Iberis or candytuft: A versatile plant with vibrant flower blooms for your garden
Iberis, commonly known as candytuft, is an herbaceous plant from the Brassicaceae family, native to the Mediterranean region and parts of Asia. During the spring, candytuft blooms pink, red, purple, or white flowers surrounded by dark-green leaves that attract a host of pollinators. In warmer climates, candytuft offers an evergreen ground cover during winter. The evergreen candytuft and perennial candytuft work great for creating a flower border or edging along a rock garden, retaining wall, or walkway.
How to Plant Candytuft
Plant candytuft in early spring, starting seed germination toward the end of the frost season.
- Germinate the seedlings. To grow candytuft, you’ll first need to germinate the seeds indoors for around 16–20 days. Candytuft seeds require a soil temperature between 75–85 degrees Fahrenheit to germinate successfully. Fill a plant pot with soil, place your seeds a ¼-inch deep, and cover them with soil. Use a spray bottle to moisten the soil, then place the pot in a sunny spot to encourage germination, which takes two to three weeks.
- Choose a planting site. Once your seeds begin to sprout, select a site to grow your candytuft plant, which requires full sun and well-draining soil to thrive. Find an outdoor spot that receives at least five hours of direct sunlight throughout the day.
- Prepare the soil. Remove any rocks, leaves, or sticks from the planting site, and use a garden rake (or your hands) to loosen the soil. While candytuft is a hardy plant, you can amend the soil with organic matter to provide it with extra nutrients.
- Transfer the candytuft to the garden. After your candytuft seeds have fully sprouted, transfer them into the soil, spacing the seedlings 8–10 inches apart so they have ample room to grow.
- Water the site thoroughly. Water the soil well to establish the plant’s roots. Continue watering regularly until your candytuft reaches its full height.
Good for accent areas borders, walkways, and rock gardens, It works well in containers or over a rock wall. Cut candytuft back severely at least every other year to ensure that it does not become tall and leggy; candytuft is actually a woody subshrub, but is often treated as a herbaceous perennial; this plant is occasionally damaged by deer. Candytuft is drought tolerant, moderately salt-tolerant, deer and rabbit resistant.
5 Care Tips for Candytuft
Candytuft is a drought-tolerant, low-maintenance plant that’s rabbit- and deer-resistant. Here are a few tips on how to care for your candytuft flowers:
- Grow the plant in full sun. While candytuft can tolerate partial shade, it grows best in full sun. Growing your candytuft in a sunny spot will also help promote good water drainage, which is important because soggy soil can adversely affect the plant’s growth and signature blooms.
- Use the right soil. Candytuft grows best in alkaline soil, with a pH above 7.0. You can increase the soil’s pH levels by adding organic matter, such as mulch, to the surrounding area. Candytuft prefers sandy soil over clay soil, which is similar to the soil in their natural environment in southern Europe.
- Water the soil regularly until maturity. Water regularly after first planting your candytuft to encourage it to grow. After your candytuft has reached its full height, you can water your candytuft less frequently, about once a week.
- Prune the plant on a routine basis. Trimming the top of your candytuft foliage will help new leaves and flowers bloom and keep the stems growing straight and upright. As you prune the top of your candytuft, also remove dead flowers to encourage new growth.
- Monitor for root rot. Unlike other flowers, candytuft is resistant to most pests and plant diseases: Its main threat is root rot. However, planting your candytuft in well-draining sandy soil can protect the roots from water damage.