Candytuft Growing Guide

Iberis sempervirens


Crop Rotation Group

Brassicas (Cabbage family) 


Fertile, well-drained soil.


Full sun to partial afternoon shade.

Frost tolerant

Candytuft is a hardy perennial, tolerating winter cold to -20°F (-29°C).


In spring just as new growth emerges, topdress the area around candytuft with a balanced organic fertilizer.


Single Plants: 11" (30cm) each way (minimum)
Rows: 11" (30cm) with 11" (30cm) row gap (minimum)

Sow and Plant

Start perennial candytuft seeds indoors in early spring, and expect germination in 10 days. If they are hardened off or protected with a cover, seedlings can be set out while the weather is still cold. Some heavy-blooming varieties are propagated from stem cuttings and sold as potted plants in spring. When possible, choose plants that have not yet begun to bloom. Young plants need water their first year, but after that candytuft is moderately drought tolerant.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalized calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.


Young plants may not bloom their first year, because perennial candytuft needs 8 to 10 weeks of cold winter weather to initiate flower buds. Once established, candytuft becomes a semi-evergreen ground cover that spreads very little. The pure white flowers flatter anything that grows nearby. Botanically, perennial candytuft is a subshrub rather than a herbaceous perennial. Frost-tender annual candytuft (I. umbellata) blooms in shades of pink. Perennial candytuft is often evergreen, but will spring back when winter injures the tops of the plants.


The white flowers of perennial candytuft are naturally set off by the plants’ glossy dark green leaves. After the flowers fade, shear back the plants by one third their size to encourage fresh new growth.


Many pests of the cabbage family can bother perennial candytuft, including caterpillars and slugs. In wet weather downy mildew may cause plants to blacken and collapse, while powdery mildew is possible in hot, dry weather.

Planting and Harvesting Calendar

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Pests which Affect Candytuft