Growing Candytuft

This page gives instructions on growing candytuft.

Candytuft, Iberis, is a genus of flowering perennials, annuals and subshrubs native to Europe.  The name “candytuft” comes from “Candia,” which is the old name of Iraklion of Crete.   It is part of the mustard family and contains roughly 50 species and was once used to treat ailments like gout and rheumatism. Candytuft blooms form distinctive round clumps of flowers in shades of white, pink and purple.   It blooms in early spring through summer and sometimes again in fall.  Depending on the species and conditions, candytuft can grow to a height of 6 to 18 inches.  It is a beautiful addition to flower gardens, rock gardens and wildflower gardens.

Candytuft can be started indoors or outside.  To plant outside, begin planting in early spring after the threat of the frost has passed and the soil has warmed to around 70 degrees.  Candytuft prefers well-draining alkaline soil in an area that gets lots of sunshine.  It will grow in partial shade, but will not do well in full shade.  For the best flowers, plant in full sun.  Either sprinkle the seeds on top or gently press them into the soil.  Do no bury them as they need light to germinate.  Keep the seeds moist.  Misting is recommended initially so that the seeds remain near the surface of the soil.  The seeds should germinate within 16 to 20 days from planting.

To start candytuft indoors, begin eight weeks before the last frost.  Gently press the seeds into the soil of the starting pots.  Place the pots in a tray.   Fill the tray about 2/3 of the way with water.  The soil will draw the moisture up through the pots and moisten the seeds.  Alternatively, you can mist the seeds to keep them moist.  This is a bit more labor-intensive.  Keep the soil moist and temperatures constant around 65 to 70 degrees.  Use a grow light.  Once the threat of frost has passed and the soil outside has warmed, the seedlings can be moved outside.

Candytuft will bloom within 28 days of planting.

Candytuft can also be propagated through softwood cuttings.  The best time to do so is during the summer.  Candytuft cuttings are a great way to get more of this beautiful plant for your own garden and to share with family and friends.

More on Growing Candytuft

Regular deadheading will encourage a longer blooming period.  After the first bloom, if you cut back 1/3 of the plant, it will encourage a bushier plant.  Every other year, cut the plants all the back to the ground once the flowers have died.  This will keep the plant from getting too tall and woody, which will result in spindly growth.  While it is a naturally a woody plant, it is more attractive this way.

Candytuft works well with a variety of other annual and perennial flowering plants.  And it’s a good height to mask the long stems of zinnia, evening primrose and cosmos.  In addition to flower and rock gardens, candytuft looks lovely spilling over walls and from hanging containers.

Click here to see our candytuff selection.

Go to Flower Seeds from Growing Candytuft

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