Eye Candy for the Spring Garden

Pretty to look at and enjoy… Now is the time to plant candytuft in your garden.

Iberis sempervirens, commonly called candytuft, is one tough perennial. It has few, if any rules, to keep it happy. And it rewards with profusions of white flowers in April and May and evergreen foliage that is semi-evergreen during the winter months.

Here’s the skinny on Candytuft: hardy in zones 3-8 (we are considered zone 7 on Long Island); full sun locations; fertile soil that is well-drained (yet adapts to poorer soils); mounding, spreading habit; will tolerate some drought conditions once established.

How to use: as an edger along walkways, paths, rock gardens, flower borders, en masse as a groundcover. Candytuft naturally cascades along rocky ledges and walls.

Quick care tip: after blooming, shear back the plant to keep it lush. (It may bloom sporadically during the season.) Older plants can benefit from a good haircut in early spring before growth begins; the best way to avoid ‘legginess’.

Things to avoid: soil that is too wet, or poorly drained gives way to crown rot. In colder areas, winter can cause the foliage to scorch, better to cover with a mulch of pine boughs for protection.