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Pigface Plant Varieties to Grow in Australia

If you want to grow pigface in your garden, it’s best to try and stick to native varieties in order to avoid the spread of introduced species into natural areas.

Pigface are a common succulent plant that is super easy to grow and very drought-tolerant. Native species are often found along the coast where they grow happily in sandy soils.

However, there are also numerous introduced species coming from South Africa, South America and California that have become invasive as they spread naturally along our coastlines and bushland areas.

Which species of pigface are regarded as invasive around the country?

According to the State Herbarium of South Australia, Carpobrotus edulis (yellow flowers) is regarded as an invasive species and environmental weed not only in Australia but also in 24 countries around the world.

pigface Carpobrotus edulis | Plant varieties

The problem with this species is that it can easily hybridise with our own native pigface and this makes it difficult to identify the pest species from the native species.

Pigface varieties to grow in Australia

If you want to grow pigface in your garden, it’s best to try and stick to native varieties in order to avoid the spread of introduced species into natural areas. Here are a few to consider.

Carpobrotus glaucescens

Pigface Carpobrotus glaucescens | Plant varieties

This species is commonly found along the coast of Eastern Australia. It grows mainly on sand dunes and is actually regarded as an edible bushfood.

The plant has deep to mid-green fleshy leaves and bright pink flowers. As the flowers fade, the plant produces red to purple fruits that taste somewhat like salty strawberries. 

The leaves are also edible and have a salty taste. Additionally, the juice from the leaves is a natural remedy to soothe sunburn and stings. 

This native succulent likes to grow in full sun but will also handle part shade. It will grow to a height of 20 cm but will spread to a width of 2 metres.

Carpobrotus glaucescens ‘Aussie Rambler’

This is an Australian-bred cultivar and is similar to the C. glaucescens species. However, this cultivar has much larger flowers that are still bright pink in colour.

The leaves of this cultivar are also longer and thicker than the species and have pink to purple tinges. This variety will grow to a height of 0.2 metres and a width of 2 metres. 

It’s perfect for growing in rockeries or as a ground cover in other garden beds. It also grows well in pots. 

This is a very hardy plant being both drought and cold-tolerant. In fact, it can survive in temperatures as low as minus 8 degrees Celsius.

Carpobrotus modestus

Pigface Carpobrotus modestus | Plant varieties

This pretty native species is commonly referred to as inland pigface because it grows naturally in inland areas rather than along the coast. It has similar fleshy green leaves and flowers that are a paler pink in colour.

This variety can reach a height of 30 cm and will spread to a width of 60 cm.

Carpobrotus rossii

Pigface Carpobrotus rossii | Plant varieties

This species of pigface is native to South Australia. It features the same fleshy green leaves and bright pink flowers as other native species of pigface. 

Carpobrotus rossii ‘Pink Passion’

This is another cultivar bred for its large bright pink flowers that appear in spring and summer. This cultivar will reach a height of 0.3 metres and a spread of up to 3 metres.

It’s a fast-growing plant and is very useful for stabilising banks and sand dunes. Because all the parts of the plant are edible, it’s particularly suitable for growing in and around playgrounds.

Mesembryanthemum cooperi ‘Pink Dwarf’

This is another pigface cultivar. It has dainty pale pink flowers and slender fleshy leaves. This one is a slightly smaller growing plant reaching a height of 0.15 metres and a spread of 1.5 metres.

However, this cultivar is not native to Australia, so you will need to ensure that you contain it within your garden.

FAQ

Which pigface are native to Australia?

The Carpobrotus rossii and Carpobrotus modestus are two Australian species of pigface that are native to South Australia. Other native species include Carpobrotus glaucescens, Sarcozona bicarinata and Sarcozona praecox.

Does pigface spread?

Yes, pigface can spread quite rapidly over a fairly large area. However, it can easily be cut back to stop it from invading areas where you don’t want it to grow.

Do you cut back pigface?

Cutting back your pigface is important so that it doesn’t spread into other garden areas.

Does pigface need full sun?

Ideally, you should grow pigface in full sun but it will also tolerate part shade. Plants grown in full sun will generally flower better.

Is pigface a good ground cover?

Pigface is an exceptional ground cover because it forms a thick mat that helps to crowd out weeds.

Does pigface have deep roots?

Pigface has an extensive root system that is very good at stabilising soil, especially sand. The roots are not particularly deep but they can cover a large area.

Photo of author

Annette Hird

Annette Hird is a gardening expert with many years of experience in a range of gardening related positions. She has an Associate Diploma of Applied Science in Horticulture and has worked in a variety of production nurseries, primarily as a propagator. She has also been responsible for a large homestead garden that included lawn care, fruit trees, roses and many other ornamental plants. More recently, Annette has concentrated on improving the garden landscape of the homes that she has lived in and focused a lot of energy on growing edible plants as well. She now enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge with others by writing articles about all facets of gardening and growing plants.

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