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Publication #FPS109

Carpobrotus edulis Ice Plant1

Edward F. Gilman2

Introduction

A common road-side ground cover in California, few test plantings of ice plant have been tried in Florida (Fig. 1). There is at least one planting in Clearwater. Those in California grow nicely in full sun in hot conditions. The plant stays low to the ground or will cascade over a retaining wall. Flowers are produced on a regular basis.

Figure 1. 

Ice plant.


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

General Information

Scientific name: Carpobrotus edulis
Pronunciation: kar-poe-BROE-tus ED-yoo-liss
Common name(s): ice plant
Family: Aizoaceae
Plant type: ground cover
USDA hardiness zones: 7B through 11 (Fig. 2)
Planting month for zone 7: year round
Planting month for zone 8: year round
Planting month for zone 9: year round
Planting month for zone 10 and 11: year round
Origin: not native to North America
Uses: ground cover
Availability: grown in small quantities by a small number of nurseries

Figure 2. 

Shaded area represents potential planting range.


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Description

Height: .5 to 1 feet
Spread: depends upon supporting structure
Plant habit: prostrate (flat); spreading
Plant density: dense
Growth rate: fast
Texture: fine

Foliage

Leaf arrangement: opposite/subopposite
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: entire
Leaf shape: lanceolate
Leaf venation: none, or difficult to see
Leaf type and persistence: evergreen
Leaf blade length: less than 2 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: no fall color change
Fall characteristic: not showy

Flower

Flower color: pink; yellow
Flower characteristic: summer flowering

Fruit

Fruit shape: unknown
Fruit length: unknown
Fruit cover: unknown
Fruit color: unknown
Fruit characteristic: inconspicuous and not showy

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: not applicable
Current year stem/twig color: green
Current year stem/twig thickness: very thick

Culture

Light requirement: plant grows in full sun
Soil tolerances: sand; loam; acidic; loam
Drought tolerance: high
Soil salt tolerances: unknown
Plant spacing: 24 to 36 inches

Other

Roots: not applicable
Winter interest: no special winter interest
Outstanding plant: not particularly outstanding
Invasive potential: aggressive, spreading plant
Pest resistance: very sensitive to one or more pests or diseases which can affect plant health or aesthetics

Use and Management

Ice plants are regularly irrigated in the desert, California climate. However, in Florida, root rot may be the greatest concern in an irrigated landscape. You might try locating it in a place where drainage is exceptionally good (on a sandy ridge) and where irrigation does not reach.

Pests and Diseases

The plant has not been tested well enough in Florida to report on pest or disease problems.

Footnotes

1.

This document is FPS109, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension Department. Original publication date October 1999. Reviewed February 2014. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.