Ice plant

jezzaduApril 24, 2006

I would like to put Ice Plant as a ground cover on the slope at the back of my yard. The type of Ice Plant I want is found all over Southern California. It is growing rampantly at the sides of roads, on cliffsides, and in sand on the beach! I don't know the proper name of this variety of ice plant but I have seen the same looking plant in two varieties, one with yellow flowers and one with purple flowers.

I have been to several nurseries and several Home Depots, OSHs and Do-It Centers, but nobody stocks this type of Ice Plant.

Does anyone know what it's correct name is, and/or any suppliers of this variety?

Thanks a lot in advance.


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I urge you NOT to use ice plant - there are other plants much better suited to your needs. Here's some information about the problems it causes, and some good substitutes, from an article in the monthly newsletter of the San Diego Horticultural Society:

Years ago, Freeway iceplant (Carpobrotus edulis) was touted as the perfect solution for fire safety. Planted on hillsides of thousands of homes in San Diego, it has since crawled off the original site and into neighboring Open Space parks, endangering unique plants by smothering them. Iceplant provides little habitat value compared to the plant community that it is replacing because it has very shallow roots that do not hold soil well. Close inspection often reveals gullies underneath the twisted mat of vines. After rain iceplant engorges with water, substantially increasing its weight. As a result iceplant can cause the deterioration of steep hillsides by encouraging slumping  potentially endangering the house above.

What can I plant instead? There are many non-invasive groundcovers that are readily available. Here are a few: Wall Germander (Teucrium chamaedrys, T. lucidrys), San Diego marsh elder (Iva hayesiana), Ivy Geranium (Pelargonium peltatum), Elija Blue Fescue (Festuca cinera ÂElijaÂ), Dogbane (Plectranthus foetidus ÂLois WoodhullÂ), Wild Lilac cultivars (Ceanothus spp.), and Manzanita cultivars (Arctostaphylos spp.).
The following are also INVASIVE groundcovers very similar to Iceplant and should also be avoided: Red Apple (Aptenia cordifolia), and Crystalline Iceplant (Mesembryanthemum crystallinum).

Here is a link that might be useful: San Diego Horticultural Society

    Bookmark   April 24, 2006 at 4:20PM
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Thanks for the response Susi. I appreciate your input greatly. I had no idea that ice plant did not hold the soil together well. I had been told the total opposite. I was mainly recommended Ice plant because of its fire retardant qualities. I will look up the plants your article recommends. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2006 at 5:09PM
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Just a note that there are many other plants with the common name "ice plant" that do very well in the erosion control department, namely Lampranthus spectabilis, which I've had in my yard for many years. :)

I have a white one, as well as this pink hotty. One flat of plants covered quickly, yet not invasively. But this is not your typical coastal "ice plant".


    Bookmark   April 25, 2006 at 12:24PM
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I would love some Ice plants....and yes the succulent type..with big triangle leaves. I lived in Monterey and it grew all over the place...what some people in different parts of the world think this is a junk plant, other parts like it....believe it or not... it freezes in zone 8...I would have to take starts and put them in my greenhouse for the next year......SO can anyone get me some?

    Bookmark   August 19, 2008 at 1:49AM
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