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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.
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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.