Delosperma 'Kelaidis'

Common Name: ice plant 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Aizoaceae
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to September
Bloom Description: Salmon pink
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Drought

Culture

Grow in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Prefers a dryish, sandy soil. Good soil drainage is essential for the plant, particularly in winter where moist to wet soils can be fatal. Avoid overwatering. Good tolerance for drought and heat. Best grown in a sheltered location in the St. Louis area where plants may not be reliably winter hardy. Protect in winter. Plants spread along the ground sometimes rooting as they go to form an attractive ground cover. Cuttings root easily. Succulent leaves pushed into soil will often root to form new plants.

Although 'Kelaidis' is reportedly winter hardy to USDA Zone 4, winter survival in St. Louis can still be a problem if soils are not sharply drained and remain moist to wet for extended periods of time. Siting plants on a raised bed may be helpful.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Delospora is a genus of about 150 species. They are commonly called ice plants.

Genus name comes from the Greek words delos meaning evident and sperma meaning seed in reference to the exposed seeds.

Foliage is covered with transparent flakes that somewhat resemble tiny pieces of ice, hence the common name.

‘Kelaidis’ is a succulent, mat-forming, ice plant that is primarily noted for its prostrate, freely-branching, dense, spreading form and its long bloom of salmon-pink, daisy-like flowers. U.S. patent documents state that ‘Kelaidis’ was selected in a controlled environment in Denver, Colorado in 1998 as a naturally occurring plant mutation of an unidentified selection of Delosperma cooperii. It typically grows to only 3” tall but spreads to 24” wide or more. Succulent, jellybean-like foliage is covered from late May into fall with salmon-pink flowers (to 1.5” diameter) with yellow centers. Intensity of the flower color and length of the bloom enhance the ornamental interest of these plants. Flowers close up at night and on dark days. Succulent fleshy green foliage is sometimes tinged with purple in winter. Foliage is covered with transparent flakes that somewhat resemble tiny pieces of ice, hence the common name. Plants are evergreen in warm winter climates, but at best only semi-evergreen in the St. Louis area. ‘Kelaidis’ is sometime sold under the trade name of MESA VERDE. ‘Kelaidis’ honors Panayoti Kelaidis, Curator of Plant Collections at the Denver Botanic Gardens. U.S. Plant Patent PP13,876 issued June 10, 2003.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for aphids and mealybugs. Winter hardiness may be a problem in the St. Louis area.

Garden Uses

Ground cover or edger. Grows well in hot, dry locations. Also effective in containers.