Drosanthemum floribundum – rosea ice plant – is a low-growing succulent suitable for ground cover, hanging baskets, or small pots.
It’s an undemanding little plant that belongs to the Drosanthemum genus, known as Mesembryanthemum.
These plants belong to the Aizoaceae family and come from the dry, arid regions of Southern Africa.
Drosanthemum floribundum is pronounced [dros-ANTH-eh-mum flor-ih-BUN-dum] but you’re more likely to see it labeled using one of the following common names:
- Pale dew plant
- Rosea ice plant
- Ice plant
One of the best features of these succulent ice plant varieties is that these small, daisy-like flowers open during the day under the sun and close when the sun goes away.
Rosea Ice Plant Care
Size and Growth
Drosanthemum floribundum is a ground-hugging succulent that produces stubby, green succulent leaves.
The cylindrical leaves rarely reach more than four to six inches in height. While it doesn’t get very tall, the root system allows the plant to spread several feet across, making it suitable for ground cover.
Flowering and Fragrance
Mature plants produce small pink flowers between July and August while new plants may flower between April and October. As the plant ages, it produces fewer flowers.
The flowers resemble small daisies and don’t produce a fragrance. When the plant is exposed to bright sunlight, the flowers open. When the sunlight goes away, the flowers close.
The opening and closing of the flowers acts as an indicator of the weather. During cloudy or overcast days, the flowers tend to remain closed.
Light and Temperature
The plant is winter hardy in USDA hardiness zones 9 to 12, where it can be grown outdoors in the right soil. Outside of these zones, people tend to grow it in containers or hanging baskets.
Set it outdoors during the warmer months and bring it inside during the winter. The outdoor air and sunlight are good for the plant but it will not survive freezing temperatures in the winter.
During the winter months, the plant prefers cooler temperatures but never below the upper 50s.
To encourage flowering, the ice plant needs plenty of sunlight. Keep it near a window that gets sunlight throughout the day when placed indoors. Outdoors, full sun to partial sun is recommended.
Watering and Feeding
Water the plant regularly, ensuring that soil remains moist but not soggy. Feed the plant throughout the warmer months and not at all during the winter.
Soil and Transplanting
The ice plant grows well in sandy potting soil but requires fast drainage toward the bottom of the pot.
To create the right conditions, add pebbles to the bottom third of the soil and then top with the sandy potting soil.
Older plants should be transplanted each year with fresh soil. During the first couple of years, transplanting is only needed if the plant outgrows its home.
Always transplant in the spring, just before the warmer weather comes.
Maintenance & Grooming
Remove withered leaves and flowers to promote new growth.
Other varieties of “Ice Plants”
- Midday Flower – Lampranthus blandus
- Pink Ice Plant Succulent – Oscularia Deltoides
- Succulent Sea Fig – Carpobrotus Chilensis
- Carpobrotus Edulis – Hottentot Fig
Propagating Drosanthemum Rosea Floribundum
Propagate the ice plant from cuttings or seeds. Sow seeds in April using the following steps:
- Add regular potting soil with sand to small pots.
- Scatter the seeds on top of the soil but don’t cover them.
- Place a sheet of plastic or glass over the pots.
- Moisten the soil and set in a warm spot.
- Germination typically takes about two to three weeks.
- When the seedlings appear and become firm, transplant them to their own containers.
After sowing in April, the young plants should be ready for transplanting by June. Place them in a bright window.
To propagate from cuttings, take cuttings in August. Use sandy soil with fast drainage in propagating boxes or small pots.
The cuttings will grow best when placed over a heat source. If this is not possible, ensure that they get plenty of sunlight and are kept in a warm spot.
The young plants should be kept at about 50 degrees to 55 degrees Fahrenheit during the first winter.
Drosanthemum Floribundum Pests or Diseases
Pests are rarely a problem for the ice plant. If aphids, mealy bugs, or other critters infest the plant, use an insecticide to treat the infestation. When moving the plant indoors, always check for insects.
Soft patches or dark brown spots indicate that the base of the plant is receiving too much moisture. Allow the soil to dry out between watering and add pebbles or stones to the bottom of the soil.
Cut away the soft or dark brown patches and lightly dust the plant with a fungicide.
Suggested Drosanthemum Ice Plant Uses
This decorative succulent helps brighten any space during the flowering season. It looks great by itself or paired with less colorful succulents.
In warm regions where there is no threat of frost, the ice plant is a good choice for adding a ground cover. It adds color to desert landscapes such as the American Southwest.