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Carpobrotus edulis (Hottentot Fig/Ice Plant)

For salt resistance in seaside gardens, the next best thing to seaweed but much prettier. A fleshy leafed Mesembryanthemum from South Africa where it’s known as the Hottentot Fig. The specific name ‘edulis’ means edible but I know of no-one personally who’s ever tried one. Fantastically useful by the seaside where its salt tolerance and frost tenderness makes it perfect for its environment. Its ability to form a lush and healthy green carpet on even the poorest of soils makes it even more remarkable. A mass of cerise flowers in summer followed by the rounded, edible (?) fruits. In southern California it’s called Ice Plant and is used as a fire break. Apart from Hottentot Fig and Ice Plant it also has a number of other common names within the anglophone world – all of which involve the word ‘bottom’. Something to do with the end of the fruits. We just stick to calling it Carpobrotus.

After many years, it could grow to several square metres. In the Scilly Isles (where it’s naturalised), it grows down to the high tide mark.

Propagated by us by cuttings.

Hardiness traffic light green

Hardiness level Red

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Hardy in Atlantic Seaboard gardens, The Channel Islands, gardens in Central London (and other large cities) and conservatories.

This is only meant as a guide; there are some plants with red labels that would only survive in extremely favoured spots such as The Isles of Scilly or coastal south-west Ireland.

We're always on hand to give advice about plants and their frost hardiness.

Please remember that these coloured labels are only a rough guide.

General Point about Plant Hardiness: The commonly held belief that it's better to 'plant small' is perfectly true with herbaceous plants, but not necessarily true with woody plants. They need some 'wood' on them to survive severe cold - so plants of marginal hardiness in very cold areas should really be planted LARGER, rather than smaller, wherever possible.