Ultimate Guide: How to get your Ice Plant to Flower

Ice plant is a succulent, meaning they store their water in their leaves. When you water properly, you water the soil underneath the leaves. This creates a wet environment which ultimately inhibits blooming. The reason most people toss ice plant away after purchase is because they are impatient growers and end up over watering, killing their ice plant.
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Are you looking for an indoor plant that can brighten up your space with bright daisy-like flowers and is low maintenance? Ice Plants can be a great addition to your indoor plant collection. With yellow, purple, or pink blooms, these pretty plants flower throughout the summer. Like most succulents, they thrive in arid conditions and require minimal care. 

The ice plant derives its name from the ice crystal-like dots on the leaves, which give it a shimmery appearance. This hardy plant is primarily kept for ornamental value but has a history of medicinal and culinary use in its native South Africa.

You can eat the leaves either in raw form or slightly cook them. The leaves can also be used to garnish, and the plant is consumed whole as a cereal. This pretty plant has been used to manage cardiovascular problems, tuberculosis, and minor skin conditions.

The Ice Plant has over ten cultivars; a few are listed below:

  • Cooper’s Hardy Ice Plant- Most popular; Dark green, shiny leaves; bright pink to purple blooms
  • Ice Plant Kelaidis- Leaves resemble jelly beans; yellow centered salmon to pink blooms
  • White Wonder- Large white flowers

If you want your Ice Plant to bloom, you will have to make sure the conditions are just right. Read on to figure out how to make the most of this beautiful plant and get things blooming.

How to Plant Ice Plant

There are many beautiful cultivars to choose from, and it might take you a while to settle on one. As a newbie, you can begin with one type. If you are a more experienced gardener, you can go for two or more. We suggest choosing a plant based on your environmental conditions because temperature and humidity are important factors to consider.

Ice Plants are easy to grow; you can sow your Ice Plant seeds early in the spring. Alternatively, buy small plugs from nurseries available in groundcover flats. We recommend using cactus mix if used in potted arrangements.

Orange Ice plant flower.
It can brighten up your space with bright daisy-like flowers and is low maintenance

If you go the seed way, use a small container to sow your seeds. Press the seeds lightly into the soil, do not cover entirely because the seeds will require light for germination. Make sure that the container is kept moist for about 15-20 days until germination. 

Transfer your container to a sunny indoor spot or use artificial plant light sources. Alternate darkness with light at a ratio of 2:1 as plants also require darkness to grow. The taller your plants grow, the more distance between the fluorescent lights and the plant.

The Best Conditions for Your Ice Plant to Bloom

Water

The water needs of an Ice Plant will differ with seasons. In very hot periods, we suggest watering your plant every week. If the conditions are warm, you can do it once in two weeks. During the colder seasons, the plants require little to no water. Before the winter, make sure that your plant is dried out to avoid too much moisture. Drain excess water, do not let your Ice Plant sit in water.

Light

Full sun is necessary for your Ice Plants to flower bountifully. We suggest at least six hours of direct sun exposure. They can still grow in partial shade but do best in Plants that do not get enough sun, tend to be weak and leggy.

Ice plant receiving a direct sun light.
Full sun is necessary for your Ice Plants to flower bountifully.

Soil

The Ice Plant thrives in dry soil that has excellent drainage. If the soil is dense like clay, your plant will not grow. The best soil is sandy or gravelly soil with minimal or no nutrients. Place your Ice plant in a container with a well-draining medium.

Temperature & Humidity

Ice Plants do well in dry climatic conditions; they die if subjected to temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius. The ideal temperature range for your indoor ice plant is 10-21 degrees Celsius. Too much moisture can lead to root rot and fungal problems. 

Humidifiers do not work on Ice Plants; avoid placing your plant in rooms with high humidity. For your plant to bloom as you would like, make sure the conditions are dry and within the recommended range.

Flower on the vase.
Avoid placing your plant in rooms with high humidity.

Fertilizer

Ice plants do not require feeding but use either composed or flower-made slow-release fertilizers if you must use fertilizers. Soil nutrients are depleted more quickly in containers than in garden soil. If your indoor plants do not get adequate feeding, they will experience weak growth and lack of blooms.

However, there is an exception; too much nitrogen can negatively affect flower production. If you are using fertilizer and your flowers are not blooming, we suggest you stop using it.

Pruning

Ice plants don’t need much pruning, but a little trimming can lead to more vibrant flowers. The most appropriate time to prune is right after flowering. To start, trim down the plant using pruning shears, and cut it down to a height that will do away with the dead flowers. The ideal time to eliminate old foliage is before new growth, late winter or early spring.

A purple ice plant flower.
A little trimming can lead to more vibrant flowers.

What Can I do for my Ice Plant to Flower?

Ice plants flower differently depending on the species. To get your plants to bloom, you can follow these helpful tips: 

Deadheading

Remove the wilted and faded flowers. If you want your flowers to bloom repeatedly, we recommend removing the old, dying flowers through a process called deadheading. If you leave the dead flowers on the plant, they end up seeding, and the plant stops producing flowers. Dead flowers also attract pests and diseases.

Once you remove the spent flowers, the plant will strengthen itself instead of concentrating the energy on producing seeds. In some plants, all you have to remove are the spent buds. To remove the spent parts, use either your fingers or a pair of garden pruners. Deadheading using your fingers can be referred to as pinching. 

You can remove the parts either once or a couple of times during the growing season. For flowers that form on their stems, you can remove the entire flowering system and cut it off at the bottom of the plant. 

Fertilizing

To keep your plants blooming, feed them consistently throughout the growing season. Use half-strength liquid fertilizer. The best flowering fertilizer is one that has more phosphorus as opposed to nitrogen. Phosphorus promotes flower growth. We recommend using a bloom-boosting fertilizer that will increase phosphorus.

Nitrogen, on the other hand, can get your plant growing but not blooming. If you notice excess growth with no blooming, stop the fertilizing and soak the plant in water to wash off the excess nitrogen. Alternatively, you can try mixing time-based fertilizer into the soil at the start of the growing season.

More Sun

Ice Plants bloom best in direct sunlight. We suggest exposing your plant to several hours of daylight daily for brilliant flowers.

Pay Attention to the Roots

Roots are a fundamental part of your plant because they help in the absorption of water and nutrients. Therefore, if you want abundant blooms, take good care of your roots. When transplanting or digging around the plant, do not cut or damage the roots. Instead, we recommend keeping your plants slightly root-bound for prolific bloom; this action enables the plant to focus more on blooming and less on root development.

A close up image of a flower of ice plant.
Ice Plants bloom best in direct sunlight.

Moderate Watering

Too much watering can cause a lack of flowers. On the other hand, a lack of adequate water can lead to the dropping of flower buds. Avoid both extremes and water your ice plant moderately throughout the flowering season for the ultimate bloom.

Why Are My Ice Plants not Flowering?

Generally, ice plants fail to flower because of the reasons listed below:

  • Pruning Mistakes– The best time to prune your ice plant is after flowering. If you prune at an inappropriate time and do it incorrectly, you can expect a significant reduction in your flowers.
  • Nutrient Inconsistency As earlier mentioned in this article, phosphorus is necessary for the flowering of your ice plant. Therefore, too little phosphorus or too much nitrogen can cause your plants not to flower.
  • Age factor- An ice plant can take up to two to three years to mature fully. So if your plant is young, the chances of blooming are slim.
  • Environmental Issues Environmental factors like light and temperature affect blooming, as we have seen. For example, low temperatures kill flower buds leading to zero flowers. Inadequate light can also be the reason your ice plant is not flowering.

There is no doubt that the ice plant is one of the most colorful indoor succulents. However, getting your ice plant to bloom is not an impossible task. For brilliant flowers, familiarize yourself with the factors that inhibit flowering and provide the right conditions for your ice plant to thrive.

FAQs

  1. Do ice plants do well in pots?

The ice plant is excellent for your outdoor garden because of its drought tolerance, but it can also bloom indoors as long as you place it strategically facing a sunny south window.

2. When should I expect my Ice Plant to bloom?

Ice Plants begin blooming in the spring and can go on for a few weeks. Some species can bloom a second time later on in the summer.

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