En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
3 ratings

Friday - August 15, 2008

From: Buchanan, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Winter care for non-native ice plant in Virginia
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have an ice plant in my garden and it is doing very well. What would be the care for winter. Ground seldom freezes, temperatures mostly 20 but can get in single digit occasionally. Very little snow and seldom lasts more than a few days

ANSWER:

We're going to name this one "The Great Ice Plant Mystery." We've heard of ice plants for years, knew they were succulents, were pretty sure they were non-native to North America, and that's about it. So, when we went looking for websites on ice plant, we had three different genus names pop up. The first one is Lampranthus, the second is Delosperma cooperi and the third is Corpobrotus chilensis or edulis. We looked at pictures of them-all very similar, with similar pinky-purple flowers, and chubby succulent leaves. We looked at descriptions-all said to be members of the Alizaceae or fig-marigold family, and all natives of South Africa. We even looked at the USDA Plant Profiles for them-they all seem to be growing only in California, or California and Washington State, or California and Florida. And in California, they are considered a noxious weed, taking over the native plant life of sand dunes, and gardeners are advised not to plant them in Zones 7-10, where they could be expected to become invasive.

So, we decided to pick one, Lampranthus, and found this Botany.com website which seems to have the best all-round information. Buchanan, in west central Virginia, appears to be in USDA Hardiness Zone 7a, with minimum average temperatures of 5 deg to 0 deg. According to the information we found, while intense and prolonged frost can cause damage, the plant will recover vigorously in the Spring. It does, however, need excellent drainage, lean soil and can tolerate considerable drought. We found one gardening forum which said ice plants grow in several places in Virginia, and it should grow in your garden, too.

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the use and propagation of plants native to North America and to the area in which they are being grown. We also wish to be on guard against invasive plants, native or non-native. While this plant is considered invasive on sandy beaches in California, you probably do not have the favorable temperatures or soil to permit the ice plant to be invasive in Virginia.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Plants not native to North America in Hawaii
February 18, 2009 - Do not know if you have any experience for Hawaii but here it goes. I live on Maui and have some coco palms, a line of 12, two of them right next to each other (15-20 ft). They are a decent shade of ...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Japanese red maple exposed to full sun
August 16, 2008 - I planted a Dwarf Japanese Red Maple tree about 3 yrs ago. Until about a month ago it was partially shaded by a massive chestnut tree, that has since been cut down. Now the new growth on my tree appea...
view the full question and answer

Tree roots under concrete from Ft. Worth TX
February 10, 2013 - We bought a house that has 2 trees (I believe ornamental pear trees) within a concrete patio. I found info that said basically, remove the concrete. We can't do that now (although I have encouraged...
view the full question and answer

Tentative identification of non-native Senecio rowleyanus
April 19, 2008 - I am trying to track down a plant that I used to have but do not know what it is called. It grew in long strings of "pea like" balls. When planted in a hanging pot, the stringy "pea" like vines ...
view the full question and answer

Mulching vegetables with straw
June 13, 2007 - I have a small garden with 4 different veggies, tomatoes, hot peppers, squash & cucumbers. which plants is it OK to put straw under? which plants will straw hurt the stalks or other possibilities? tha...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center