Content Detail

Candytuft is a semi-evergreen to evergreen ground cover that produces masses of white flowers in late spring and early summer.

  • Family (English) Mustard
  • Family (botanic) Brassicaceae (formerly Cruciferae)
  • Tree or plant type Ground cover, Perennial
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Small plant (6-12 inches)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Dry sites
  • Season of interest early spring, late spring, early summer
  • Flower color and fragrance White
  • Shape or form Creeping
  • Growth rate Slow

Size and Method of spreading:

Candytuft grows 10 to 12 inches high and can spread up to 3 feet wide. It is a trailing, rooting ground cover. Trailing-rooting ground covers have trailing stems that spread out from a central root system. These stems spread out horizontally over the ground and can root where they come in contact with the soil. New shoots will be formed at the point where rooting occurs.

Native geographic location and habitat:

Native to Europe.

Leaf description:

The small, alternate leaves are evergreen, but may need some protection from winter winds in northern climates. They are narrow, dark green and very glossy.

Flower description:

Numerous small, white flowers are produced in round, flattened clusters in mid to late spring. Flowers are often abundant enough to hide most of the foliage.

Fruit description:

Fruits are small, pod-like, and not ornamentally important.

Plant care:

Best growth is in full sun or partial shade. Candytuft must have good drainage and does have some tolerance of dry soils. After flowering ends, the plants can be deadheaded with a string trimmer to make them tidy.

List of pests, diseases, tolerances and resistance:

Nothing serious bothers these, although crown rot can occur if drainage is poor. Resistant to deer.

Alexander’s White Candytuft (Iberis sempervirens ‘Alexander’s White’)

This is a more compact cultivar that produces an abundance of flowers.

Little Gem Candytuft (Iberis sempervirens ‘Little Gem’): 

A cultivar which is much shorter than the species, growing 6 inches high, that produces an abundance of flowers.

Purity Candytuft (Iberis sempervirens ‘Purity’):

This cultivar is much shorter than the species at 6 inches high.

Snowflake Candytuft (Iberis sempervirens ‘Snowflake’):  

Flower clusters are larger on this cultivar.


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