Candytuft

Candytuft below azalea
Make candytuft (Iberis umbellata) your perennial plant of choice for creating low flower borders. This woody, evergreen plant grows less than 18 inches tall and produces blooms in the spring of white, pink or light purple. Candytuft, which is native to southwest Europe, grows in all areas of the continental U.S. and is cold hardy in USDA planting zones 3 through 9.

How to plant candytuft

Grow candytuft in well-drained soil and in full sun. Plant in the spring from seed or set out potted plants in spring, fall or when potted plants are available from your local garden center. Cultivate the soil to a depth of at 6 inches. If planting seeds, moisten the soil and then spread the seeds. Sunshine is needed for germination, so do not cover the seeds. Keep the soil moist. Candytuft seeds germinate in three to four weeks.

When planting from a pot, dig the hole as deep as the container is tall. Remove the plant from the container and place in the hole. The top of the root ball should be level with the surrounding ground; add or remove soil from the bottom of the hole if necessary.

Care

Spread about 2 inches of pine chips, leaf mold or other preferred organic mulch around the plants. Mulch helps retain moisture and block weed growth. Apply an all-purpose water-soluble fertilizer if desired; follow the manufacture’s instructions. Cut candytuft back about one-third after they stop blooming or leave the blooms so they go to seed and then prune. Even with mulch covering the ground, the seeds will find their way to the soil to sprout the following spring.

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