portulaca and ice plants problems

ptpixJuly 23, 2011

I took y'all's advice about heat and drought resistant plants and used portulaca and ice-plants as a border on a far off planting bed. they were doing awesome! I mean, really wonderful, as are the agasthache and the other suggestions I received from this forum.

my problem is this - almost over night the portulaca and ice plants were gone, either cut or nibbled to the dirt! I doubt ( hope ) noone would cut them. The bed is bordering the road and it gets a lot of foot traffic, but it almost looks like a weed whacker was taken to them. the other plants have not been touched so i doubt it was vandals as they would have jacked up all the plants.

so, what would do it, deer? squirrels?

They are growing back, but it looks like they get nibbled back down as soon as they get any length to them. like an inch!


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Deer, rabbits and squirrels will all eat them down to the nub. Often it is a seasonal thing - like they only go for them when everything else is dry and crispy.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 9:06AM
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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

They'll come back. What you might try is creating a low cage of wirecloth to box in the plants. They'll grow right through it so make it tall and wide enough so what the critters can't reach has room to bloom.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 11:31PM
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Thanks! I was thinking of 'caging' them. I still might! I figure it is deer.


    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 5:48PM
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Interesting since I have a very large deer herd (there are 4 new fawns this year) that literally sleep beside my garden every night. My ice plant has never been touched since planting it in 2005. The deer are hungry right now due to the high heat and drought, so I suppose it might be deer but it just isn't something that has ever gotten nibbled here. I also have a lot of rabbits, even a baby rabbit that bonded to me and follows me around the garden. She hasn't touched the ice plant.

Portulaca is a different story -- everything eats it!


    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 10:35PM
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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

We have the deer herd also,Cameron , supplemented this year by an explosion in the cottontail population. Could be because the fox families have moved and the barred owls have been run off by the great horned variety that like a larger territory for just one breeding pair.

At any rate, I have lots of beds of ice plant and it is fine. It's the purslane that got decimated repeatedly until I just carved up some Irish Spring soap and spread it around. In prepared beds with loosened soil the fawns would grab hold and just pull the plants out of the ground. A couple of nibbles and they'd walk away. Constantly replanting these same plants.
But the soap chips really helped and Irish Spring is really scented..don't store it where you have food in cartons or the scent will get in that stuff too.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2011 at 11:22AM
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coorscat(6 and 9)

I was at my mother's house in Texas and the birds had destroyed her ice plants, portulaca and moss roses. I didn't believe the the birds were eating them, but sure enough they were!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 3:02PM
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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

Does she have an alternative water source for the critters?
All the succulents are sources of moisture.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2011 at 10:16AM
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Cameron... the baby rabbit bonded with you and follows you around? OMG, that's amazing!! Did you feed it anything special or does it just "like you"... :0)


    Bookmark   August 10, 2011 at 9:27PM
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