The ice plant, or Carpobrotus chilensis, is a thick low growing groundcover that grows well and hardily in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 9 and 10. The ice plant is thought to be lightly invasive due to its fast growth, so care must be taken when planting the ice plant to select a location where extensive groundcover is desired, or to have plants in place for regular routine pruning and maintenance. The ice plant originally hails from South African and in the summer season it will produce large lovely purple flowers up to two inches in diameter. The ice plant is actually a succulent, which means it tolerates drought conditions extremely well and can be grown successfully even in conditions where watering is not possible and across the south and southwest where heat is often severe. The ice plant is also a great choice to help control erosion or on hard to landscape spaces such as sloping surfaces and banks.
The ice plant does require good soil drainage and thrives best in warm weather and sunlight conditions such as those found across the southern portions of the United States.
The ice plant will rarely top five inches in height at maturity and can spread up to two feet per plant. Be sure to leave at least two feet per planting to allow for full mature spread. Ice plant is most often installed from young established plants, and should be planted with the root crown, the base where the stem and roots meet, just barely showing above the soil surface. Water the ice plant thoroughly after planting and continue to water as needed while the young plants are establishing themselves. This process can take up to a month and a half and then new plants will require increasingly less maintenance.