Candytuft – Iberis umbellata

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Candytuft – Iberis umbellata

Common Name: Candytuft

Botanical Name: Iberis umbellata, eye-BEER-is um-bel-AH-ta

Decorative Life: 5-7 days.

Flower Color: , ,

Availability: ,

Harvest Instructions:

In reference to replanting using crowns, later harvested crowns perform better the subsequent year than ones harvested early and therefore stored longer.

Family Roots:
  • Member of the Brassicaceae or Cruciferae (mustard family).
  • Native to the Mediterranean region.
  • Common relatives include sweet alyssum, wallflower, stock, broccoli and cabbage. Probably the most common relative is I. sempervirens (candytuft), a low growing evergreen with supposedly the “whitest” of white flowers, often grown in rock garden environments.
  • Small, 4 petaled flowers in tight, flat-topped clusters up to 2 inches across occur at the ends of stems.
  • Stems are a maximum of 16 inches long.
  • Plant is an annual or perennial (I. sempervirens) depending on species, classed as a dicotyledon, leaves not parallel veined.
  • I. amara smells like hyacinth while other species and cultivars exhibit various degrees of fragrance.
Storage Specifics:

36-41 F in water up to 3 days.

  • From the Greek “iberis” (Iberia) referring to the origin of the plant in the Mediterranean region. The specific epithet name umbellata is in reference to the type of flower cluster (flat headed).
  • Common name refers to Candia or Crete, from where the plant was imported to England in Elizabethan times.
  • This flower was once used as a cheap condiment, and was called “Treacle Mustard” by Englishman John Parkinson. A cottage garden favorite, candytuft is easy to grow and its pink and white flowers look a bit like sugar lollipops.
  • Cruciferae means cross, referring to the petals positioned as a cross. In obvious reference to Jesus and the crucifix.
Recent Research Findings:

Engle et al. (1994) noted that seed-propagated plugs can be stored at about 27F up to 6 weeks if given sufficient light and low temperature treatments prior to storage.