How to Grow Candytuft FLowers

Tree Branch, How to Grow

Growing and Caring for Candytuft Flowers

For the beginning gardener and people with poor garden soils, here is an easy and fast-growing plant. The plants have a short but spreading growth habit. They look great in the front of the flower garden. Candytuft has its “roots” in Spain, or Iberia as it was once called. Candytuft is actually a small, evergreen bush. Its small, compact growth and tolerance of poor soil, make it popular in rock gardens. This guide on “How to Grow Candytuft Flowers ” will help you to grow a showy display of blooms right up to frost.

Candytuft looks good practically anywhere. Try them in rock gardens or to edge flower beds. Also, they grow well in containers on your patio or deck. This works best with annual varieties. Place planters of candytuft on your front porch so the cheerful flowers greet your guests as they arrive to visit you. After the flowers have bloomed, the plants will not bloom again and are not the most attractive plants. Pull the annual candytuft plants and place a fall bloomer like Chrysanthemum in the planter. 

There are both annual and perennial varieties of this pretty plant.

Candytuft Plant Specifications

Flower Colors: Fragrant tufts of candy-like red, lilac, white and pink colored flowers.

Flowers Bloom: Late spring to early summer.

Plant Height: 6 to 12 inches.

Light Requirements: Full sun to partial sun.

Ideal Soil pH: 6.0 – 7.5.

Hardiness Zone: 3 – 9. This versatile plant grows well in most hardiness zones.

Toxicity: The plant and flowers are non-toxic.

Native To: Southern Europe and the Mediterranean.

Plant Type: Annuals and Perennials

Botanical Name: Iberis Sempervirens

Other Names: Candyedge, Rocket Candytuft

Are Candytuft Plants Edible?


While the small flowers are edible, eating them is uncommon.

The flowers have a mildly bitter taste.  And, they are small, making it difficult to gather a sufficient quantity of them. 

Try them in salads and soups. You can also use them as a garnish.

Candytuft Medicinal Uses

Candytuft is used to improve digestion and relieve gas.

Eases bloating.

Use it as a treatment for rheumatism, arthritis, and

It relieves gout. 

Use the seeds to treat asthma bronchitis, and dropsy.

Candytuft Flower Propagation

Candytufts are grown from seed. Plants can be started indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost in your area. Sow Candytuft seeds early in the season and cover lightly with 1/8″ of fine soil. 

Because of the long germination time for these plants, make sure to mark the planting site.

Established Candytuft plants can also be propagated by cuttings or division. Take cuttings from vigorous, new growth. You can also propagate perennial varieties by root division. Pull up the roots and separate them into two to four clumps. Then, replant them. Or, give a clump to a gardening friend. 

Final Spacing: Space seeds or seedlings 8-10″ apart.

Days to Germination: Candytuft seeds take 10 days to two months to germinate. S, don’t give up on them too early.

Light Requirements

Candytuft plants grow best in full sun.  In hotter regions of the country, look to plant them in an area that gets partial shade during the hottest time of the afternoon. 

Too little sunlight can result in fewer and smaller blooms.

How to Grow Candytuft Flower Plants

Candytuft plants are very easy to grow. They prefer full to partial sun and well-drained soil. 

The plants grow well in average or poor soils and tolerate dry soil conditions. While they are not big feeders, it is always good to mix in compost at the planting site. They like alkaline soils.

Candytuft flowers are perfect for rock gardens.

Established plants are drought tolerant. Water them during dry periods, once or twice per week after the top of the soil has dried out. Add a general-purpose fertilizer no more than once or twice a season, if grown in poor soil.

Mulch around the plants to create a neat and tidy appearance. The mulch helps to keep the soil cooler and retains soil moisture. Also, as the mulch decomposes, it helps to feed the plant.

Pruning Candytuft Plants

Prune dead and unsightly leaves and stems as needed. Deadheading spent blooms helps to prolong the blooming period. 

After the blooming period is over, give the plant a good trim. With a little luck, a severe trim of 1/3 to 1/2 of the plant might result in a second bloom in late summer or early Fall. A good trim also helps to keep the plant from becoming leggy and they will look their best. It is also better when overwintering the plant. 

More on Deadheading Plants.

Insects and Plant Disease

Candytuft has few insect and disease problems. Slugs, snails and caterpillars can be an occasional problem. Slug and snail pellets work well. If insect or disease problems occur, treat them early with organic or chemical insect repellents and fungicides.

Also see: Plant Problems – causes and cures.

Overwintering Candytuft Plants

Perennial varieties generally overwinter well. After the first killing frost in your area, cut the stems of the plants back to about three to four inches from the ground. Add a thick layer of mulch over the area to protect them from extreme cold. In the spring, prune back any stems that died during winter.

In colder areas, of the country, you can overwinter the plants in flowerpots. Transplant the candytuft the plants into a planter or other suitable container. Place the planters in your garage, a shed, or an enclosed greenhouse.   Bring the planters outdoors after early spring arrives in your area. Then, transplant them back into your flower garden.

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