Butterfly settles on ice plant succulent
Photo Credit Susan Hodgson/shutterstock

If you’re a person who loves some contradictions, then you should check out the Ice Plant Succulent. Judging by the name, you might be tempted to assume that the plant comes from a place that has cold temperatures like a tundra. The Ice Plant Succulent actually comes from Africa in the mountains and also the desert. Want to learn more about this interesting plant? Just keep reading! 

Ice Plant Succulent Characteristics

The Ice Plant Succulent is a spreading succulent that will grow to create something like a green carpet in any garden space, so you will want to make sure that your Ice Plants have 2-3 feet of growing space. 

The leaves on an Ice Plant look like fingers. The leaves and stems are also covered in flakes that resemble ice, hence the name of the plant. The flakes that you will see do not harm the plant in any way. 

Ice plants also have beautiful pinkish purple flowers that resemble daisies. Other varieties of Ice Plants can have white, gold or even red flowers. 

Here are some extra things you may want to keep in mind if you plan on owning an Ice Plant:

  • Like many succulent varieties, Ice Plants need well-draining soil.
  • If you plant your Ice Plant outside, deer may enjoy munching on the plant. 
  • Ice Plants are considered an invasive species in states like California.
  • In the fall, the green stems may have a red hue

Water Requirements

Ice Plants are indeed succulents, which means that Ice Plants require very little water.

The rule of thumb for watering succulents is to water every 1-2 weeks, or when the soil feels dry to the touch.

As mentioned above, Ice Plants need well-draining soil in order to thrive. The well-draining soil will also ensure that you do not overwater your succulent, and if you do happen to water too often, the soil will help prevent root rot from soil that has too much water.

Light And Temperature Requirements

The Ice Plant Succulent is native to areas of Africa, so your Ice Plant will grow best in full sun.

Ice Plants are drought tolerant and can handle heat and high temperatures well.

Your Ice Plant will continue growing in winter if you live in a warmer winter climate in the United States. Unfortunately, though, you may struggle to keep your Ice Plant growing if you live in a colder, wetter winter environment. 

If you grow your Ice Plant Succulent inside your home, then you will have better control over the light and temperature that your Ice Plant grows in.

Will Ice Plants Come Back Every Year?

Ice Plants are perennial, which means that they will continue to grow. 

Succulents – not only Ice Plants – are hardy varieties of plants that generally do not die in winter.

Your Ice Plant may grow slower in the winter months, but you should not see your Ice Plant die off unless something is seriously wrong with your plant. For instance, a hard freeze could likely kill away most, if not all, of your Ice Plant. 

For the most part, you will see this during the year for your Ice Plant:

  • Spring: Earliest time of year that your Ice Plant will grow and bloom.
  • Summer: Blooming continues, and your Ice Plant thrives in the full summer sun and warmth.
  • Fall: Flowers may begin to fall after the blooming season. Leaves will stay green or have a reddish color. 
  • Winter: Blooming stop. Growth may slow, but you should not see any black or brown leaves.

Can Ice Plants Survive Winter? 

Ice Plants can survive winter, but you will need to protect it or bring it inside.

Unlike some types of plants, Ice Plants will not die off in the winter with proper preparation. 

Ice Plants will stay evergreen all winter, but these are some good tips if you live in a colder, wetter climate in the United States:

  • Keep your Ice Plant in a pot to easily bring it inside in the winter.
  • Move your potted Ice Plant away from cold windows in the winter.
  • Cover and protect your Ice Plant if it is planted outside. Local gardening stores will have tarps made specially for outdoor plants.
  • Transplant your outdoor plants into a temporary indoor garden in winter.

Do Ice Plants Bloom All Summer? 

Unlike many succulents, Ice Plants have a long blooming season. 

You will see plants on your Ice Plant blooming from June to October under the best growing conditions. Other sources claim that your Ice Plant can bloom as early as April or May

Regardless of the month that your Ice Plant begins to bloom, you will certainly see flowers in the height of summer in July and August. 

These are additional facts about the flowers you will see all summer:

  • Small and bright petals
  • The flowers are less than an inch in diameter
  • Different varieties of Ice Plant could affect the intensity of the color of the blooms

How To Propagate An Ice Plant? 

Ice Plants can be propagated from cuttings or seeds, though seeds are the most common way to grow additional Ice Plants.

First, Ice Plants commonly bloom with flowers, which means that there will be seeds. The seeds are readily available and grow so easily that you will need to thin out the carpet of Ice Plant that will grow. 

Second, you can also use cuttings to propagate an Ice Plant. Gardeners who deal with succulents may be most comfortable and familiar with cuttings for propagation. 

Ice Plants are a great propagation succulent because the cuttings root easier than other succulent varieties.
All you need to do for a cutting is to use a clean pair of scissors or a knife to carefully cut away a stem or stems from the plant. Allow to dry out for up to a week before planting. Again, once planted, the Ice Plant cutting will root quickly and begin to grow faster than most succulents.