Aptenia cordifolia/Mesembryanthemum cordifolium f. variegata-Heartleaf Ice Plant, Baby Sun Rose, Dew Plant

Aptenia cordifolia/Mesembryanthemum cordifolium f. variegata after I brought it home on 5-1-19, #564-2.

Heartleaf Ice Plant, Baby Sun Rose, Dew Plant, Etc. 

Aptenia cordifolia f. variegata  

ap-TEN-ee uh  kor-di-FOH-lee-uh


Mesembryanthemum cordifolium

mes-em-bry-ANTH-ee-mum  kor-di-FOH-lee-um

Aptenia cordifolia (L.f.) Schwantes is the scientific name of one parent. It was named and described as such by Martin Heinrich Gustav Schwantes in Gartenflora in 1928. It was first named and described as Mesembryanthemum cordifolium L.f. by Carl Linnaeus the Younger in Supplementum Plantarum Systematis Vegetabilium… in 1782. Carl Linnaeus the Younger is the son of Carl Linnaeus, who is considered the father of modern taxonomy. Carl Linnaeus described the Mesembryanthemum genus in 1753. I am not sure if he named the genus or re-named it but he does get the credit.

The genus, Aptenia N.E.Brown, was named and described by Nicholas Edward Brown in Gardener’s Chronicle in 1925.

Aptenia cordifolia was moved back into the Mesembryanthemum genus in 2007, but in 2009, several authors proposed this move be reversed. Although Plants of the World Online continues to list Mesembryanthemum cordifolium as the current accepted scientific name, you can find it by both names online. Even when you go to the Wikipedia page about the Mesembryanthemum genus, click on Mesembryanthemum cordifolium and the link takes you to the Aptenia cordifolia page which was last updated in January 2019. 

Many plant names are changing because there are so many plants with multiple scientific names and being misplaced. It is a continual work in progress. Some databases and websites don’t update that often and the industry sells mislabeled plants all the time. How would the rest of the world know when plant names change anyway?


Aptenia cordifolia/Mesembryanthemum cordifolium f. variegate leaves on 5-1-19, #564-3.

There are no set rules for what scientific name you use as long as it was validly published. There are rules for that. 🙂 Since this is my blog, I think I am going to stick with the name Aptenia cordifolia f. variegata. Its leaves are completely different than any Mesembryanthemum I have grown. Oh, wait a minute! I haven’t grown any. I have grown a few Delosperma cooperi, though, which are very similar and were also once in the Mesembryanthemum genus.

When I came home I took photos and went online and types in “variegated Ice Plant” and found Aptenia cordifolia f. variegata. The flowers of my plant seemed pretty red at first but Aptenia cordifolia flowers aren’t supposed to be red. Normally their flowers are bright pink to magenta-purple but there may be white mutations.


Aptenia cordifolia/Mesembryanthemum cordifolium f. variegata flower on 5-6-19< #567-1.

The flower of the plant I brought home was closed up when I took the first photos on May 1. I didn’t get a photo of the flower until May 6. Their flowers only open certain times of the day and I prefer taking mine in the late afternoon/early evening… After this one is already closed. Unlike the Delosperma I have grown before, these plants flowers seem stemless and just kind of stick right out of the end of the plant. As you can see from the photo, the flower isn’t red.

There is a hybrid of this plant between Aptenia cordifolia and Aptenia haeckeliana that produces red flowers. Proven Winners has a variegated selection called Mezoo™ Trailing Red. They say it is a Mesembryanthemum Hybrid and the common name is Livingstone Daisy. Hmmm…


Family: Aizoaceae
Origin: South Africa
Zones: USDA Zones 10a-11 (30-40° F)
Size: Hmmm… Dave’s Garden says 6-12” tall and space them 18-24” apart. 🙂
Light: Sun to light shade
Soil: Well-draining mix as with most cactus and succulents. Potting soil amended with pumice or grit and perlite
Water: Regular watering spring through fall. Water only when leaves start to shrivel during the winter.
Propagation: Easy to propagate with stem cuttings. 


This is the first year I have seen this plant available at the four local greenhouses. They have them in a lot of combination planters and hanging baskets/ Wagler’s however, was the only one that had them available individually. I did some planters for a friend and added several of them.

Since I just started growing this plant I don’t have any personal experience to share. I will continue adding more photos and information as time goes by.

I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant.