A native of the coastal plains of South Africa, red apple ice plant, (Aptenia cordifolia) will form low clumps of dark green leaves and from spring until fall will produce bright reddish-purple daisylike flowers. Red apple ice plant is an effective low-maintenance ground cover and can spread out as far as 2 feet. Hardy to temperatures as low as 23 degrees Fahrenheit, red apple ice plant is also heat-tolerant, but will benefit from an occasional drink of water during hot, dry weather.
Plant red apple ice plant where it will be in afternoon shade and morning sunlight if you live in a hot desert climate. Otherwise, plant red apple ice plant in full sunlight.
Keep the soil moist while the red apple ice plant is young. Once the plant shows new growth, the roots are established, and watering can be reduced to a light watering twice a week during hot summer weather. Like all succulents, red apple ice plants can rot in soggy soil.
Fertilize red apple ice plant once a year, in early spring, using a diluted liquid fertilizer formulated for cactus and succulents, as ice plants are light feeders. Apply the cactus and succulent fertilizer according to the package directions but dilute the fertilizer to one-quarter strength.
Divide red apple ice plant when the plant looks crowded or begins to outgrow its boundaries. Dig up the plant with a garden fork, then pull the plant apart into smaller sections with your fingers, making sure every section has several roots. Discard any weak or dead areas or sections with brown or rotted roots. Plant the divided red apple ice plant in well-drained soil.
Things You Will Need
- Liquid fertilizer for cactus and succulents
- Garden fork