Ice plants are gorgeous little succulents with bright-colored flowers that make an excellent ground cover plant. These hardy plants get their name from the crystal-like dots that form on their flowers.
But are ice plants deer resistant? You may be wondering if it’s safe to plant these flowers in your garden in the presence of deer. We have your answer and more below.
Are ice plants deer resistant? Despite their bright colors that are attractive to insects like butterflies, ice plants are deer resistant. Although the plant itself isn’t poisonous to animals, it is a succulent with thick, textured stems and leaves that are not appealing to deer, and deer generally tend to avoid it.
In short, it’s clear that ice plants are deer resistant and will likely remain safe in your yard – even if you have neighborhood deer lurking frequently.
However, there’s still a lot left to learn about this stunning succulent, so read on for more!
Best Deer-Resistant Ice Plant Varieties
Ice plants come in several different varieties, and all of the ones highlighted below are not only beautiful but are deer resistant as well.
Cooper’s Ice Plant
Cooper’s ice plant sprouts stunning reddish-purple flowers similar to the traditional ice plant. This deer-resistant variety displays flowers from June to September and does well in sunny locations.
Moonstone Ice Plant
If you like daisies, you’ll love the moonstone ice plant. This version of the succulent blooms white flowers with distinct yellow centers. They can grow as tall as 6 inches and stay flowered from the spring to the fall.
Ruby Ice Plant
If you’re looking for some truly unique color in your landscaping, you can’t go wrong with the ruby ice plant variety.
The daisy-shaped flowers display captivating layers of color that go from red at the edges to yellow then white with a golden-yellow center.
The ruby ice plant can also grow to 6 inches tall and has great ground coverage.
Peridot Ice Plant
The peridot ice plant is an excellent deer-resistant flower that can instantly brighten any location. The flowers are nothing short of sunshiny yellow with white centers and a yellow dot in the middle.
This ice plant variation is perfect for rocky soil and does well on slopes. The flowers bloom from late spring to early fall.
*The following shows the blooms of Moonstone ice plant on the left and Ruby ice plant flowers on the right.
Are Ice Plants Rabbit Resistant?
Realistically, no plant is ever truly rabbit resistant, as a hungry rabbit will eat almost anything, but when given a choice, there are some plants a rabbit will avoid, and the ice plants are one of them.
Again, this plant is not toxic to animals, but rabbits do not enjoy the plant’s texture.
What Animals Eat Ice Plants?
Although ice plants are both deer and rabbit resistant, it is still possible for them to munch on your ice plants – especially if food is scarce in your area.
However, you should also be on the lookout for hungry squirrels who might be interested in eating the ice plant’s flowers.
Is Ice Plant Drought Resistant?
The ice plant does not require much water; it prefers to live in dry, well-drained soil and full-sun spots. That being said, the plant is very drought resistant and does well in arid environments.
You should aim to water your ice plant sparingly to avoid overly wet conditions during the growing season.
Are Ice Plants Invasive?
The ice plant was originally native to South Africa until it was introduced to California.
Because the climates of the two locations are relatively similar, the ice plant thrived there – so much so that it has become invasive on the coast.
Ice plant spreads very easily in the right conditions, and because it forms a thick mat, it can be devastating for other plants in the area.
Luckily, the plant has shallow roots and is easy to control, so it’s not a concern for homeowners who want to plant it.
Are Ice Plants Perennials?
Yes, the ice plant is perennial. This means that it will continue to bloom each year, unlike annuals that die in the winter and need to be replanted.
How Fast Does an Ice Plant Spread?
An ice plant can spread as much as 4 feet in just a few months in the right conditions. Some plants grow even faster, reaching their mature size in as little as one month.
If allowed to grow uninterrupted, some plants can become very long, leggy, and spread out.
Ice Plant Colors
The ice plant comes in several different varieties, which allows you to choose from multiple colors, including bright pink, purple, yellow, orange, red, and white.
Some varieties include color mixes, such as the ruby variety mentioned above that has shades of red, orange, yellow, and white all in one bloom.
What Does It Mean To Be Deer Resistant?
When a plant is deer resistant, it simply means that it’s not a favorite plant of deer species. There is no such thing as a truly deer-proof plant, as deer are willing to eat nearly anything if food is sparse.
However, deer-resistant plants tend to have some aspects that deer do not like. If a plant is poisonous or deadly, deer will try to stay away. Likewise, plants that have thorns or spikes are generally safe.
Deer also do not like strong flavors or intense scents, so fragrant flowers typically fall last on their menu. They also don’t prefer leaves and stems with fuzzy or sticky textures.
The ice plant is a deer-resistant plant that’s hardy in other ways as well. It’s not a favorite snack of deer or rabbits, and it does very well during periods of drought.
As long as you can find this plant an open, sunny spot to live in, it will thrive.
In some instances, your ice plant may even become invasive, so it’s important to trim it regularly if you don’t keep it potted.
You will undoubtedly be rewarded with some stunning color and gorgeous ground coverings on your property.