Candytuft

This plant's delicate white blooms give off sweet scents.

Colorful Combinations

Perennial candytuft is most commonly found in pure, bright white varieties with emerald-green foliage. This plant begins blooming in mid spring and the flowers can last for several weeks. Some varieties feature white flowers that fade to a soft, pale lavender at their centers. For even more color, consider annual species of candytuft that come in shades of white, pink, and purple. Even when this plant is not in bloom, its deep green foliage acts as a vibrant backdrop for neighboring plants.

Candytuft Care

This tough southern European native requires well-drained soil, as it's susceptible to crown rot in soggy conditions. Avoid soil with too much clay, since it holds too much moisture, especially during winter months. The soil should be more alkaline than acidic.

Candytuft also needs as much sun as possible. Full sun will bring out the best blossoms and prevent legginess. Cut this plant back after it blooms (or when it's grown in part shade) to stimulate new growth and promote a compact habit. Mulch the plant in winter to minimize damage from sun scorch or desiccation (winter burn) from low soil moisture, freezing temperatures, and harsh, blowing winds.

As candytuft grows along the ground, its sprawling stems root wherever they lie on the soil, creating dense mats of foliage. These rooted stems can be left where they are or they can be divided up and transplanted throughout the garden.

Candytuft Companion Plants

Candytuft Overview

Description Candytuft is an evergreen perennial that gets its name from the fragrant umbels of blossoms that cover it from late spring to early summer, so much so that the foliage is sometimes obscured. Because this plant forms such a compact mat of foliage, it works well at the front of a border. These ground-hugging perennials are actually considered sub-shrubs because their stems get woody. Candytuft is also extremely drought-tolerant, which makes it suitable for rock gardens or very dry areas of the garden.
Genus Name Iberis
Common Name Candytuft
Plant Type Perennial
Light Sun
Height 6 to 12 inches
Width 6 to 18 inches
Flower Color Pink, Purple, White
Foliage Color Blue/Green
Season Features Spring Bloom, Winter Interest
Special Features Fragrance, Good for Containers, Low Maintenance
Zones 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Propagation Division, Seed, Stem Cuttings
Problem Solvers Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant

Rock Cress

Aubrieta detoidea
André Baranowski

Rock cress, as you can guess from the name, is one of those plants that like tough love—give it a hot, dry crack between some stones somewhere and it will flourish. It can cover a stacked-stone wall or rocky outcropping with beautiful blue-purple flowers. Purple rock cress usually has purple or blue flowers, but rock wall cress is more likely to bloom in white or pink. Both make attractive low mounds that look great at the edge of a retaining wall where they get full sun and excellent drainage. Cut stems back after spring bloom to keep the plants compact.

Basket-of-Gold

Basket of Gold Aurinia saxatilis
Doug Hetherington

Basket-of-gold is one of those plants that loves to grow in the least likely of places—cracks between paving stones, the edge of gravel paths and patios, rocky outcroppings, between the stacked stones of a retaining wall, and more. It loves a baked spot with excellent drainage, but will struggle in hot, humid areas and tends not to do well in the South. But where it does well, it's a showstopper. It will reseed prolifically in little cracks, filling an area each spring with dazzling neon yellows. After it finishes blooming, the grayish-green foliage makes an attractive mat in the perennial garden.

Veronica

veronica purplicious flowers
Marty Baldwin

Easy and undemanding, veronicas catch the eye in sunny gardens over many months. Some have mats with loose clusters of saucer-shaped flowers, while others group their star or tubular flowers into erect tight spikes. A few veronicas bring elusive blue to the garden, but more often the flowers are purplish or violet blue, rosy pink, or white. Provide full sun and average well-drained soil. Regular deadheading extends bloom time.

Garden Plans for Candytuft

Easy Slope Garden Plan

garden bed doorstep illustration
Illustration by Mavis Augustine Torke

This mix of easy annuals and tough perennials will beautify any slope. Follow this garden plan to get the look in your green space.

Get this garden plan.

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