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Iberis ‘Absolutely Amethyst’ (photo courtesy of Kimberley Navabpour)
Iberis ‘Absolutely Amethyst’ (photo courtesy of Kimberley Navabpour)

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Zone
Zones vary by species.
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Full, Partial
Regular Water
Moderate

Iberis

Candytuft
Brassicaceae (Cruciferae)
Annuals, Perennials, Flowers

Free-blooming plants from southern and western Europe with clusters of white, lavender, lilac, pink, rose, purple, carmine, or crimson blossoms. Perennial candytufts flower from early spring to summer. Annual species bloom in spring and summer; they are most floriferous where the summer nights are cool. Use all kinds in borders, containers, or for cutting. Perennials are also good as edgings, in rock gardens, or as small-scale groundcovers.

All types need well-drained soil. In spring or (in mild climates) fall, sow seeds of annuals in place or in flats for later transplanting. Set out perennial plants in spring or fall. Shear lightly after bloom to stimulate new growth.

Iberis sempervirens
Iberis sempervirens

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Iberis sempervirens

This perennial grows to 12 in. (sometimes 18 in.) high, spreading about as wide. Narrow, shiny dark green leaves are attractive all year. Pure white flower clusters appear on stems long enough to cut for bouquets. Lower, more compact varieties include ‘Alexander’s White’, a 6-in.-high plant with fine-textured foliage; ‘Little Gem’, 4–6 in. high; and ‘Purity’, 6–12 in. high and wide spreading. ‘Snowflake’, 4–12 in. high and 1 1/2–3 ft. wide, has broader, more leathery leaves than the species; it also has larger flowers in larger clusters on shorter stems. It is extremely showy in spring, with sporadic bloom through summer and fall. ‘Snow White’ grows into a 12- by 24-in. mound. Early-flowering ‘Tahoe’ is 10–12 in. high and wide and upright.

Iberis umbellata ‘Candy Cane’ (photo courtesy of Kieft Seed)
Iberis umbellata ‘Candy Cane’ (photo courtesy of Kieft Seed)

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Iberis umbellata

Bushy plants grow to 12–15 in. high and 9 in. wide. Lance-shaped leaves to 3 1/2 in. long; flowers in pink, rose, carmine, crimson, salmon, lilac, and white. ‘Candy Cane’ comes in rose, purple, lilac, and white. Lower-growing strains Dwarf Fairy and Magic Carpet, available in the same colors, reach 6 in. high.

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