Iberis sempervirens 'Weisser Zwerg'
Common Name: candytuft
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Brassicaceae
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: March to May
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Drought

Culture

Typically grown in medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Less floriferous if grown in part shade. Well-drained soil is the key to growing this plant well. Tolerant of drought. 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 a modest covering of evergreen boughs in winter to help minimize potential damage from sun scorch and desiccation. Plant foliage often benefits in winter from snow cover. 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 comes from the Greek word iberis indicating a plant from Iberia.

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

'Weisser Zwerg' (from German means white dwarf) has been commonly sold for many years under the name of 'Little Gem'. This cultivar is shorter and more compact than the species, typically growing to only 5-8" tall and spreading to 12-18" wide or more.

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. Additional potential problems include downy mildew, powdery mildew, gray mold, rust and fungal leaf spots. Watch for slugs, snails and caterpillars.

Garden Uses

Excellent edging for borders, paths or walkways. Rock gardens. Sprawl over a wall. Interesting ground cover for small, sunny areas. Containers.