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In the natural landscapes of South Africa and other African countries, the ice plant (Delosperma) occurs in rocky altitudes, where the plant can usually cope with severe drought. When cared for in the garden, the winter suitability of the midday flowers depends on the species and the site conditions.

Waterlogging means death for ice plants, especially in winter

Basic site conditions for midday flowers

Apart from the fact that there are species of ice plant with better or worse hibernation ability, various location factors play an important role when it comes to hibernating outdoors. Ice plants of the genus Delosperma love locations that are as full of sun as possible, where good water drainage through the substrate must be guaranteed. Even for Delosperma species that tolerate sub-zero temperatures outdoors, permanent winter moisture in the soil can mean a death sentence due to the susceptibility of the ice flowers to rot.

Hardy Ice Plant Varieties

While ice plant varieties that grow relatively tall can sometimes only be overwintered outdoors in mild wine-growing locations, the following species in this country can usually be brought through the winter relatively well in the garden:

  • Delosperma Red Fire
  • Delosperma Indian Summer
  • Delosperma Fire Spinner
  • Delosperma African Queen
  • Delosperma Golden Nugget

So-called frosts or a substrate that is too wet can have a harmful effect on ice plants. For this reason, you should only plant ice plants in locations where good water drainage is guaranteed by the addition of sand and gravel to the soil. On the other hand, you can also protect the midday flowers from too much winter moisture from above with an appropriate cover fleece.

Insufficiently hardy ice plant varieties overwinter

Cold-sensitive and short-lived ice plant varieties can sometimes still be saved until the next growing season if they are grown in a container. Before the first night frosts in autumn, place the plants in a bright room where the winter temperatures should not rise significantly above 5 degrees Celsius. Since ice plants often reproduce and multiply by self-seeding in one location, you can also try your luck outdoors with plants that are not frost-resistant and hope for young seedlings to grow up in the spring if the mother plant dies.

Plant out self-grown young plants early

If you have successfully grown ice plant young plants from cuttings or seeds yourself, you should plant them outdoors as soon as possible after the last night frosts in spring. The sooner the plants can grow in a suitable location, the more extensively you can spread your carpet of flowers during the flowering period and the better the chances for a successful overwintering outdoors.


If ice plants die off over the winter, it is usually not a too cold climate at the location that is to blame, but too much moisture. Since ice plants absolutely do not tolerate prolonged moisture, they must be protected from the rainwater when it rains more than snows over the winter. If the substrate around the ice plants is covered with a layer of gravel when they are planted, the soil will dry out more quickly after periods of rain than if the plant pads were laid on humus-rich soil.

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