How to Grow and Care For Delosperma echinatum – Pickle Plant

The Delosperma echinatum is a small flowering, shrubby, ornamental plant, from the succulent family, is also known as the Pickle Plant. The Pickle Plant is native to the South African beaches and desert areas. The Pickle plant grows like a shrub and spreads quickly. It is one of the easiest to grow succulent plants. It also can survive outside its natural environment. But sometimes, extreme weather conditions and some climates can threaten the growth of the plant.

You can avoid that by growing the Pickle Plants in indoor and controlled environments. For example, in cold regions, you can grow them in greenhouses, while in warm regions, you can place them indoors to protect them from harmful ultraviolet light exposure for a long time. With a balanced amount of care, you can easily grow the Pickle Plant anywhere in the world. Below is a complete growing and caring guide for the Pickle Plant.

Overview

Common NamePickle Plant
Scientific NameDelosperma echinatum
Genus, Family Delosperma, Aizoaceae
Size, TypeSmall, Succulent
Color of stem, leaves, and flowersLeaves and stems are green, while the flowers are yellow.
Flowering SeasonFlowering starts in the early spring season and continues for over a month.
Perennial/Annual.Perennial and evergreen
HardinessUSDA hardiness regions 7a to 10b.
Temperature range0 to 40 F or -17 to 4 C.
Sunlight Full exposure,
Growth RateIt has a slow growth rate

Lineage

The Pickle Plant is a succulent plant from the Aizoaceae family. It is a member of the Aizoaceae family, sub-category Delosperma genus. The Delosperma genus is a group of more than 100 species. Some of these species also have multiple sub-species as well. Meanwhile, the Aizoaceae family has more than 135 genera and 1800 species in it. This is one of the biggest succulent plant families. Most members of this family are from a similar climate range in South Africa. They are capable of surviving without the rain in desert mountain areas.

Appearance

The Pickle Plant has an evergreen appearance. Its leaves do not fall during the winter, or fall season. This small shrub can grow up to a few inches if grown in optimal conditions. In small containers, they can reach 6 to 8 inches in height and 10 inches in spread. The leaves of this plant are green. The stem is also green. Its leaves grow from the stem and branches. Leaves are elongated and have white fur or spines on them. Each branch can have multiple leaves, while the edge of the branch grows into a small bud that changes into a beautiful yellow daisy-like flower. The petals of this flower are small. Its round and thick leaves can store water in them, this is how these plants survive if there is no rainfall in their region. Their small size makes them a perfect choice for small containers and indoor decoration.

Flowering

Flowering of the Pickle Plants starts during the summer and continues till the fall season. These flowers grow from small buds that are present at the end of the branches in the Pickle Plant. Flowers of the Pickle plants have a mostly yellow color, but in some subspecies, white and other colors are also present. These flowers attract insects that help the plants to pollinate and produce seeds for further growth. After these flowers turn into seed pods, you can separate them from the plant and store them.

Natural Habitat

The Delosperma echinatum or Pickle Plants are native to South Africa. They like slightly warm conditions to grow. In cold conditions, they can grow but they die if the winters are extremely cold. They cannot survive temperatures below 0 F. So, if you are growing the Pickle Plants in cold regions, you must consider planting them indoors or in a greenhouse. If you are growing them indoors, make sure to keep them under the sunlight as they receive plenty of sunlight in their natural habitat. They do not grow under the shade of other trees very well. To see a boasted growth outside their natural environment, you should make sure that you are providing your plants an optimum environment.

Facts

Below are some of the basic facts about Pickle Plant:

  • The Delosperma echinatum is known as Pickle Plant.
  • The Pickle Plant is native to South Africa.
  • It is one of the flowering succulent plants.
  • It is a small plant and grown worldwide as an ornamental plant for indoor decoration.

Requirements to Grow Delosperma echinatum – Pickle Plant

Soil Porous, and well-draining soil that contains all the basic nutrients.
Sun Full sun to partial shade is the best setting for this plant.
Water Regulated water supply, depending on age, size, and other factors.
Fertilizer Fertilizing the plants once a month or every 40 days is enough.
Temperature It thrives in warm settings, but can also grow in cold areas well. It needs protection from snowfall.

Soil Requirements

The Delosperma echinatum plant or Pickle Plant has similar soil requirements to most other succulent plants. It needs the soil to be full of nutrients that it would need to grow and propagate. Apart from that, it needs soil that is porous and can let the excess water move out quickly. It should not store water in it for a long time. You can buy this type of soil from online and offline stores or you can create such soil for your plants on your own. You can do this by adding compost, fertilizer, soil, sand, pumice, and perlite to the potting soil mixture. The compost and fertilizer provide all the nutrients that are needed, while the sand and soil mixture makes the soil well-draining, the pumice and perlite are small stones that block the soil from moving out while the excess water flows through these rocks. In this type of soil, your Pickle plant would show a boosted growth.

Sunlight Requirements

The Delosperma echinatum or Pickle Plant needs plenty of sunlight to grow properly and thrive. This plant can also grow in a partially shaded place or an indoor environment, but still, it would need a constant supply of light during the time. Low light exposure can lead to the death of the Pickle plant. That is why if you are growing it in an indoor environment, make sure to keep it somewhere bright. If you have an open window, placing it near that window would be better. Low light can induce many problems including slow growth, and death of the plant leaves and flowers. That is why you should provide your plants with plenty of light exposure. Full sun to partial shade environments on the outside are perfect for the growth of Pickle Plants. 

Temperature Requirements

The Delosperma echinatum plants need a slightly warm environment to grow. They thrive when the temperature is moderate. This is a succulent plant that can be grown in cold regions as well as can grow below zero degrees as well. However, it is unable to survive the snowfall. So, if you are growing it in a cold region, you must protect it from snowfall. You can keep it indoors during the extreme winter and outdoors when the temperatures start to normalize. You can also grow it in a greenhouse environment where the temperature is controlled. If you are growing it in a very hot region, you will have to protect it from the harmful sunlight and very extreme temperatures between June and August. You can place it indoors during the hot summer and put it outdoors during the normal temperature season.

Water Requirements

The Pickle Plant or Delosperma echinatum is a succulent plant and has thick leaves that can store water for its survival. That is how this plant can survive without water for a  few days. But prolonged dryness can cause the death of the plants as well. That is why you must keep checking the plant for watering needs. Below is a small guide to help you properly water the Pickle Plants.

  • Smaller Pickle Plants cannot store water for their survival which is why they need frequent watering. That is why you should water your small plants more often.
  • As the plant grows, you can reduce the frequency of watering. But you should increase the amount of water every time you provide water to the Pickle Plant. This would allow the growing plant to consume more water and grow faster.
  • A mature plant only needs water once the soil runs dry. You can check the potting soil for moisture. If the upper layer of the soil contains any moisture, then you should not water your plant. But if the soil is dry, you should water your plant.
  • In most areas, watering during the summer is more frequent than in the cold winters. The same goes for the hot and cold regions. In cold regions, the Pickle plant needs less watering but in the warm regions, the Pickle Plant needs more frequent watering and more water.
  • According to experts, a watering gap of 5 to 7 days is enough to achieve a balanced water supply. 

Fertilizers Requirements

Fertilizers contain important nutrients that are essential for the growth of the Delosperma echinatum or the Pickle plant. Usually, fertilizers are mixed with the soil while planting to create a balanced soil. But as the plant grows, it consumes all the nutrients from the soil and creates a nutrients deficiency. When this happens the growth rate of your plant starts to decrease and leaves and the flowers of this plant start to change color. Without the nutrients, growth would halt and the plant would die. To avoid this, you should provide fertilizers to your plants.

  • Create a mixture of water and fertilizer.
  • Feed this mixture to your plants while watering every month.
  • Do not over fertilizer your plants, as it is also harmful to the plants.

Repotting

The Delosperma echinatum plant requires repotting once every year. As it is an evergreen plant, it keeps growing throughout the year and outgrows the pot it is kept in. When this happens, you should replant the Pickle Plant otherwise, its root would not find proper space to grow and they would restrict the growth of the entire plant. To replant the Pickle Plant, you should prepare a new pot that is slightly bigger, and fill it with the required soil. After that, you can uproot the plant from the pot it is already in and transfer it to the new pot. Be careful during the transfer and try not to damage the roots of the Pickle Plant.

Pruning

The Pickle Plant grows in all directions and spreads very quickly. To maintain its growth, and also to create a beautiful look, you can prune the parts of the plant. Pruning allows the plant to conserve water and other nutrient resources. It also helps boost the growth of the plant towards the area where you want it. You can cut off the extra parts, dead flowers, and leaves and get rid of the extra branches. Pruning should be done after the fall season at least once a year.

Problems

The Pickle Plant or Delosperma echinatum plant can be attacked by a lot of pests. The most common pests and problems include root rot, leaf color change, mealy bugs, and spider mites. If it is attacked by a pest, you can use pesticides. But in case of root rot, you would need to control the water supply for the plant as it is caused if the soil is trapping water, or if you are watering your plant more frequently. In this case, changing the potting soil, and becoming regular in watering helps. Meanwhile, if the leaves of this plant are changing color, this can be due to nutrients deficiency. You should add some fertilizers to the soil and the plant would return to its natural leaf color.

Propagation

There are three methods to grow this plant. That includes cuttings, seeds, and division methods.

  • Cuttings: If you want to grow your plant with the help of stem cuttings. You should take cuttings from a mature plant. Cuttings should be at least 5 to 6 inches long. After planting the cuttings, make sure to water them.
  • Division: if you want to grow them by division method, you should divide the plant into two halves. You can plant each half into a separate pot. After planting the divided stems, make sure to water them.
  • Seeds: If you are looking forward to growing them using the seeds, you should scatter the seeds over the surface of the soil. Covering the seeds would not let the new saplings grow. For that reason, you should only scatter the seeds and do not cover them. You can also provide some water.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Which method is the best to grow Pickle Plant?

The division method is known as the best method to grow the Pickle Plant. As in the case of division, you get two already partially grown plants. While both other methods require starting from the caring of the saplings and cuttings and take a lot more time to grow.

Question: Why is my Pickle Plant turning brown?

If your Pickle Plant is changing color, it can be due to these three reasons, overwatering, underwatering, nutrients deficiency. Overwatering causes root rot in the plant and that is why it might die. When this happens, your plant changes its color. Also, if the plant is not receiving enough water, it will die and change its color. Pickle plants can also change their color to brown if they are not receiving enough fertilizer.