If you are looking for a beautiful plant to fill your garden with, an ice plant is a good one. These drought-resistant flowers will not just add a bright splash color to your garden but also help cover the drier parts of your land. Caring for ice plant care is easy, just that you have to learn how. The most crucial factor to consider when caring for an ice plant is watering.
This article will discuss the 9 golden rules to follow when watering an Ice plant to keep it healthy. Read and learn about the best way to water this pretty plant. Like other succulent plants, they will not need much care if you get it right during watering. So let’s get into the details of these golden rules.
During Dry Conditions, Water the Plant Deeply
An arid condition exists when the soil receives little water, quickly drains. The condition makes the soil surrounding the ice plant dry up to a depth of 12 inches. Therefore, water the ice plant intensely every seven to nine days. But do this based on the current conditions, whether it is raining or the climate is dry.
When the conditions are dry, water the soil to a depth of at least 7 inches. It ensures the plant’s root ball is completely soaked in water. Doing this prevents situations where the plant dries because it lacks moisture. Lack of water causes the leaves to start withering.
Before seven to nine days of watering are complete, if wilting is observed, it is any indication, the plant still needs more water. Even so, ensure you avoid overwatering. Excess water will block the plant’s root system from getting air, leading to root rot.
Do not Water the Plant Before a Freeze
Water in the plant cells gives it hardiness to sustain and cushion itself from the damaging effects of the freezing night. Thorough soaking of the ice plant during the day before a chilly night should provide enough moisture to prevent the plant from damaging because of a frost. Water your ice plant early in the day to give it enough time to absorb the moisture. Watering early also increases the ability of the plant to retain heat from the sun.
When an ice plant is wet during the freezing period, the influx of water could cause the plant to freeze and die. Sprinkling water on the foliage of the ice plant before a freezing night can lead to frost spots forming on the leaves. The effect will damage the lovely appearance of the plant, and it could kill it. In everything, you do not overdo it.
The “Soak and Dry” Method is Best for Ice Plants
Ice plants provide their water hence do not like much moisture. The soak and dry method will not just keep your plant happy, but it is the best method to use for succulents. The technique involves saturating the soil with water. Then wait until the soil mix dries almost completely before watering again.
While practicing the “soak and dry” method, maintain a watchful eye on the condition of the ice plant. Letting the plant dry out entirely for too long may prove impossible to revive it. This plant’s soak and dry method work well because it caters to their nature, ensuring they adapt accordingly.
One of the common mistakes that people make is adding a small amount of moisture frequently by watering when the plant does not need water. Unfortunately, this introduces other conditions not suitable for the plant. Remember, it is a succulent plant. The soak and dry method allow you to water the plant thoroughly and leave it to dry before the next watering.
Consider the Environment of the Plant Before Watering
The environment where your ice plant is planted determines the soil’s moisture level. When it is grown in a place that receives a lot of lighting, the watering frequency may be higher than low light. An ice plant near a window or a heater dries out faster than other locations.
To ensure that you don’t overwater or underwater the plant, take a keen look at the behavior of your plant in its environment. You may dip your finger into the soil to determine the soil’s moisture. The plant will show you some signs of overwatered or underwatered from time to time. For an overwatered ice plant:
- The leaves are soft and mushy
- The leaves turn black due to fungal disease from too much overwatering
- Leaves start to shrink while others start to drop
Signs for underwatered ice plants include
- Wrinkly and shriveled leaves
- The leaves start turning dry on the edge
- During flowering, the plant fails to flower entirely.
How often the underwatered plants show these signs determines how often the plant needs water. However, the best condition to grow the ice plant outdoors is full sun and soil with good drainage.
Water the Plant More During the Growing Period
Ice plants are in full growing mode between spring and fall. During this time, water is likely to evaporate more quickly due to the increased temperatures. Therefore, it is good to increase the amount of water and the frequency of watering the plant. The watering frequency may increase once per week during the growing season.
If you have planted your ice plant outside, watering is frequent during the warm months. The seasoned guidelines may not apply to other areas. Therefore, keeping a close eye on the soil is essential.
Soil Used is an Essential Factor
Soil type used is an essential factor in proper drainage. It determines the amount of moisture the soil retains for the plant. Regular potting soil may not be the best option with ice plants. This is because Ice plants prefer soil that retains less moisture.
The best soil type where an ice plant flourishes is a mixture of potting soil with sand or perlite. Sandy soil drains the water avoiding standing waters. On the other hand, poor soil will cause the ice plant to die when kept in standing waters for long.
Bottom Watering is the Best
Whether watering from the top or the bottom, it helps to quench your plant thirst. With ice plants or other succulents, bottom watering is the best option. The method isn’t just for typical foliage houseplant but also a better way to make your ice plant receive the right amount of water.
Top watering of the plant is an easy method. But enough water does not reach the plant’s roots. As a result, water remains on the leaves during top watering, causing rot. In addition, the water creates rust on the foliage, destroying both the vegetation and the plant’s health.
Bottom watering ensures all the soil gets water absorbed deeper into the root caps. This allows the plant to grow and thrive well. When watering the ice plant at the bottom, place the watering jar near the bottom to prevent water from splashing. Then, water the plant slowly until water drains from the drainage holes.
Cut Down on Watering During the Winter Period
How often an ice plant needs to be watered depends on many factors, especially the seasons. The soil dries out faster during the summer. During the winter season, the soil does not dry out fast, as the plant is in a dormant state, and giving the plant more water means overwatering. There is not much evaporation during the winter season, and water stays logged on the roots of the ice plant.
The water causes a root rot or fungal infection, destroying the whole plant. To prevent overwatering during this period, give your succulent a drink early in the morning. It ensures the water evaporates during the day. However, minimize the amount of water you give the plant during morning hours because not much evaporation occurs during the day.
Don’t Use Ice Cubes
Some gardeners use ice cubes to water their houseplants. Don’t do this with ice plants or other succulents. Though this method seems better, dispensing a small amount of water slowly is a sure way to kill the plant.
Succulents like ice plants are native plants in the desert. Using ice cubes to the water, the plant freezes the roots, shocking the plant. Unlike the belief that using ice cubes to water a plant is similar to using a controlled soaking method, the plant dies because of excessive cold.
From location to location, watering can be a process of trial and error, unique in different places. Nonetheless, your ice plant will need water to survive. So always remember to follow the above rules and tips in mind, to maintain a healthy and hydrated ice plant perfect for your landscape.
A succulent remains a unique plant whose maintenance entails moderate watering. While keeping and observing these watering rules, keep watch of other factors. Water moderately, and be assured of a blooming Ice plant.