If you’re looking for a fabulous, drought tolerant ground cover with masses of spring flowers this is the plant for you. Candytuft, Iberis sempervirens, is as sweet as it’s name implies. A dutiful show-stopper, with flowers so prolific they brighten a grey day or even a moonlit night.
It’s all the best wrapped up in one, trouble-free, requiring little water, growing in sunny often hard to plant locations and is deer and bunny resistant. Better still, butterflies flock to it and, when it’s happy, it will spread but is never out of control.
Candytuft is an evergreen subshrub. It can be grown from softwood cuttings, from seed or it will self-propagate by layering — rooting from stems covered in soil. If you’re hoping it will spread once planted, let it layer and strategically move these new plants around or share with a friend.
Grow in full sun and well-drained soil. Shear the top 1/3, giving it a neat, bushy appearance after flowers fade.
This is a cool weather plant, preferring USDA hardiness zones 5 to 9. However, I have it growing quite nicely in zone 10b. Plant in beds, along borders, in rock gardens or at the top of walls for a cascading affect. It grows 6 to 12 inches tall and spreads 1 to 3 feet wide.
Use candytuft in place of phlox or even sweet alyssum. Pair with Walker’s Low Catmint, Artemisia spp. and yarrows. If you’re looking for a shade counterpart try Sweet Woodruff (another favorite).