Candytuft flower is mostly valued for its showy blooms and hardy plant. The plant only requires a little care for growing and producing its beautiful flowers. You can also grow candytuft on your own after looking at some basic information regarding the plant’s growth requirement and proper care.
Facts and Characteristics of Candytuft
Candytuft (Iberis sempervirens) is a native flowery plant of Europe. However, it is largely found in most regions of the Mediterranean. In its natural habitat, this perennial plant can reach up the height of 12-18 inches. Meanwhile, the flowers bloom in groups along their stems.
Candytuft is one of the most common flowers for the garden. In general, candytuft flowers have delicate figure and come in various soft colors. White candytuft is the most popular of all. You can also find other varieties of candytuft which has pink, lilac, or pale purple colors. Despite its attractive blooms, candytuft is not valued well for its fragrance. In fact, the flower’s scent is rather unpleasant.
This flowery plant has existed for centuries. In the past, the edible varieties of candytuft were used to treat some ailments, including arthritis and gastroenteritis. Its medical power remains beneficial in the present when American herbalists extract the flowers into herbal tea that creates calming and relaxing effect.
Some Candytuft Varieties
There are over 30 cultivars and varieties of Candytuft which spread around the world. Most varieties bear white flowers, including Iberis sempervirens ‘Purity’, Candytuft Snowflake and Snow Mantle, Candytuft Whiteout, and Alexander White.
Instead of white, some varieties of annual candytuft come in red or soft purple colors. Some of them are Iberis amara and Iberis umbellata. Another variety called Candytuft ‘Pink Ice’ also produces blooms in pink shade, as the name suggests.
Candytuft ‘Purity’ as one of the most popular cultivars can grow quite tall, around 10 inches. To the contrary, a cultivar named Candytuft ‘Nana’ belongs to short varieties that can only grow to six inches. Most varieties above bloom in spring and summer. However, there is one cultivar which blooms in fall, namely ‘Autumn Snow’.
Candytuft Meaning and Symbolism
This flowery plant earns the name ‘candytuft’ because its blossom shape resembles the tufts of candy. However, in terms of its name origin, there are different versions which discuss candytuft meaning.
One version says that the word ‘candytuft’ comes from ‘Candia’ or ‘Crete’, the name of the island which imported the flowers to Europe. Meanwhile, the word ‘tuft’ is translated as a cluster of flowers. Another version relates candytuft meaning to the flower’s Latin name: Iberia that refers to the Iberian Peninsula in Spain and sempervirens which means ‘alive’ or ‘always’.
Moreover, in the language of flowers, candytuft symbolizes different traits and qualities, including indifference, sweetness, and stoic beauty. Aside from its various meanings, this flower is often used as a wedding bouquet due to its elegant cluster forms. You can also present a bouquet of candytuft on happy occasions, i.e. in birthday or anniversary celebration.
How to Grow Candytuft
The following are some requirements that you need to provide when growing candytuft in the garden.
Evergreen candytuft prefers to grow in alkaline soil, above pH 7.5. Gravelly or sandy land is good for candytuft. Well-drained planting medium is also included in the main requirement. However, it is important to keep the soil moisture at a balanced level. Overly damp soil may prevent the growth of your candytuft plant
If the soil in your garden is acidic, don’t give up yet. You can change it into a proper home for candytuft by mixing the soil with an ample amount of quicklime. This white powdery substance can improve your soil quality, making it a good planting medium to sow candytuft seeds.
Although candytuft thrives better in a location that receives a lot of sunlight, this plant is still able to grow in partial shades. Therefore, light is not a difficult matter for candytuft.
Warmer temperature is better for candytuft plant. You can grow this flowery plant in the garden area or flower bed with the average temperature of 21 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit).
Candytuft Care Guide
Candytuft bloom time starts from mid-spring to summer. Some varieties will also re-bloom in fall. When the blooms are spent in late fall, it is advisable to cut the entire plant into the ground. That way, the candytuft plant can avoid the risk of stem woodiness. Additionally, this annual care will prevent the plant from growing with spindly stems in the next spring.
Besides the annual care, there is no special treatment in candytuft care on a regular basis. This flowery plant is quite tolerant to drought, so you don’t have to water it regularly. Fertilizer is only needed once a month during the plant’s growing season. Meanwhile, insecticide is not necessary because the plant is mainly free from pests or diseases if you grow it in proper environment.
Recommended Garden Setting for Candytuft
Candytuft can be grown for different purposes. This flower is an excellent option for moon garden or sunny rock garden. For a striking garden setting, candytuft should be grown along with other types of perennials. In addition, to make the flowers look more outstanding, you can plant candytuft near tall, bloomless flowery plants such as cosmos, zinnia, or evening primrose.
In a rock garden setting, candytuft is a great companion for Angelina stonecrop. Because this flower attracts bees and butterflies, you can plant candytuft near other flowery plants which require insect pollination.
Flower bed is not the only planting area for candytuft. You can grow this flower over a wall or in a hanging basket as well. It can also be planted along the flower border, ground cover, or even pathway edge.
Now that you know some basic information about candytuft flower, you can choose this flowery plant as an addition to the garden. When you provide the best growing environment for candytuft and care for it properly, the plant will produce its showy blooms as a reward. You can also use them for different purposes, whether as a compliment in the garden, an elegant flower bouquet, or even a floral decoration.