|The common name Ice Plant is shared by other plant groups worldwide, but this group includes the succulent ground cover familiar to West Coast travelers and beachgoers. Its asterlike, satiny blossoms come in purples, reds and magentas so brilliant they seem fluorescent. The trailing, fleshy stems and 3-sided leaves form a thick mat, good for stabilizing sandy banks and hillsides as long as the slope is gentle. If too steep, the plant's water-logged weight will pull out its roots. The botanical name comes from the Greek word karpos, for fruit, and brota, for edible. Some species, such as the Hottentot Fig (Carpobrotus edulis), bear edible -- but not always tasty -- fruit. Start a new planting with pint- to quart-size container plants, 16 to 24 inches apart. Must have full sun and good drainage. Very drought-tolerant once established, but likes occasional thorough watering. Patches may die back if it gets too little water or nitrogen during the growing season. Moderately fire-retardant. Propogate with stem cuttings in spring or fall. Susceptible to scale. Escaped from gardens, ice plant can naturalize and be tough to get rid of.
This West Coast native is beautiful when planted so stems trail down a vertical wall or sunny bank. Rosy purple, 2-inch flowers bloom throughout the summer.
Attributes - Carpobrotus chilensis
Plant Type: Ground Cover
Bloom Season: Early Summer through Early Fall
Flower Color: Purple
Height: 6 in. to 1 ft.
Width: 3 ft.
Sunlight: Full Sun
Climate: Zones 9, 10
Notes: Thrives in Dry Climates. Drought Tolerant, Long Blooming, Low Maintenance, Showy Flowers. Susceptible to Scales.