Last updated on August 25th, 2023 at 12:30 pm
Corpuscularia lehmannii, also known as ice plant succulent, icicle plant succulent, delosperma lehmannii, mesembryanthemum lehmanni , or just delosperma succulent, is one of the hardiest succulents you can grow in your garden, and it makes an excellent ground cover.
Not only does Corpuscularia lehmannii require minimal care and attention, but it also thrives in hot and sunny areas that are typically inhospitable to other plants.
The ice plant succulent may look like an ordinary succulent, but it’s anything but ordinary! It’s easy to grow and beautiful to display, so you can enjoy its unique characteristics year-round.
Although Corpuscularia lehmannii has been grown since the 19th century, it still remains relatively unknown to most gardeners, and once you learn how to grow it, you will want to include it in your garden or outdoor container all year round.
Origin and distribution
Corpuscularia lehmannii is a succulent plant native to South Africa that has become popular in many different parts of the world, including the United States and Europe, due to its unusual and aesthetically pleasing appearance. These plants are often grown as potted plants, but they can also be found growing wild on cliffsides or on the edges of forests.
The species was first identified in 1836 when it was brought to England from South Africa by Johann Lehmann, a German botanist who had traveled around South Africa collecting specimens for Kew Gardens.
The scientific name of Corpuscularia lehmannii refers to him directly, delosperma refers to two seeds while lehmannii was named after his last name, Lehmann. This plant requires ample water and moderate sunlight exposure, although too much direct sunlight will burn it and prevent it from producing flowers.
Corpuscularia lehmannii is known by many names, ice plant succulent, delosperma succulent, mesembryanthemum lehmanni, delosperma lehmannii, and icicle plant succulent.
Corpuscularia lehmannii propagation
Corpuscularia lehmannii can be propagated from stem cuttings or seeds. The best time to propagate is during their dormant period. The stems are brittle, so care should be taken when using them for cuttings. Cut into pieces about 1 inch long and allow to dry for a day before planting in the sand with very little perlite for drainage; use a gritty mix with some pumice added to it.
Place Corpuscularia lehmannii in full sun, protect from frost, and water the plants often enough to keep the soil moist but not soggy wet. Do not let the plants dry out at any time of year, but especially during their dormant periods which are usually late summer/early fall and winter months.
Use as a ground cover in landscape or container gardens. It is one of the few succulents that will thrive on neglect and prefers to have a more open area around it than other succulents.
It has many tiny white star-shaped flowers that bloom in mid-spring on foot-long stalks.
Ice plant succulent care information
Corpuscularia lehmannii is a very forgiving succulent, however, it does require well-draining soil. It prefers a semi-shady spot with plenty of airflows and some water during dry periods. Repotting every 2 years into a slightly larger pot will help ensure its long life in your home or garden.
Corpuscularia lehmannii prefers part sun to full shade. Although ice plant can grow in full sun, they won’t bloom in high heat and strong sunlight, so keep plants in a location that provides partial to dappled shade throughout most of the day.
When growing succulents like Corpuscularia lehmannii outdoors, keep in mind that they may need to be brought indoors during inclement weather or when days get shorter in fall.
If growing Corpuscularia lehmannii, purchase a succulent-only soil or cactus/succulent potting mix. Anything else will likely contain elements that are toxic to your plant. The best way to ensure you have what you need is to contact your local garden center.
They’ll most likely have one or two options available, but they should be able to tell you what they are when asked and make sure it’s just right for your particular species of succulents.
Corpuscularia lehmannii requires low to moderate watering. Water it during fall and winter, as ice plant succulents prefer dry soil during spring and summer.
Avoid getting water on its branches, as it could cause mildew growth. If you live in a warm climate, you can grow an ice plant inside of your home, providing bright sunlight and lower humidity levels. Overwatering is a common mistake that could kill your succulent, water when topsoil feels dry to touch.
Ice plant is not a very hungry little succulent, so it doesn’t need to be fertilized too often. Using slow-release fertilizer can provide all of its nutritional needs, but if you do use liquid fertilizer, follow directions and don’t overdo it.
The overuse of fertilizer will result in leaf tip burn and an unappealing appearance that doesn’t look healthy at all.
Corpuscularia lehmannii prefers to live in very cold climates. They are native to places like South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand, where it’s colder than 65 degrees year-round. If you want to keep an ice plant indoors, place it in a bright area near a south-facing window.
It will also need plenty of sun and water about every three days. Finally, place it in a container with ample drainage holes; these plants tend to rot if they sit in water for too long.
Corpuscularia lehmannii does best in a humid environment. If you’re growing it indoors and aren’t able to replicate its natural environment, be sure to mist your plant daily. It will also help keep it from getting spider mites, which can be problematic for succulents. You may also want to consider planting your succulent in soil instead of a potting medium, as these plants need extra moisture at all times.
The ideal humidity range for Corpuscularia lehmannii is between 40-60%. Remember that water changes the temperature of the air around it – so if you’re looking to create a warmer climate, make sure not to overwater. If you’re looking to create a cooler climate, try watering less often or using ice cubes or cool water when watering your plant.
In warmer zones where it’s in bloom year-round, prune back its stems after flowering. It may seem cruel to cut off a mature plant’s life-giving blooms, but rest assured that new growth will emerge from the base of the plant.
As a rule of thumb, you can just snip any woody stems right above a leaf joint. But some gardeners like to pinch back shorter stems to encourage fuller growth and more flowers.
Simply nip offshoots at an angle so they don’t leave ugly stubs. Don’t be tempted to shear or saw off plants – it’s better to take two cuts than do more damage with one! If your clippings are small enough, use them as mulch for the next season’s container planting.
When to repot
Repot your ice plant succulent every two years in spring. Repotting too often can cause its roots to rot and can damage its growth and flowering ability.
When you do repot it, be sure to use a clean container, free of pests and diseases that might kill your plant or spread to other plants. Remember to prune any rotted roots when you repot it as well.
As most succulents are native to warm, arid climates, they need to be coddled in winter. Move your plant(s) inside or under a porch or patio and allow it to go dormant until spring arrives.
If you live in a very cold region and want your plant to survive through winter, you may choose to bring it indoors in early fall before the temperature drops too low. However, don’t place it next to any heating vents or drafty windows as this can dry out the soil.
You may also use a humidity tray on top of pebbles with water as this will create condensation that will moisten the soil of the pot for several hours each day. Don’t forget to also water every week!
Corpuscularia lehmannii flower & fragrance
White flowers are produced on a raceme. The aroma is sweet and can be very strong in large quantities. It is commonly used as an ingredient in perfumes, as well as a decorative scent. Because of its pleasant smell and low toxicity, it is sometimes used as incense.
Ice plant is known for their very fast growth. In optimal conditions, it can produce new shoots at a rate of up to eight inches per month. It grows more slowly in winter and at low temperatures, but will still generally put on two or three inches each month under these conditions.
Corpuscularia lehmannii is non-toxic and therefore considered safe around pets and humans.
USDA hardiness zones
Ice plant succulents are often grown as houseplants because they are easy to maintain and propagate through leaf cuttings or stem cuttings.
They require less water than other succulents but still need to be watered once every one to two weeks. These plants can survive on the nutrients from dust, so regular dusting is recommended to keep them healthy.
Pests and diseases
Monitor your plants for signs of these pests and treat them with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil. If that doesn’t work, bring in an experienced exterminator to rid your garden of these dangerous pests.
Likewise, you may want to consider planting sagebrush near your succulents to help ward off insects that might feed on the leaves. White salt also has shown promise as a possible defense against some pest infestations.
And if aphids become too much of a problem, you may be able to cut back their population by reducing watering as well as fertilizing less often during the summer months when they’re most active.