The Complete Guide for Hardy Ice Plant (Delosperma Cooperi) Care

The Hardy Ice Plant, otherwise known as the Delosperma Cooperi or Ice Plant, Hardy Ice Plant, is a rather well known cactus/succulent plant by gardening enthusiasts around the world.

Best known for its low maintenance and moderate growth, this cactus/succulent will likely liven up your house (or garden) with its gray-green colored leaves. But, only if you learn how to take proper care of it for it to thrive.

Fortunately, taking care of your Hardy Ice Plant is not too difficult – as long as you follow our guidelines in this Hardy Ice Plant Care Guide. Now let’s get started.

In order to take proper care of your Hardy Ice Plant you’ll need to keep in mind the following guidelines:

  • Water: The Hardy Ice Plant needs at least weekly watering, or more in extreme heat, preferably with regular water.
  • Light: Keep your Delosperma Cooperi in an environment where it can receive full sun on a daily basis. 
  • Soil: Make sure to keep the Hardy Ice Plant in soil with well-draining properties, so ideally, one that is made of sand.

That’s it – sunlight, water and soil! The basic 3 fundamentals for all plant care, and with the Hardy Ice Plant this is no exception. With these three elements, your leafy friend will live healthy and happy.

Hardy Ice Plant flowers

Scientific / Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the Hardy Ice Plant belongs to the Aizoaceae family, the genus Delosperma and the species Cooperi, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Delosperma Cooperi (del-oh-SPUR-muh koo-PER-ee).

As with other Delosperma’s, the Hardy Ice Plant is an evergreen plant, which means it will be present year round in your garden.

Growing Region

The Hardy Ice PlantSouthern Africa.

As a rule of thumb, we recommend to always keep in mind your plants’ native region and environment, since these are the conditions that your Hardy Ice Plant is most accustomed to, thus where it can most favorably.

With this in mind, the Delosperma Cooperi will be most used to the heat zones in the 8 – 10 region, as the plant hardiness level falls between 6a, 6b, 7b, 7a, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10b, 10a and the ideal climate zone is between 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24.

Growth and Size


In terms of size and growth, the Hardy Ice Plant is a relatively moderate grower, which makes things somewhat easy for any plant enthusiast.


But, how big does the Hardy Ice Plant actually get? What should you expect in terms of size? Let’s dive right in…

The Delosperma Cooperi can grow up to 3″ – 6″ (7cm – 15cm) in 3″ – 6″ (7cm – 15cm) and 1′ – 2′ (30cm – 60cm) in 1′ – 2′ (30cm – 60cm). 

These dimensions make the Hardy Ice Plant a relatively medium cactus/succulent compared to others, so it’s best to keep this fact in mind since it will affect where you want to keep yours at home.

This is why experts recommend keeping an area of approximately 24″ (60cm) free so the Hardy Ice Plant can spread to its best extent.


In terms of watering, the Hardy Ice Plant is a fairly simple plant to take care of.

This is mostly because it has a straightforward watering schedule and somewhat regular watering needs.

Specifically, most experts agree that the Delosperma Cooperi needs at least weekly watering, or more in extreme heat, preferably with regular water.

Which is why it is considered a plant with relatively low needs in terms of water. 

Hardy Ice Plant new buds


As a rule of thumb, you should remember to keep your Hardy Ice Plant in soil with well-draining characteristics, as these will guarantee the right conditions for your plant to grow and thrive. 

When you consider this, this is why you should aim to choose soil that has good drainage, and very dry properties to keep the right moisture levels at all times. 

In our experience, the famous ‘thumb’ or ‘finger’ test is what works best for the Hardy Ice Plant since with it, you will be able to give it the right amount of water, every time – regardless of the environment or placement where you do decide to keep it.

Soil Mix

As mentioned earlier, the Hardy Ice Plant prefers to have soil with good drainage, and very dry properties at all times, reason why you need to make the soil mix out of sand.

This is why most experts agree that the Hardy Ice Plant requires soil with sand, and shallow rocky, which will give you the right conditions it needs.

In addition to this, expert gardeners recommend having preferably alkaline, acid or neutral soil.

Light and Exposure

In terms of light & exposure, the Hardy Ice Plant requires full sun in order for it to thrive under the right conditions. 

Most experts agree that this cactus/succulent will do well as long as you keep it in full sun, and it will be able to grow properly.

Specifically, we recommend that you place your Delosperma Cooperi in full and direct sun (more than 6 hours of direct sunlight per day).


Being an evergreen plant, the Hardy Ice Plant will be present year round in your garden.

But, you can expect it to have its ‘prime-time’ during the summer (early, mid, late), and during the fall.


You can expect your Hardy Ice Plant to flower around the summer and in the fall months from July to September (summer), and from October to December (fall).

In particular, this cactus/succulent is well known for its long bloom season and showy flowers around the plant enthusiast community.

The Hardy Ice Plant produces some beautiful purplish-pink, or pink and purple/lavender flowers around this time of year.


The leaves from the Hardy Ice Plant have a beautiful gray-green color during most of the year.

In particular, they have a simple arrangement in its leaves.

You can expect the leaves from your Delosperma Cooperi to be around (< 1 inch) in size.

Hardy Ice Plant up close

Attracts, Tolerance and Resistance

The Hardy Ice Plant is well known for being able to attract butterflies, so keep that in mind when choosing your plant, as you’ll likely end up finding one or another in your garden.

Additionally, it has a special tolerance for salt, drought, dry soil, rocky soil and animals like deer, so don’t worry if any of these come along, your Delosperma Cooperi will be fine.


How should you then organize your garden to include your new Hardy Ice Plant? Here are some recommendations by expert gardeners.

Most Delosperma Cooperi owners agree that this cactus/succulent will look great in most rustic, mediterranean and xeric gardens of all types. 

Other owners consider that they complement well most gardens of mediterranean garden, coastal garden, gravel and rock garden, and in prairie and meadow styles. 

In particular, the Hardy Ice Plant’s best location within your garden is in ground covers, banks and slopes, beds and borders, and in patio and containers, others use it for landscaping in a coastal exposure, hillside, mass planting, border, firescaping/fire wise, poolside, erosion control, container, ground cover, or a rock garden.

Companion Plants

Hardy Ice Plant’s do well with some other plants beside it. One good companion plant is the Sedum, which will pair up nicely with your leafy friend.

Others consider that a nice Sempervivum will work well too, so choose whichever you find works best for you!


And we’ve come to an end. Fortunately, that’s everything you need to know about your Hardy Ice Plant to keep it safe and sound in your garden or home. Enjoy planting!

Sebastian Moncada

I’m also a plant enthusiast and researcher. I’ve been privileged to have lived my whole life around the wilderness of Colombia and I’m happy to share everything I learn along the way. “Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience” – Emerson.

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