Delosperma cooperi

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 4 Professionals
Common Name: ice plant
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Aizoaceae
Native Range: Southern Africa
Zone: 6 to 10
Height: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to September
Bloom Description: Glossy red-purple
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Drought, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil

Culture

Best grown in dry, sharply-drained soils in full sun. This plant will grow poorly or die in any soil that is not well-drained. Avoid unamended clay soils. Tolerates average to lean soils including sandy and gravelly ones. Water sparingly during the growing season. Plants have good tolerance for heat and drought. Unfortunately, plants are not reliably winter hardy to the St. Louis area where they should be sited in sheltered locations and given winter protection.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Delosperma cooperi, commonly called ice plant, is native to South Africa. It typically forms a vigorous, succulent, spreading, evergreen ground cover in warm winter areas of the United States. However, north of USDA Zones 7 (which includes the entire St. Louis area), it is at best semi-evergreen and is not reliably winter hardy. This is a succulent mat-forming plant that typically grows to 3” tall and spreads quickly to 24” or more. Daisy-like, bright red-purple flowers (to 2” diameter) cover the plant with bloom from June to September. The neon-like intensity of the flower color and length of bloom greatly enhance the ornamental interest of these plants. Succulent, fleshy, cylindrical, medium green leaves.

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

Specific epithet honors English gardener Thomas Cooper (1815-1913) who collected plants in South Africa from 1859-1862.

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

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Aphids and mealybugs may visit. Winter hardiness is a problem in St. Louis.

Garden Uses

Sunny but sheltered areas of desert gardens, rock gardens, border fronts or slopes. Ground cover or edger.