Iberis sempervirens

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 7 Professionals
Common Name: candytuft
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Brassicaceae
Native Range: Southern Europe
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Ground Cover
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Drought

Culture

Best grown in average, well-drained soils in full sun. Less floriferous if grown in part shade. Well-drained soil is the key to growing this plant well. Cut or sheer plants stems back by 1/3 after flowering to encourage new growth and to maintain compact habit. In cold winter climates, mulch plants with evergreen boughs in winter to help minimize potential damage from sun scorch and desiccation. Stems may root where they touch the ground creating new plants which can be left as is or transplanted to other areas.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Iberis sempervirens, commonly called candytuft, is a low-growing, spreading, woody-based, herbaceous perennial or sub-shrub which typically forms a foliage mound rising to 6-12” tall and spreading to 18” wide or more. It is native to southern Europe. It is evergreen in warm winter climates, but semi-evergreen in cold winter climates where the foliage may become straggly or otherwise suffer significant decline in harsh winters. Small, pure white, 4-petaled flowers in dense, flattened clusters (corymbs) appear in a profuse, early-to-late-spring bloom (March-May), the density of which often totally obscures the foliage beneath. Flowers sometimes gradually age to light pink. Numerous, oblong, entire, narrow, dark green, leathery leaves (1-1.5” long).

Genus name is in reference to Iberia (peninsula formed by Spain and Portugal).

Specific epithet means always (semper) green (folia) in reference to the evergreen plant foliage.

Problems

Wet, poorly-drained soils inevitably lead to crown rot which can devastate plantings. Susceptible to club root which results in stunted growth. Desiccation and sun scorch may damage the evergreen foliage in cold winter climates.

Garden Uses

Excellent edging plant (many of the cultivars of this species are more compact and may make even better edgers) for borders, paths or walkways. Rock gardens or sprawl over a wall. Interesting ground cover for small, sunny areas.