Environmental Landscape Design Specialist

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Delosperma tradescantioides cv hickman

Plant suitable for use on Green Roofs in the Durban Area

Delospermum tradescantioides

Delosperma tradescantioides
is one of a number of plant species which are presently being tested for their suitability to be grown as Green Roof plants in the Durban region that have initially shown good results. They all occur naturally within a radius of 50 km of the Durban city centre

The plants that I am growing were found growing in full sun and partial shade in the dry portions of north facing cliffs inland of Durban overlooking the Umgeni River Valley.

Growth habit
A small spreading succulent with a tuberous root system. The cultivar being grown is a much smaller less vigourous growning plant than the cultivar commonly found in cultivation for landscape purposes. They reproduce naturally by means of seed which germinates readily.

Decorative value
Delosperma tradescantioides are being grown primarily for their neat growth habit and attractive flowers

Drought resistance
Delosperma tradescantioides can survive periods of drought.

Disease and pest resistance
To date I have not  seen any pests on the plants neither have I noticed any diseases

Suitability as Green Roof plants
These plants are valuable in plantings that are going to get the very minimum of or no water in winter as well in combinations with other plants that do not have a very vigorous nature. Delosperma tradescantioides multiplies freely from seed.

Biodiversity value in the Green Roof landscape
Their flowers attract large numbers of insects in particular bees and small butterlies.

Cautions and precautions in the Green Roof application
Care must be taken to ensure good drainage.

Crassulacean acid metabolism
Drought responses of diurnal gas exchange, malic acid accumulation and water status in Delosperma tradescantioides. When well-watered, this species exhibited Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM)-cycling, but its carbon fixation pattem changed during the development of drought, shifting to either low-level CAM or to CAM-idling. The rate and pattem of this change depended on environmental conditions, duration of water stress and leaf age. At the onset of drought, diurnal malate fluctuation increased, but was strongly depressed (by ca 70%) as drought continued, and when leaf water content and water potential were low (ca 35 and 50% of the initial levels, respectively). When rewatered, rates of growth and photosynthesis, gas exchange and water status recovered fully to pre-stressed values within two days. Whole-shoot carbon uptake rates suggested that leaf growth had continued unabated during a short-term ( one week) drought. This emphasises that CAM-idling allows the maintenance of active metabolism with negligible gas exchange when soil water is limiting. It is possible that old or senescent leaves may provide water for the expansion of developing leaves during initial periods of drought. Regardless of the water regime and environmental conditions, leaf nocturnal malate accumulation and water content were positively correlated and increased with leaf age. Thus the gradual loss of water from older mature leaves may induce CAM-idling, which reduces water loss. An important ecological consequence of this combination of CAM modes is the potential to switch rapidly between fast growth via C3 gas exchanges when well-watered to water-conserving CAM-idling during drought.

Ecoman Durban Indigenous Landscape Design Consultant

Bio-Diverse Indigenous Landscaping I design landscapes and gardens that are Bio-Diverse as well as being pleasing to the eye

Landscapes and Gardens that are Nature Friendly

I use my many years of landscape planning and design as well as landscape construction experience coupled to my vast knowledge of the requirements of nature to create habitat suitable for birds, butterflies and other creatures to live and breed in.


I always apply the basic principles of good landscape design to create an aesthetically pleasing garden that at the same time satisfies the living requirements of the target creatures that I would like to attract. My speciality is to attract birds, butterflies and solitary bees. I design and build Bio-Diverse Roof Gardens


So let Ecoman design and create a garden for you that will be a haven for wildlife such as birds, butterflies, frogs and lizards in the number of species comparable to Kruger National Park.

For all of your Green Roof and landscape requirements contact Michael Hickman Specialist in Green Roof Technology at +27 82 061 2593 or email at info@ecoman.co.za

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This page was created on 21.09.09
This page was last updated on 21.10.13