Ice Plant (Sea Fig)

Carpobrotus chilensis

Succulent ice plant - with bright fuschia flowers adorning the short, finger-like foliage - is the perfect groundcover in sunny areas where irrigation is a problem.

ice plant flowers

The showy blooms, looking like a desert wildflower or strawflower, appear during warm months - usually summer through fall

There seems to be some confusion over the this plant's common name, which is used for other succulents mainly grown on the West Coast of the U.S.

Another common name for carpobrotus chilensis is "Sea Fig" though "ice plant" is the name usually provided for this plant by South Florida nurseries.

These drought tolerant groundcovers are low growing and easy care. The only thing they require is good amount of sunlight and watering during dry spells.

They work well surrounding other plants that like it on the dry side and will fill in nicely around landscape boulders. Another use is along the roadside where nothing else wants to grow...and irrigation isn't available.

It may take some time for the plants to completely fill an area but once they do they'll form a beautiful mat of greenery highlighted by the pretty purple flowers with yellow centers.

Another groundcover called hardy ice plant (Delosperma cooperi) looks a lot like moss rose portulaca and is cold hardy.

Plant specs

These plants do best in a full to part sun location. They prefer the warmth of Zone 10.

Hugging the ground, the plant rarely grows more than about 6 inches tall. Its growth rate is moderate.

A well-drained location is an absolute must.

Plant care

Add composted cow manure to the hole when you plant.

No trimming is necessary other than to edge the area as needed to keep it looking neat.

Water on a regular basis but you must let the area dry out between waterings. Too wet soil is this plant's worst enemy.

Fertilize twice a year - in spring and late summer - with a good quality controlled release fertilizer.

Plant spacing

Place plants about 2 feet apart. Come in from walks and drives at least 2 feet.

This plant will grow in a container but it does best in the ground.

A.K.A. (also known as): Sea Fig


COMPANION PLANT SUGGESTIONS: Use with other drought tolerant things like dwarf clusia, crown of thorns, desert rose, bougainvillea tree, Green Island ficus and muhly grass.

Other groundcovers you might like: Baby Sun Rose, Sunshine Mimosa

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