Mesembryanthemum, Baby Sunrose, Dew Plant, Heartleaf Ice Plant 'Red Apple'

Mesembryanthemum cordifolium

Family: Aizoaceae (ay-zoh-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Mesembryanthemum (mes-em-bry-ANTH-ee-mum) (Info)
Species: cordifolium (kor-di-FOH-lee-um) (Info)
Cultivar: Red Apple
Synonym:Aptenia cordifolia




Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Cactus and Succulents

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Light Shade

Partial to Full Shade




This plant is fire-retardant

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


under 6 in. (15 cm)


12-15 in. (30-38 cm)


USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us



Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Blooms all year

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From herbaceous stem cuttings

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Phoenix, Arizona

Queen Creek, Arizona(2 reports)

Scottsdale, Arizona

Tempe, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona(2 reports)

Yuma, Arizona

Albany, California

August, California

Banning, California

Beale AFB, California

CARLOTTA, California

Canoga Park, California

Citrus Heights, California

Clayton, California

Culver City, California

Fairfield, California

Fontana, California

Forestville, California

Fremont, California

Fresno, California

Goleta, California

Hayward, California

Long Beach, California

Los Angeles, California

Menifee, California

Merced, California

Monterey, California

Monterey Park, California

Murrieta, California

Newbury Park, California

Oakhurst, California

Oceanside, California

Ontario, California

Poway, California

Sacramento, California

San Diego, California

Santa Ana, California

Stockton, California


Vacaville, California

Valencia, California

Ellendale, Delaware

Brandon, Florida

Fernandina Beach, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Fort Myers, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Key West, Florida

Miami, Florida

Odessa, Florida

Seminole, Florida

Tampa, Florida

Venice, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida(2 reports)

Franklin, Indiana

Zwolle, Louisiana

Mathiston, Mississippi

Henderson, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada(3 reports)

North Las Vegas, Nevada

Austin, Texas(2 reports)

El Paso, Texas(2 reports)

Harlingen, Texas

Houston, Texas

Humble, Texas

Jacksonville, Texas

Lockhart, Texas

Lubbock, Texas

Lufkin, Texas

New Braunfels, Texas

Plano, Texas

Portland, Texas

Quinlan, Texas

San Angelo, Texas(2 reports)

San Antonio, Texas(2 reports)

Victoria, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On May 8, 2019, 3acreDave from Albany, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

I agree with renee901. Their appearance suffered after the rains, but are recovering.

I also seem to recall the plant tag saying this could take full sun. Not so; the ones in full sun here are turning yellow. Those across the sidewalk with only late afternoon sun are coming back a healthy dark green.

June 2020:
The ones in full sun are now more full, closer to a pleasant dark green, and have bloomed. The ones in shade have not bloomed, but have a good color.


On Jan 10, 2019, renee901 from Sierra Madre, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

A big problem with it in CA is that when the heavy winter rains come, if we are so lucky, the water sitting on the plant rots the leaves away and makes it absolutely hideous. It has a bit of a weird spreading habit-- it grows crisscrossing on top of itself too much, rotting the tendrils that are under, which then try to survive by extending out underneath, but their edges look starved and ugly. If it doesn't get enough water, it lives, but looks bad. All in all, takes a lot of pruning and a not very attractive ground cover most of the time. That said, I absolutely love the tons of bees it brings and was glad to read here that they are native.


On Jul 16, 2017, ElevationGirl from Santa Fe, NM wrote:

Has anyone experienced growing the Red Apple ice plant in the ground in Zone 6? I assume the foliage will die back due to our winters but will it come back next summer? Can I keep it indoors during the winter? Or will it seed new plants? I am currently growing it in a pot, and it is doing wonderful.


On Oct 11, 2015, ptryph from Forestville, CA wrote:

Reported as invasive for this area but I have grown it for 20 years in my Sonoma County garden in full sun/part shade. It does well with little supplemental water and does spread but is easily contained. It suppresses weeds, a HUGE benefit and is COVERED by native bees that seem to prefer it to everything else. That is flowers almost year round is another benefit. I live at a wild land interface so I am especially mindful of invasive species such as the broom I've battled since I moved here. I don't find Aptenia a problem in my zone 9 garden (Sunset 15).


On Sep 24, 2015, mastrclndr from Valencia, CA wrote:

@ Awfulart:
I think the concern on 50 deg weather is that it probably won't do well in temperatures that are not decidedly warm. It does fine until you hit a cold snap. That being said it can stand temperatures close to freezing such as overnight cold weather, as long as you have reasonably decent warm weather overall. I live in a transitional area between the warm, frostless inland valleys of Southern California, but not quite in the desert where there are cold extremes. I get occasional freezing temperatures in the winter, and that kills some of the plants. In a winter cold snap, yes, the plant can be killed . . however, it produces a profusion of seed throughout the year as bench and backup, and once the parent plant is dead, the seeds readily germinates and literally hun... read more


On Aug 22, 2015, frnkmalta from attard,
Malta wrote:

i have one of these plants which has varigated leaves. I grew it from a two inch cutting and it is now about six inches tall. When is it the best time to take cuttings?


On Apr 11, 2015, awfulart from Rio Rico, AZ wrote:

I grew red apple in California with great success. Now I live in Az in Rio Rico. Altitude is 3,800 ft. It does freeze here in the Winter for as much as a week. It gets down to 20 degrees .

I am really confused as to the temperature problem as they told me at Home Depot in Tucson that its tolerance was no lower than 50 degrees and I have a problem with that info.

Please confirm what Dave's Garden website indicates it can tolerate freezing. I have a large area for ground cover and Red Apple fits the situation, maybe??


On Feb 7, 2015, kassarooni from Marrero, LA wrote:

Looking to purchase this plant. Unable to find in Louisiana.
Unable to ship from California to my area. Any ideas on where to get this plant locally or otherwise??


On Jul 19, 2013, lgcalifornia from Santa Ana, CA wrote:

Let's clear something up - the invasive version of ice plant, aka "sea fig" or Carpobrotus edulis is the invasive species that grows along the California coast. The C. edulis ice plant actually produces fruit which is made into a jam in its native country of South Africa. The succulent leaves look like fingers and they are not heart shaped. C. edulis is famous for causing major issues on the coast of California.

The Baby sunrose or Heartleaf ice plant, "Aptenia cordifolia" is not invasive. There is much misinformation regarding ice plants in general due to the invasive aspects of C. edulis, but not all ice plants are bad. The difference between ice plants C. edulis and A. cordifolia are akin to the difference between the highly invasive Creeping Charlie and a mint plant (bot... read more


On Jan 6, 2013, AliceG wrote:

Most people don't know that Baby Sun Rose is actually edible and can be used in salads. The plant was also used in traditional Zulu medicine. You can read more about its edible and medicinal uses here:


On Aug 31, 2012, BevL from Tempe, AZ wrote:

My plants are all in pots. Started off with one, then as I pinched off tips to encourage the plant to thicken up I just pushed the tips into new pots and they are all rooting. One problem I have is that although my earlier plants are now large and lush green, none are flowering. They get what looks like a little flowering bud..but it never opens into a flower. Has anyone had this problem? I get morning sun (about 5 hours) and then (living in Phoenix AZ area) have very bright light for the rest of the day. Any ideas would be appreciated. I'm having the same problem with Calibrachoa Hybrid (Strawberry Punch Superbells) which gets about an hour more sun a day.


On Aug 19, 2012, johnthelandlord from Los Angeles, CA wrote:

This is absolutely the BEST ground cover solution for areas of hot sun, poor soil and limited watering. A tenant had planted some as an experiment to the horrible grass situation. For years, with no sprinklers, dogs and gardeners only watering a little once in a while the lawn situation was horrible. It was such a success, that I had the gardeners plant it in all the other areas. Within about a year and a half, it looks like an amazing green carpet. It even draped over the 5ft retaining wall, so much that it looks like a hedge. With little water needed, no fertilization ( oh that nasty manure smell), dog pee resistant and no mowing what more could somebody ask for?


On Aug 13, 2012, misfit17 from San Diego, CA wrote:

I have a question for those with this, since i've just transplanted it and had someone tell me that it was responsible for the stains on my t-shirt. does it stain? i'm been googling and searching and can't find confirmation, but i've had mystery stains on my t shirt two of the last 3 mornings out watering this to get it started. any input would be appreciated, particularly since we're contemplating putting it in an area that the dogs will walk on regularly. thanks.


On Jun 18, 2012, cessilie from Poway, CA wrote:

we have a large amount of this growing on a hill in our backyard and i love it! the only problem is, there are areas that tend to turn yellow or brown. this part of the yard gets a lot of sun so i water it with a hose a few times a week; is this enough? does anyone know how often i should water this stuff? am i drowning it or not watering enough? is there some sort of fertilizer or anything i can use to make it more green?


On Mar 20, 2012, village1diot from Vacaville, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

I have been growing this for 3 years now and it is not growing anywhere I don't want it to. It does grow vigorously, but it doesn't take root easily, so all you have to do is cut it back. It is not invasive, just vigorous.

IMO it's the best ground cover there is, for warmer climates. It needs my attention once a year to cut it back. The rest of the year, I just enjoy it. It attracts tons of bees, stays green, and flowers all year.

About the only negative I can think of is that you can not walk on it, at all. It crushes very easy.


On Sep 29, 2011, zinniasgirls wrote:

I have been searching for a drought tolerant ground cover for a large area of poor soil and I think i finally found it! I am so excited about baby sunrose. my neighbore gave me a bunch of clippings from her garden and i started them in the dirt yesterday - i really hope they grow, they are in shade. thanks everyone for the info.


On Jul 23, 2011, diaph from Culver City, CA wrote:

I'm in Los Angeles area, and have only had Aptenia since ca. january. by accident, recently found a great use for those yanked-out overgrowths.

pulled out a bunch of it, and stuck it in a pail of water in the sun, planning to plant the cuttings around the garden. after about a week, or maybe 2, with some heat, the pail started smelling unbelievably rotten. so disgusting, i couldn't get the smell off my fingers.

which gave me an idea: like stinky fish emulsion, it must be full of fantastic decomposing bacteria and nutrients for plants. used the rotten green fluid to fertilize a passion flower vine, snake plant, bougainvillea, philadendron, tomatoes, honeydew melons--everything LOVES the stuff. a truly satisfying way of creating one's own organic fertiliz... read more


On Jun 24, 2009, DisHammerhand from Fontana, CA wrote:

When I bought my house 12 years ago I planted this along my front fence near an arborvitae hedge. Since then it has gradually climbed the chain-link fence and covered the ground between the curb and fence. (I have no sidewalk). It has made the front of my property look very neat and keeps the weeds down. How I wish I had planted it along the north side of my corner lot. I battle weeds constantly over there.


On Jun 12, 2009, A_Caruso from Lockhart, TX wrote:

I have this growing in a flower garden that is 100' long. I love it!! It is a fast grower, frost hardy, drought tolerant and looks beautiful all year round. Easy to take care, just cut it back. IT IS NOT INVASIVE------IF YOU DON'T WANT IT PULL IT UP AND THROW IT OUT!!!


On Oct 4, 2008, igeethecat from Fresno, CA wrote:

This is not the same plant that grows along California coast and it is NOT INVASIVE at all. It does well on the trellis or as a ground cover, grows fast, looks good and does not require much attention.


On Jun 3, 2007, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have never ad a problem removing it from where I don't want it however, maybe its just because of the climate here. It does grow profusely, but that's what I want where I have it planted. I have found that comes up easily when pulled. I lop it off when it is spreading too far and have it growing over the top of mulch in some areas. It loves the heat and blooms continuously. It does not freeze unless it is a really hard freeze for sustained hours. Maybe I ahve a different plant than the ones that other people have.


On Jun 5, 2006, julia_d from San Francisco, CA wrote:

If this plant acts the same as the ice plant that grows all along California's coast, you should know that not only is it invasive (crowds out native dune plants) but it also puts a lot of salt into the soil. I'd think very carefully before putting this plant anywhere.


On Aug 31, 2005, jaxpatart from Jacksonville, FL wrote:

We found this delightful little plant thriving in many corners of Egypt this summer: from the mountains of Sinai to the delta gardens of Alexandria and everywhere in between. I am planning to try some in my garden in Jax - can't be any more invasive than a whole lot of other plants that we have to pull and pull after such a summer of heat and rain!


On Jul 22, 2005, c_semerad from Queen Creek, AZ wrote:

Am still trying to figure out where it grows best, and what it's water needs are. I have it in full sun now, and some is growing better than others. I have one patch on drip, and one I hand water. Both are doing about the same. Not as prolific yet as people have said; just trying to keep it alive. Hopefully it will do better once the heat of the summer has passed. I have one in a half gallon plastic container that I have yet to transplant. It has been sitting there for 2-3 weeks, and looks better than the ones I have put in the ground.


On Jul 9, 2005, FutureRockStar from Newbury Park, CA wrote:

this plant grows on a hill on my aunts property. for years she has been trying to get rid of it, but with no success. this plant is a pain to get rid of!!!

if any one knows how to get rid of it, please e-mail me at:
[email protected]


On Mar 23, 2004, jh_sanders from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

We love this plant! It grows like crazy, so it might be called invasive, but it's easy to clip away and isn't hard to pull out. It propogates very easily from clippings, and once established hardly needs any water. It's a great plant for filling in a large area and I've been able to fill in several bedsfrom one 4-inch pot . It's done well in both shade and sun, and easily recovered from being frozen.


On Apr 22, 2003, Kelli from L.A. (Canoga Park), CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

I find it kind of blah, but "familiarity breeds contempt", they say.


On Apr 22, 2003, Zanymuse from Scotia, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Having been warned it could be invasive, I grew this in a pot and it did wonderfully. It looked great trailing from a hanging basket and stayed looking full when pinched back to incourage branching out.


On Sep 9, 2002, jkom51 from Oakland, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

This iceplant relative is a terrific groundcover IF you are able to keep it confined; e.g., urban areas. It is an extremely aggressive grower and will overrun native species so do NOT plant this if you are near a park, wildland area, etc. 6-8" H, length infinite if you water it. Color is very bright clear green, unusual in a succulent-type plant. Without water it gets an amber or reddish tone. Flowers are bright red, like little ox-eye daisies that form at the base of each pair of leaves. Bees absolutely love it. Also excellent as a trailing plant over walls, or in planters. I keep it in-bounds by occasionally ripping off runners or even yanking out entire plants. Tough plant; even a single leaf left will resprout. It loves No. Cal. weather and a single flat will cover an entire city lot i... read more