Garden Oracle / Drought and Heat Tolerant Gardening / Tucson - Phoenix - Arizona - California

Growing Cephalophyllum alstonii:
'Red Spike' Ice Plant

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Form: A trailing, clump-forming, succulent.
Lifespan: Perennial.
Leaf retention: Evergreen.
Growth rate: Slow to moderate.
Mature Size: 1' high and 2' wide. It can climb a fence to 6' high.
Flowers: Red, many narrow petals, remaining closed or partially open on cloudy days.
Bloom: Late Fall and winter.
Fruit: A seed capsule.
Leaves: Green, rubbery, a smooth and waxy surface, with a rounded-triangle cross section.
Stems: No thorns. The stems form roots where its nodes touch the ground.
Roots: Fibrous, non-invasive.
Wildlife: Attracts bees; birds eat the red fleshy leaf tops. Mammals such as sheep may browse the leaves.
Toxic / Danger: No.
Origin: South Africa.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 9-11. Hardy to 18°F.
Heat tolerant: Somewhat.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Full sun, except afternoon shade is needed in temperatures over 90°F.
Water after becoming established: Once or twice a month. Water only if the soil is very dry. It is prone to root rot if overwatered.
Soil: Very well drained, dry, pH 6.1-7.8 (slightly acidic to slightly alkaline).
Mulch: No.
First Year Care: Water up to several times a week to establish a strong root system, allowing the soil to dry between waterings.
Planting: Can be grown in pots. Avoid areas with foot traffic.
Prune: Pince off spent blossoms to encourage further blooming.
Litter: Low.
Propagation: Seed, cuttings of stems that include a root node, layering.
Uses: Ground cover, erosion control on banks and slopes.

This plant is a member of the Ice Plant family (Aizoaceae). It needs afternoon shade in high temperatures.

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Cephalophyllum alstonii: 'Red Spike' Ice Plant - flower

Cephalophyllum alstonii: 'Red Spike' Ice Plant

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Latest update: January, 2022