in Tucson, Phoenix,
Arizona and California

Gardening in Tucson, Phoenix, Arizona and California

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Aptenia cordifolia: Heartleaf Ice Plant / Hearts and Flowers

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Form: Mat-forming herb, a succulent plant in the Ice Plant family.
Lifespan: 2-3 years.
Leaf retention: Evergreen but can die to ground in freezes.
Growth rate: Rapid.
Mature Size: 6" high and 12-24" wide.
Flowers: Dozens of bright pink-red, narrow petals and yellow center.
Bloom: Spring to fall.
Fruit: Tiny, green, apple-like, containing four seeds.
Leaves: Medium green, succulent, smooth, edible.
Stems: No thorns. Root where nodes touch moist soil.
Roots: Subject to root rot in continually moist soil.
Wildlife: Attracts bees, butterflies, possibly hummingbirds.
Toxic / Danger: No.
Origin: South Africa.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 8-10.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Full sun.
Water after becoming established: Once a month. More frequent water will maintain appearance in the hottest months of the year, but not necessary for survival.
Soil: Well drained, dry, low in organic content, pH 6.1-7.8 (slightly acidic to slightly alkaline).
Mulch: No.
Planting: Can be grown in containers.
Prune: Only if dead spots appear.
Litter: Dies out after a few years and is replaced by new seedlings.
Propagation: Cuttings that include a leaf node, seed. Reseeds freely.
Uses: Ornamental ground cover, weed suppression, erosion control. Does not withstand foot traffic.

Former botanical name Mesembryanthemum cordifolia. Another common name is Baby Sun Rose.
Often sold as Aptenia cordifolia 'Red Apple', a hybrid of A. cordifolia and A. haeckeliana. This cultivar is invasive and quite vigorous near wetlands and moist areas. In California it is considered an invasive weed.

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Aptenia cordifolia: Hearts and Flowers

Aptenia cordifolia with hummingbird