Ice Plant, Hearts and Flowers Scientific Name:Aptenia cordifolia
History/general species info: Native to the rainfall regions of South Africa. Has been used medicinally as an anti-inflammatory, poultice and deodorant. The plant is also used as a love and good luck charm. Zulu medicinal uses include making a mild enema for babies; the black powder is used for vaccination and against witchcraft (sorcery).
Characteristics: Perennial. Evergreen. Succulent. Groundcover. Fast growing. Glossy succulent heart-shaped foliage. Small red composite-like flowers. Flowers attract bees and open during the day and close at night.
Planting / Care: Perfect as a groundcover, in hanging baskets, spiller in patio containers or over low walls. Ideal plant for coastal gardens as it tolerates sea spray and grows in sandy as well as all types of soils. Part shade to filtered sun. Can grow in sun but will become stressed. Needs regular watering during hot summer, but be careful not to overwater. Allow soil between waterings. Benefits from 2-3 light applications of fertilizer per year using ammonium phosphate.