Carithers Flowers Design Favorite
Candytuft (Iberis), a member of the Brassicaceae family, is a beautiful flowering plant having annual and perennial species. The name “candytuft” refers not to candy, but to Candia, the former name of Iraklion on the island of Crete. Perennial candytuft (Iberis sempervirens) is an herbaceous petite shrub that was used in colonial times as a remedy for stomach ailments, rheumatism, gout and respiratory illness. Although the entire plant is edible, it is so bitter that no practical home remedies are advised.
Candytuft is a low-growing plant, reaching only 6-12” in height, with woody stems and needle-like leaves. In early spring, it produces a dense carpet of blinding white flowers that cover the entire plant, making a spectacular garden show. The annual varieties (Iberis umbellata), such as “Rocket Candytuft” or “Globe Candytuft”, grow a bit taller than the perennial and form mounds of white, pink, purple, red or bicolor blooms. All varieties may continue to bloom intermittently throughout the summer. Perennial variety “Autumn Snow” flowers again in the fall.
Growing Recommendations - Candytuft
Candytufts do well in many different garden spots, especially rock gardens, as ground cover, as a border plant for walkways and paths, or to spill over a wall. “Rock Candytuft” is a popular perennial variety for rock gardens and groundcovers since it grows to only 6” tall. Candytuft is a low-maintenance plant, but does require well-drained soil and full sun to minimal shade. It is a fast grower if it likes its garden spot. Its flowers are fragrant and attractive to bees, butterflies and birds. It is easy to grow candytuft from seeds or cuttings. Perennial seeds germinate in about 2 weeks and annuals flower from seed within several months. Cuttings are slow to take root, but will do so successfully if the weather is warm and the cuttings are green and watered. Root division of candytuft is difficult because the stems of the plant break easily.