This is the familiar Livingstone Daisy or, as it seems to be generally known, just 'Mesembryanthemum'. A cultivated strain of this splendid annual plant with spreading habit, it gives plants covered with flowers in a wide range of brilliant shades of gold, salmon, pink, purple and carmine red.
Mesembryanthemum, which means 'midday flowering', is a ground-hugging, sun loving, spreading plants, perfect for rockeries, they can also be used between flagstones and in dry walls.
Perfect for dry sunny locations where they will produce flowers in abundance and an ideal plant for hosepipe bans!
Mesembryanthemum is a member of the family Aizoaceae; many members of this family including the present genus are characterized by long lasting flower heads. The flowers protect their gametes from night-time dews or frosts but open in sunlight. There is obviously an evolutionary advantage of doing this; where dew, frost, wind or predators are likely to damage exposed reproductive organs, closing may be advantageous during times when flowers are unlikely to attract pollinators.
Sow in late winter (Sept/Oct) or early Spring (Feb/April) indoors, or direct sow once all risk of frost has passed (usually May)
Sow into individual pots or trays of seed compost. Use well drained soil and cover lightly. Keep moist and warm 15 to 20°C (60 to 68°F). Germination will take place 7 to 21 days
Prick out to individual pots, transplant into 7.5cm (3in) pots or trays.
Gradually acclimatise to outdoor conditions for 10 to 15 days before planting out in growing position after the last expected frosts. (Usually early to mid May) Space 30 to 38cm (12 to 15in) apart.
Choose a position with a well-drained soil that is moist to on the dry side; they will tolerate drought.
Prepare the ground well and rake to a fine tilth. If sowing more than one annual in the same bed, mark the sowing areas with a ring of sand and label. Add a complete fertiliser.
Sow 5mm (¼in) deep in rows 7cm (3in) apart. Sow sparingly or they will choke out other seedlings. Keep soil moist during germination.
The seedlings will appear in rows approx 3 to 4 weeks after planting and can be easily told from nearby weed seedlings. Thin the seedlings out as necessary so they are finally 25 to 30cm (10 to 12in) apart. Carefully replant thinned plants.
Easily propagated by breaking off short pieces and simply sticking them into the ground; new roots will form within just a few weeks. Foliage turns bronze in winter.
Flowers Borders and Edging, Alpines & Rockeries, Lawn Substitute , Between flagstones, Containers, Ground Cover, Drought Tolerant
'Mesembryanthemum' is derived from the Greek and means “Midday flowering" or “Noon Flower”, from the fact that it opens up in full sunlight.
Dorotheanthus bellidiformis is popular plant better known to gardeners by its former name, Mesembryanthemum. This alternative name was given by Dr Martin Heinrich Schwantes in honour of his mother Dorothea.
It is a succulent, and if you look carefully at the plant you can see the 'blisters' (more properly called 'bladders') on the stems and leaves containing water, which give rise to the common name of “Ice Plant”, as the plant looks as if it is covered in tiny beads of ice.
Native to South Africa, the Mesembryanthema were first described botanically by Jacob Breyne (Breynius) (1637-1697. He was in close contact with botanists and plant collectors in Europe and the Cape Colony; it is thought that the descriptive name was devised by Linnaeus (1707-1777) in 1753.
Soon after 1500, Mesembryanthemum was dispersed from the coasts of South Africa at first especially to North America by sailors. Needing ballast for their sailing ships, they bagged sand also containing ice plant seeds. Unloading this for more profitable cargo in the Americas, the seeds germinated and the plants rapidly spread. They have been used to counter erosion of waterways and in modern times of road shoulders.
- Additional Information
Seed Form Natural Seeds per gram 3,200 seeds / gram Family Aizoaceae Genus Mesembryanthemum Species bellidiformis Cultivar Magic Carpet Mix Synonym Dorotheanthus bellidiformis, M. cristallinum Common Name Livingstone Daisy, Ice Plant, Pebble Plant Hardiness Annual Flowers A wide range of brilliant shades of gold, salmon, pink, purple and carmine red. Natural Flower Time June to September Foliage Mid Green Height 5 to 10cm (2 to 4in) Spread 30 to 60cm (12 to 24in) Position Full sun preferred Aspect West or South facing. Exposed or Sheltered Soil Sandy to Normal. Well drained / Dry Time to Sow Late winter or early spring indoors, or direct sow once all risk of frost has passed. Germination 7 to 21 days