08 February 2015

Iberis Sempervirens Snowflake is Candytuft

Candytuft seedlings are ready for transplant in the shed. Planted on Jan. 9th, it took them almost a month to grow the first set of true leaves.

This reliable perennial beauty prefers cool weather and fades in the heat of summer. Plant them where they can be in full sun in the spring and then partially shaded in the fall. When the foliage fades in the summer, it can be pruned back to keep the plants compact and more attractive.

We're putting an entire flat of them on the berm of the new bio-swale. Over there they will be in sun in the spring because the Osage Orange trees nearby leaf out very very late in the spring. Drainage is key to success so they will have a home in the gravel-sand mix that was dug out to make the swale.

Nurseries usually propagate by taking cuttings but we're big on trying everything from seed before we purchase anything. They are cold-hardy in zones 3-8. Rabbits, deer and drought don't bother the plants since they are woody-stemmed.

In Europe the Candytuft they plant is Iberis umbellata. They are great edging plants and will spill over walls as they mature to their full-size.

Surprisingly, Candytuft is related to cabbage, therefore the dislike of summer heat.

Iberis sempervirens spreads to 2-feet across and 8-12 inches tall.

The flower clusters bloom for a few weeks and are white as the name indicates.

The genus Iberis was named by Linnaeus for Spain's Iberian Peninsula where they were discovered. It translates to evergreen. The Iberis sempervirens varieties you'll find include Autumn Snow, Alexander's White, Purity and Snowflake.

Missouri Botanical Garden rates it as one of their "tried and trouble free".  The roots are significant after only a few weeks!




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