Creeping Shrubby Ice Plant

Creeping Shrubby Ice Plant
Plant Type
Sunlight Amount
Creeping Shrubby Ice Plant Ruschia pulvinaris
Creeping Shrubby Ice Plant Ruschia pulvinaris
Creeping Shrubby Ice Plant

A gem for gardens blessed with fast-draining soil, creeping shrubby ice plant forms a soft, cool mat of evergreen foliage and fuchsia-pink flowers for three to four weeks in late spring. This perennial gets its name from its shimmering flowers and leaves—which look as though they’re covered in frost—not from being cold hardy.

This easy-to-grow perennial is especially welcome in low-water gardens, because it provides a mass of welcome color and is exceptionally drought-tolerant thanks to its succulent stems. Be sure to plant creeping shrubby ice plant near the front of the garden where you can enjoy its blooms. When not in bloom, the low-growing perennial’s short stems and succulent foliage present a neat and tidy appearance. Resistance to deer and rabbits makes it an excellent choice for gardens that are plundered by these pests.

genus name
  • Ruschia pulvinaris
  • Sun
plant type
  • Under 6 inches
  • 12 inches
flower color
foliage color
season features
problem solvers
special features
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10

Planting Partners for Creeping Shrubby Ice Plant

Plant creeping shrubby ice plant with other low-water perennials for a garden that shines during extended dry periods. Particularly well suited for rock gardens, creeping shrubby ice plant's fleshy stems and bright pink springtime flowers add unique texture and color to rocky landscapes. It is also a wonderful perennial for blanketing the ground around other low-water perennials and shrubs. Plant it as a living mulch where it will discourage weeds and its fuchsia-pink blooms will invite pollinators. Great groundcover planting partners include bishop's weed (Aegopodium variegatum), two row stonecrop (Sedum spurium), creeping thyme (Thymus species), blue wooly speedwell (Veronica pectinate), and periwinkle (Vinca major).

Growing Creeping Shrubby Ice Plant

Plant creeping shrubby ice plant in full sun and well-drained soil (its roots will rot if planted in heavy clay). Although this plant tolerates part shade, it will grow and bloom best in full sun. This long-lived, ground-hugging plant grows well in sandy or gravely soil.

In Zones 7–10, creeping shrubby ice plant can be planted in spring or fall. In Zone 6, plant it in spring to ensure it is fully established before cold winter temperatures set in. Water plants well after planting and continue watering plants every couple of weeks during the first growing season to encourage a strong root system. Cease watering after the first growing season. Spread a layer of shredded bark mulch or small gravel around plants after planting to help conserve soil moisture and prevent weeds. Creeping shrubby ice plant requires no annual maintenance. Simply enjoy its spring flowers and cut it back as needed if it begins to grow into nearby plants.

You can propagate this plant by dividing it in the spring, with cuttings (take them anytime spring through fall), or by planting seeds. When sowing the seeds, simply scatter them on the soil surface. They need light to germinate, so do not cover them with soil.

Plant Creeping Shrubby Ice Plant With:

Claret Cup Cactus, Echinocereus triglochidiatus
  • zones: 9, 10
  • light: Sun
  • flower color: Red, Orange
  • foliage color: Blue/Green
  • plant type: Perennial
  • height: 1 to 3 feet
  • season features: Spring Bloom
  • special features: Low Maintenance, Good for Containers
  • problem solvers: Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant

Light up the desert garden with the huge, showy flowers of claret cup cactus. Deep orange, nearly scarlet blossoms open in late spring on top of short, stout succulent stems. The papery petals offer delicate beauty atop the spiny stems and last for weeks. This easy-to-grow cactus is very heat-tolerant and generally begins blooming three to four years after planting. Punctuate a dryland garden with swaths of three to five claret cup cacti.This plant is native to areas of the North American Southwest.

Pine Muhly, Muhlenbergia species
  • zones: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
  • light: Part Sun, Sun
  • flower color: Pink
  • foliage color: Blue/Green
  • plant type: Perennial
  • height: 1 to 3 feet
  • season features: Fall Bloom, Summer Bloom, Colorful Fall Foliage, Winter Interest
  • special features: Low Maintenance, Good for Containers
  • problem solvers: Deer Resistant, Groundcover, Slope/Erosion Control

Most muhlygrasses are high on drama, offering their beautiful floral display to dryland gardens. They have a soft, airy appearance that is welcome among agaves and other rough-texture plants that permeate low-water gardens. Pine muhly, in particular, grows best in fast-draining soil that is low in nutrients -- a sandy soil is perfect. Avoid heavy clay and wet locations.

A yucca in bloom is a showstopper. It produces imposing spires of large, bird-attracting white flowers in summer and fall. The evergreen rosettes of stiff, sharply pointed leaves, often variegated with cream or white, are striking. Use them to punctuate the end of a walkway, mass them as a barrier, or plant them as accents throughout the border. Be careful not to site them away from paths or other places people could be scratched by their sharp leaves. Free-draining soil and sun is all yuccas require.This plant is also sometimes called Hesperoyucca.