Ice Plant – Drosanthemum floribundum

The Ice Plant grows best in a south-facing window, where it will get all the available sun. The flowers serve as a natural barometer— opening when the sun shines and closing when it is dull or dark.

The plant is better known under its old family name Mesembryanthemum. However, the Ice Plant and some of its relatives are now known as Drosanthemum.

The Ice Plant is a low cushion shaped plant with a creeping growth habit. The stems can grow to 30cm (12in) long. It thrives in warmth and sun, and can go outdoors in summer, or stand in a bright window.

Display ideas

Grown in a hanging basket, the Ice Plant’s stems will trail decoratively over the edge. It is also suitable for growing with other succulents and can be used as a ground cover plant.Ice Plant - Drosanthemum floribundum

Propagation

Growing from seed

1 Sow the seed in March in peat pots or trays. Use a soil-based compost with a good amount of added sand.

2 Sprinkle the seed over the surface of the compost and water it in. Cover with a piece of glass or polythene.

3 Keep in a shaded position and maintain a temperature of about 21°C (70°F).

4 Prick out seedlings grown in a tray when they are large enough to handle and transplant into individual pots. Seedlings in peat pots should be thinned out and then moved on into large pots.

Taking cuttings

1 Take stem cuttings in August and insert in pots of compost. Place the pots in a warm spot, preferably with bottom heat.

2 Overwinter your new plants at a temperature of 10-13°C (50-55°F).

Pests And Diseases

Dark brown or soft patches around the base of the plant are the result of overwatering. This is particularly likely to occur if the plant is left standing in water.

Treatment: Allow the compost to dry out. If possible, remove any affected parts of the plant and dust it with a suitable fungicide. In future, water more carefully and drain away any excess water from the saucer.

PLANT CARE

This plant is easy to care for, but needs a bright sunny position to produce flowers. Remove faded flowers and withered leaves.

  • Potting: Use a soil-based potting compost to which you have added a good quantity of sand. Place a layer of broken crocks in the bottom of the pot to ensure good drainage. Repot annually.
  • Water moderately in the summer and drain away any excess water standing in the saucer under the pot. Water very sparingly in winter, keeping the compost barely moist.
  • Feeding: Feed every other week during the growing season with a weak solution of a standard liquid fertilizer.

BEST GROWTH ENVIRONMENT

  • Light: The plant needs full sun to produce flowers.
  • Temperature: Normal room temperatures of 18-21°C (65-70°F) are fine in summer, and you can stand your plant outside if you wish. It must be kept cool in the winter. A temperature of 13°C (55°F) is ideal.

Buying Tips

The

  • Ice Plant is usually available in the spring and summer from garden centres, nurseries or cactus specialists.
  • Choose a plant that has lots of flower buds so that you will have a good display of flowers to enjoy in summer.
  • Properly cared for, the Ice Plant will live for years. However, older plants produce fewer flowers, so it is best to replace them by taking cuttings.

Drosanthemum hispidum bears an abundance of deep purple flowers to make a spectacular show all through summer.

A low-growing, cushion-like succulent, the Ice Plant produces a multitude of pale pink flowers in summer. Grow it in a hanging basket, or as a creeper in a shallow pot.

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