A number of plant that are commonly referred to as ice plants, were once grouped together under the genus Mesembryanthemum. However, some of these plants have since been reclassified into several genera, leaving many different plant species sharing the name “ice plant.” Under the new categorization, the term ice plant may refer to species in the Drosanthemum, Delosperma, Cephalophyllum, Lampranthus and Carpobrotus genera. The plants in the Carpobrotus genus are actually considered to be invasive in some places and are best avoided. The other genera of this low-growing plant all grow well in full sun and also in moist soil. Most ice plants actually grow well in USDA plant hardiness zones nine through eleven. Plants in the hardy Delosperma genus grow in USDA plant hardiness zones five through eleven.


How to Grow Ice Plant from Seed

1.    Start by filling your small plastic pots or your seed-starting tray with sterile, well-drained potting soil, leaving about ¼ inch between the soil and the top of the tray. Also, top the soil with a thin layer of fine gravel. Make sure the gravel pieces are about the size of BB's.


2.    The ice plant seeds should be sprinkle onto the gravel 4 to 6 weeks before the last expected frost. Gently tamp the ice plant seeds down into the gravel so that they are touching the soil but are not covered. Light must reach the ice plant seeds or they may not germinate.


3.    You need to water the newly planted ice plant seeds by gently misting them with a spray bottle or by placing the seed tray in a shallow pan of water for about fifteen minutes. You have continue watering the ice plant seeds as needed until they germinate. Provide enough water to keep the ice plant seeds moist but not wet or soggy.


4.    Ensure you place the ice plant seeds indoors where it can be exposed to plenty of light and temperatures above sixty degrees Fahrenheit.


5.    Harden off the ice plant seedlings before transplanting them into the garden by placing them outside for some hours a day. You can gradually increase the number of hours the plants spend outside each day over a period of about ten to fourteen days to acclimate them to outdoor conditions.


6.    You can easily transplant the ice plant seedlings into their outdoor flower beds after they have been hardened off and all danger of frost has passed. Plant the ice plant seedlings in full sun, spacing them about twelve to eighteen inches apart. Varieties like Lampranthus can be planted closer together and they need only ten inches of space.

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