Aptenia cordifolia, now known as Mesembryanthemum cordifolium, is a succulent plant species in the ice plant family. The creeping plants can form a flat growing carpet of perennial herbs.
Table of Contents
Baby sun rose, dew plant, heartleaf ice plant, baby sunrose, heart-leaf iceplant, heart-leaf ice-plant, heart-leaved iceplant, heartleaf iceplant, ice plant, red apple.
Heartleaf Ice Plant: Introduction
Many people consider the baby sun rose an invasive species, as the ice plants take over surrounding vegetation given favorable conditions.
However, the heartleaf ice plant can be a stunning ground cover if you control its growth in a home garden bed. The ice plant family thrives in USDA hardiness zones 9 to 11.
The succulents sport beautiful green foliage and magenta flowers which grow 4 to 6 inches high and spread about 10 inches wide.
The ice plant also makes an attractive container plant in hanging baskets as its beautiful foliage spills over the sides, adorning bookshelves and enhancing the look of any room.
Caring for a Heartleaf Ice Plant
This variety of succulents has creamy-edged creeping leaves that appear fleshy. The rose red or magenta flowers bloom all summer.
These trailing plants add a unique texture to your garden beds and succulent collection and are easy to take care of. The heartleaf ice plant easily grows in shade or full sun outdoors, or you can keep the succulent as a houseplant.
Ensure that you place your ice plant in front of a sunny window and provide adequate watering. It’s a fast-growing plant species that create a dense mat close to the soil surface.
These plants are exceptionally drought resistant and show vigorous growth. The ice plants are succulents that are heat tolerant and suitable for xeriscaping.
The ground cover plants can thrive in various light conditions like full sun, partial shade, and light shade. They are favored for their smooth evergreen foliage and prefer a well-draining soil and alkaline pH soil type.
Growing Patterns of the Beautiful Magenta Flowers
The colorful flowers open in the day when the ice plant is exposed to the full sun. The flowers close in the evening.
The heartleaf ice plant flowers attract pollinators like hummingbirds, butterflies, bees, etc.
These small flowers look beautiful hanging from a basket as they either appear individually along the plant or in clusters at stem ends.
The flowers bloom from late summer through early spring. Later on, these flowers transition into black-brown, four-chambered seeds.
Baby Sun Rose Plant Care Facts
The ice plant prefers excellent drainage and sandy soil type. Plant them in a sunny area of your garden bed and witness how they will overgrow and produce many flowers.
It is recommended to plant the heartleaf ice plant almost 2 to 3 feet apart from each other because the plants have plenty of space to grow.
Feed the plant with a balanced fertilizer in a moderate amount so that the plant doesn’t take over the whole garden bed.
Avoid overwatering the ice plant as it is susceptible to root rot. The ice plant family needs regular pruning or trimming to limit its growth or to encourage blooming.
Ice Plant Growth and Care
The perennial ice plant can be planted in their growing season, starting from spring and lasting through fall.
Use a spade to break the existing soil and add organic matter such as peat moss, compost, and manure. The ice plants prefer loose soil, which is easy to work with.
You can further add a slow-release fertilizer that will encourage blooming.
To remove your ice plants from their containers, gently hold the plant base and tip it sideways so the soil loosens up. Continue to tap the container until the whole plant pulls out easily.
Plant the aptenia cordifolia root ball in the ground at the same level as the surrounding soil.
Ensure that you loosen the plant roots to prevent root-bound and then fill the soil in the surrounding space to cover the plant hole.
Water your plant daily for a couple of weeks to ensure the new plants establish properly.
The aptenia cordifolia requires regular watering and moist areas to thrive.
The succulents can hold water in their fleshy leaves, which is why they require consistent watering.
The new plants require daily watering, but afterward, you should taper and adjust the watering schedule according to the weather conditions and soil type.
Usually, the baby sunrose requires water application to the sandy soil around the base of the plant roots. A sprinkler or soaker hose is feasible to provide controlled watering.
Ensure that the soil is completely dry between watering. The moist and waterlogged conditions can attract fungal disease and root rot, eventually leading to the plant’s death.
It is better to water the plant deeply until the soil is drenched to a depth of 6 inches. Excellent drainage is essential for the plant to survive.
Aptenia cordifolia grows well in full sun, but succulents can also survive in partial shade. However, the plant blooms less when planted in the shade.
Ice plants are attractive succulents that cannot survive in freezing temperatures. Keep them as indoor plants, and they will do well year-round.
The aptenia cordifolia thrives in hanging pots at room temperature. If your indoor spaces maintain a temperature range between 50 to 70F, the ice plant wouldn’t have any trouble growing properly.
However, when planted outdoors where temperatures drop below 40F, then there are chances that your heartleaf ice plant might not survive.
The heart-shaped leaves are thick and fleshy and don’t need additional humidity for their healthy appearance.
Ice plants are susceptible to root rot and other fungal diseases, and these issues have a high chance of occurrence when the plant is located in moist areas.
The organic ingredients in well-draining soil can provide the ice plant with many essential nutrients. Excellent drainage also attracts earthworms that keep the succulent soil healthy.
Manure provides essential nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus for plant growth. It is an excellent source of organic matter.
Garden compost balances soil density and helps loosen the soil so that the plant develops healthier roots.
Peat moss holds sufficient moisture for the succulents to enable them to survive in periods of drought. The moss holds nutrients and moisture and makes them available to the plant.
You can incorporate fertilizer into the plant soil as you prepare garden beds for the plantation of the heartleaf ice plant.
Feeding the established and mature plants in early spring and then halfway through their growing season is recommended.
Early frost and freezing temperatures can damage new growth, so you must not apply fertilizers late in the growing season.
Usually, slow-release fertilizer is a low-maintenance solution for feeding the ice plant. However, you can use granulated or balanced liquid fertilizer according to the application method and specific plant nutrient requirements.
Fertilizers encourage blooming, but too much fertilizer application is not beneficial for the plant. Reduce the need for frequent fertilizing by using mulch, as it improves soil condition, breaks down, and makes nutrients available for the plant as needed.
Pruning Baby Sun Rose Requirements
The pruning and pinching of the baby sunrose depend on the plant’s number of blooms.
Snip off the dead blooms or wait to remove the flower stalk entirely until the growing season is over.
Considering removing damaged or dead parts of your plant will save the plant’s energy and channel it towards new growth. The plant can focus on producing more foliage rather than seeds.
You can also remove dead, damaged, or discolored leaves to maintain the plant’s size and shape.
When pruning the heartleaf ice plant, ensure that you do not accidentally snip off new growth. Similarly, you should hold back on pruning during winter as it encourages blooms and new foliage growth, which can be damaged easily by freezing temperatures.
The easiest method for the propagation of heartleaf ice plants is through stem cuttings.
It is encouraged to obtain stem cuttings during the growing season so the new plants will have a better chance to establish and grow properly.
Use clean shears to make an incision on the parent plant, and obtain three to four inches long stem cuttings.
Then remove the leaves from the stems and allow them to air dry before planting them in fresh potting.
Fill new containers with suitable soil and water them thoroughly, allowing excess water to drain through the drainage holes.
Then place the stem cuttings into the soil, and water them again. Ensure that the new plants do not sit in water for long periods.
Place the containers in a warm and dry room with plenty of sunlight, and continue watering the plants until they are in their new containers.
The ice plants are beautiful additions to your garden beds or hanging baskets. They are easy to maintain and produce vibrant flowers given proper light and water to the plant.
If you are ensuring the controlled and proper growth of this plant, the heartleaf ice plants will reward you by producing beautiful and thick leaves with flowers that will attract many pollinators to your house.