom all summer.
I have discovered through trial and error that some varieties always make it through the winter, some never make it through, and some come and go depending on the severity and dryness of the cold months and where they are planted. But they add color to your garden, come in many colors, and are worth adding to your collection.
We just planted Delosperma Hot cakes pink ice “Fig Fusion” on this June 5,21 Never planted this ground cover. They are in a exposure area of full sun from 6:00am to 230-300 pm
Could you please give us some detailed information preparing them for the Chicago area for the winter. Some info on deadheading also.
I understand they do not need fertilizing. No overwatering too. Thank You
Both of your comments came through! Sounds like the plants are getting enough sun, which they need. Delosperma traditionally doesn’t need to be deadheaded, but do so if it looks better to you. Cut the spent flowers off right above the next set of leaves under it. Some delosperma will come through winters with no problem; others don’t, so what I do is root a cutting and keep it inside protected during the bad weather as a backup in case the batch outside doesn’t make it. I don’t think it will hurt to fertilize them, but probably not necessary. They do need some water until well established and then less after that. I have not been to Chicago, so I don’t know the weather, but delosperma is usually pretty easy to grow. I do hope this helps. Thanks for reading.
Should I put a frost cover on them pink ice hot cakes fig fusiion. First planted them June 5. In Chicago which gets plenty snow & cold.
Right now they are growing a little doing fine full sun most of the day. 630 to 230 in afternoon.
again, should I apply a frost cover on them for first year??
Carl, I am not familiar with the plant in question, but will google it after this email. If there is any doubt in your mind, then yes, I would cover them. You might also take a cutting and start a back-up plant in a pot you could take in during the winter in case you loose the original plant. Hope this helps. And check back. I will see if I can come up with a better answer after researching the plant.
Carl, I just checked out this plant, which is from South Africa and was said to be hardy, but I think I would take a cutting for a back-up just in case. It would not hurt to cover it this winter, but when you uncover it, I stand by my initial advice. Give it time to come back out as the weather warms up, and give it some water. And sometimes, depending on the severity of the winter, you might lose the plant. Then other times it might make it. Good luck.
My ice plant has not flowered since I planted it several years ago…What do I need to do to make it flower?
I would think the main thing is to make sure it is getting enough sun. Sometimes a new location will make a plant respond. I have never fed my ice plants, but I suppose you could try that as well. Hope this helps.
My ice plants look dead.
I water once a week Texas heat some are green but don’t bloom What do l do?
Try watering more often and be patient, I guess! Some will flower more than others. You might also move it to another location, or take a cutting and root it in another location to see if that makes a difference. I have never fed mine, but that might help and wouldn’t hurt it. If it isn’t in full sun, try that, and water more often to get it established.
Our ground cover ice plane is beginning to grow after winter. It does not look dead just is brown on top. What do I de to cut some off, as it has spread a lot and I want to cut some back. Do I need to rake off the light color on top so it can grow or will it grow on its own?
I think I would just leave it alone and let it do its thing. Some watering would help it come back out. You could cut some of the new green growth off and replant it somewhere else if you like. New growth usually appears on the brown woody-looking stems as it comes back to life. I hope this helps. Let me know how it goes.
How do you root the pink ice ground cover?
If you have cut off a piece, don’t plant it for a day or two to let the end scab over and dry. Then put it in dirt, water every other day, and be patient! Until it gets established, it might take a bit more water, but on the other hand, don’t over do it. Do give it plenty of sun, especially if you are doing this now as winter approaches. Hope this helps.
I have two Red Apple plants that I switched to pots for the winter so they could get remaining sun. Can they make it through a high desert winter in pots? Can’t find info on that. Hope you can help, they’re so pretty.
I was not familiar with anything called Red Apple Plant, so I googled it. What I found was a genus Aptenia which must be similar to ice plant, and I notice your comment was connected to a post on ice plant, so I guess that might be the plant you are referring to. What read said it was hardy in zones 8 to 10, so I am thinking that to be sure it makes it over the winter, you might want to move those plants inside for the winter. Plants in pots don’t get as much protection from winter freezes as plants in the ground that get protection from being in that ground. You could try it both ways; leave some pots outside and bring some in. That way, if the ones outside die, you will have another start in the pot inside that you can then put outside when it warms up. Do some experimenting. I hope this helps.
I am so happy that I came across this page. I was just looking at my ice plants today, April, 3, 2023-they look deaf. Now I know to be patient.
Thank you so much!
You are welcome, Stephanie. I do hope they come back; sometimes they do die, ya know! Give them a little water now that it is warming up, and yes, be patient!
I planted fire spinner variety last summer and it did great! They are rated for my zone. We’re almost through April and they still look completely dead. When should I give up on them? I’m located in the Massachusetts area.
If you can pull the plant up out of the ground easily and the stems tend to crumble, then you may very well have lost it. I lost my fire spinner this year due to our drought, wind, and some extra cold weather. The hybrids, of which fire spinner is one, are sometimes not as hardy as the traditional Delosperma cooperi. You have much colder weather up where you are, and even though the tags give a zone rating, they can’t take into account what might be going on in your particular situation. I have several agaves that are said to be cold-hardy where I live, and they don’t do well without winter protection. Sorry you may have lost your plant. The experts always say that if you haven’t killed at least three of a particular species, you don’t really know if it will grow where you are or not! So you might try again. Perhaps add a large rock nearby to absorb heat in the winter. Hope this helps.