Iberis sempervirens - (Perennial candytuft)

Iberis sempervirens
Iberis sempervirens

Botanical Name: Iberis
Cultivar: sempervirens (syn. commutata)
Family: Brassicaceae (cabbage)
Common Names: perennial candytuft
Foliage: Flowers:
Flowering Period: late spring

Description

An easy to grow perennial that is tolerant of poor soils and difficult conditions. These reliable spreading plants will pack a punch of colour at the edge of the border or in the rock garden. In partiular, the variety I. s. 'Snowflake' (shown above) provides some of the purest white blooms in spring.

Characteristics

  • Habit: low growing, spreading, branched
  • Leaves: narrow, dark green leaves. Evergreen.
  • Flowers: dense heads of pure white flowers 1.5in (4cm) across. Initially flattish but later becoming rounded. Pink or purple forms are also available.
  • Height to: 1ft (30cm)
  • Conditions: full sun or partial shade. Any aspect, in either a sheltered or exposed site.
  • Type: evergreen perennial or sub-shrub
  • Hardiness in UK: hardy throughout the UK (down to -15).
  • Soil Requirements: any good, moist but free draining garden soil (sandy, loam or chalk). Alkaline or neutral pH. Will tollerate poor soils.
  • Origin: Southern Europe and southwest Asia.

Planting Context

Suitable for rock gardens, scree or gravel beds, borders and path edging. Can be invasive.

Planting Iberis sempervirens

For best results plant in small groups, 6 to 8in (15-20cm) apart, in a light, well draining, slightly alkaline soil, in full sun.

Aftercare

Water thoroughly during dry weather until well established. Mulch with organic matter in spring and add a general fertilizer such as bonemeal.

Trim lightly after flowering to maintain compactness.

Pests and Diseases

Prone to slugs, snails, flea beatle and caterpillars. Generally disease free.

Propagation

Propagate from seed or semi-hardwood cuttings in mid-summer. Pot-up overwinter and plant out in the spring.