I’ve always wondered about the common name for Ice plant. Its leaves are green and its flowers are either hot pink (Delosperma cooperi) or bright orange-yellow (Delosperma nubigenum). The D. nubigenum is also known as hardy ice plant because it will perennialize up to USDA Zone 5 while D. cooperi is only hardy to zone 7.
Most ice plants bloom in the spring and then remain a favorite in a gardener’s eye even after the flowers pass, because of the spiky green foliage. It does not brown up, unless of course you plant it in poor draining clay. It makes a low growing groundcover in tough situations.
Growing ice plant (Delosperma) in my clay soil has always been a bit of a problem, even when I plant it in sunny, hot, dry spots. So, when I spotted this succulent newcomer at a greenhouse last spring, I decided to try it in a pot. I cut the soil with bark to give it extra good drainage and set it out on the hot deck.
The plant, Livingstone ‘Daisy Mezoo’ Trailing Red (Dorotheanthus bellidiformis ‘Daisy Mezoo’) is a succulent with much the same flower form as the ice plant, but the flowers are red and occur on light green leaves with creamy white margins. The foliage alone is reason enough to grow this plant. It has a wonderful cool look, even when the bright flowers are floating atop the variegated foliage. It has survived the summer sun and has bloomed off and on all summer long.
Livingstone ‘Daisy Mezoo’ is a tender perennial. It will survive in the ground as a groundcover in USDA Zones 9-10. In colder regions, either grow it as an annual or move it indoors and grow it as a houseplant until your garden heats up again next spring.
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Spring ephemerals are some of the first plants to flower in the early spring long before most trees leaf out. They tend not to like the heat and will quickly disappear if temperatures get above 80 degrees. Spring ephemerals leaf out, bloom, go to seed, spread themselves about and then enter dormancy; they don't really die. All this happens in a two-month period, making them some of the most efficient of the flowering plants. That is what makes these plants so very special.
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