Interested in the Aptenia cordifolia plant? It is an excellent plant for the home or office. It makes for an attractive display and can add some color to your space.
This guide will discuss all the essential steps in caring for the beautiful Baby Sun Rose. We explain what it needs to grow, including soil conditions and temperature requirements.
in this article:
About Aptenia cordifolia
Aptenia cordifolia is a mat-forming perennial succulent plant known as Baby Sun Rose or Heart leaf Ice Plant.
This gorgeous species is native to South Africa. However, it has become popular in the US for its drought tolerance, and colorful flowers bloom in summer.
Typically grown as a groundcover or hanging perennial, the Baby Sun Rose is a pleasant, if slightly understated, addition to the garden.
It has deep green leaves dotted with red, daisy-like flowers that appear in the summer and last all the way through autumn.
Related Article: Different types of Echeveria succulents and common varieties
|Botanical Name||Mesembryanthemum cordifolium (Accepted), Aptenia cordifolia|
|Common Name||Baby Sun Rose, Heartleaf Iceplant|
|Light||Full sun, Partial shade|
|Bloom color||Red, Purple|
|Soil||Well-Drained, Loamy, Sandy|
Aptenia cordifolia Care
Aptenia cordifolia is a low-maintenance plant that requires little care. Once established, its care requirements are basically non-existent. Forgiving in nature, it is perfect for beginners.
Aptenia cordifolia requires full sun to partial shade. It can tolerate more shade in hotter climates but will perform better with more sun.
It is best suited as a cascading hanging plant, preferably planted in a hanging basket.
Aptenia cordifolia does best in well-drained soil. It is not picky about soil type but requires good drainage. In containers, use a cactus mix or potting soil with added perlite or sand as needed to improve drainage.
Aptenia cordifolia is drought tolerant once established, so don’t overwater! In the summer months, water only when the soil has dried out completely (usually twice a month).
In winter, reduce watering cadence drastically. You want to keep the soil completely dry if at all possible. There is no need for any nutrients in this season.
Temperature and Humidity
Aptenia cordifolia does best in moderate temperatures. It will tolerate temperatures dropping as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit, but it prefers a minimum of 15°C (59°F). Anything above 60 degrees Fahrenheit is okay.
It is not picky about humidity but prefers drier air than many other succulents.
You will want to fertilize your Aptenia cordifolia regularly. It is a relatively fast-growing plant and requires more nutrients than most succulents. Use a balanced fertilizer with low nitrogen content that is high in phosphorus and potassium.
Aptenia cordifolia can be pruned at any time. It will not die if you cut it back too much, so do not worry about that. If you want to manage the size of your Aptenia, prune off any growing leaves where they should not be growing. You can also remove some of the lower leaves if they get too big and mar the look of the plant.
Potting and Repotting Baby Sun Rose
When you pot up a Baby Sun Rose, use only a small container. It is best to wait until the plant is at least one year old before repotting it. At that time, use a pot with plenty of room for the roots to grow. You can also add fresh soil and fertilizer as needed.
Avoid unnecessary repotting, as this plant likes to be slightly potbound for best growth.
Spring is the optimal season to carry out the repotting process.
How to Repot (Step-by-Step)
- Carefully remove the plant from its old container, taking care not to break any roots as you do so.
- Place it in your new container and fill it with soil mix until there is no more room for more compost or pebbles (you may need to add some additional drainage holes at this point).
- Water well and place it in a warm, sunny spot where it can get plenty of light but also where it won’t be exposed to strong winds.
- Resume the regular care routine after a few days of close monitoring.
Propagating Aptenia cordifolia by Cuttings (Step-by-Step)
The Baby Sun Rose is quite easy to propagate by cuttings. It is best to take cuttings in spring or early summer when the plant is actively growing.
Cuttings should be taken from healthy-looking green stems and about 4 inches long. The cutting length will determine how many plants you can get out of each one.
- Obtain a stem from your parent plant that has at least one set of leaves.
- Cut off the stem and remove any leaves from it that will not be attached to the cutting.
- Allow the cutting to heal and callus over for a few days.
- Place the cutting in a pot filled with soil. Pat down lightly to remove air pockets, but don’t pack them too tightly.
- Water thoroughly, allowing any excess water to drain out quickly.
Propagating Aptenia cordifolia by Seeds (Step-by-Step)
- Sow your seeds in well-drained, sandy potting soil.
- Ensure they receive indirect light and good airflow.
- Water lightly, and don’t overdo it; just enough to moisten the soil’s surface.
- You can also mist them once or twice a day if you have issues with moisture levels drying out too quickly. This helps keep humidity levels high and prevents your plant from getting stressed out during germination.
- Keep your pots in a warm, sheltered area. Do not place them directly outside or in a cold, drafty space. You want to maintain a temperature of around 70°F (21°C) while they are germinating and growing.
After a few weeks, you should see your seeds starting to germinate. The first sign of life is usually a small white root poking its way out of the seed’s shell. Once you see this, it’s time for your next step; transplanting them into larger containers!
Daisy-like red and purple flowers appear in the summer. Usually solitary, the flowers appear on clumps of leaves, complementing the green foliage and creating a beautiful display.
Aptenia cordifolia is non-toxic. But, it is not edible. So, protect it from curious pets.
NOTE: This page is not intended as a substitute for veterinary advice. The toxicity of an ingested substance varies depending on the amount ingested, the animal’s weight, and its sensitivity to specific allergens. Contact your veterinarian or local animal poison control center immediately if you think your pet may have ingested a toxic substance.
Mealybugs are small, white, or cream-colored insects with soft bodies. They have long legs and antennae. Mealybugs can be found on the underside of leaves and stems, where they suck the sap from plants. If left unchecked, mealybugs can kill a plant by sucking out all its nutrients and moisture.
Scale insects are small, immobile insects that live on the surface of plants. They suck the sap from plants, damaging leaves and stems and causing them to die back. Scale insects are usually brown or black but can also be white or yellow. They have a protective shell called an “exoskeleton” that covers their body.
Aphids are tiny, soft-bodied insects that are usually green or black in color. They have long antennae and legs, and some species have wings. Aphids suck the sap from plants, which causes leaves to curl and turn yellow or brown. They also secrete a sticky substance called “honeydew” that can attract ants.
- Placing under harsh sunlight
- Using poorly drained potting mediums
- Fertilizing during dormancy