How to Grow Perennial Iberis Plants in your Garden

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Candytuft

Iberis can either be hardy annuals or perennials; this section is dedicated to the perennial varieties of Iberis. Go to this page for further information on: annual Iberis.

The Perennial plants are low growing spreaders that have a woody nature. This makes them ideal plants for in rock gardens and for trailing over walls.

Iberis sempervirens
Iberis sempervirens by TANAKA Juuyoh (田中十洋).

Iberis reach a height of between 15 and 30 cm (6 to 12 inches), and flower in the middle of spring with tiny white flowers. The common name for Iberis is Candytuft.

Commonly Grown Iberis Species

Iberis sempervirens

Iberis sempervirens
Iberis sempervirens (Evergreen candytuft / Perennial candytuft), photograph by Alvin Kho; CC.

Iberis umbellata

Iberis umbellata
Iberis umbellata (Garden candytuft / Globe candytuft), picture by Forest and Kim Starr; CC.

Iberis amara

Iberis amara
Iberis amara (Wild candytuft / Rocket candytuft / Bitter candytuft), photograph by Val Def; CC.

Iberis Growing and Care Guide

  • Common Names: Candytuft
  • Life Cycle: Hardy Perennial
  • Height: 15 to 30 cm (6 – 12 inches)
  • Native: Old World
  • Growing Region: Iberis semperviren; I. saxatilis 3 - 9 | I. gibraltarica 7 - 9
  • Flowers: Middle of Spring
  • Flower Details: Tiny, White, fragrant
  • Foliage: Evergreen, Glossy
  • Family: Brassicaceae.

  • Sow Outside: 1/4 inch (6 mm), Early Spring before the last frost or in Autumn.
  • Sow Inside: Eight weeks in advance. Germination takes 10 days to two months at about 60°F (~15°C). Transplant outdoors following the last frost at a spacing of 12 to 24 inches (30 – 60 cm).
  • Requirements and care: Grows best in sunny or partially shaded areas. Good drainage. Rich soil. pH 6-7.5. Keep soil moist for best results. Tidy plants by trimming once blooming has finished. Propagate by taking cuttings (or by division in warm areas) once flowering has finished.
  • Closely Related Species: Cabbages, Mustards.
  • Miscellaneous: The Candytuft name is derived from the old name for Crete (Candia).

How to Grow Candytuft (Perennial Iberis)

Perennial Candytuft – Iberis – can be started outdoors from seed. Sow the seeds at a depth of 6 mm (1/4 inch). This can be done either before the last frost of spring or in the autumn.

Iberis can grow in either sunny or partially shaded areas of the garden. They prefer to grow in a rich soil that has a pH of 6 to 7.5 and good drainage.

If you first want to grow candytuft indoors, then start about two months before you expect the last frost of spring.

They will take from two to eight weeks to germinate at a temperature of 12 to 17 degrees Centigrade (54 to 63°F).

Once ready, transplant the Candytuft seedlings into the garden using a spacing of 30 to 60 cm (12 to 24 inches) following the last frost of spring.

Caring for Candytuft - Propegate Iberis Genus Plants

Once growing candytuft and other Iberis species are easy to look after. It is important to keep the soil fairly moist. Trim the plant following flowering to keep up appearances.

If you require more perennial Iberis plants, then cuttings can be taken after flowering has finished, or the plants can be divided in the autumn.

Common Questions

How many perennial members does the Iberis genus contain?

The Iberis genus contains a mix of annual, biennial, and perennial species. The perennial species are thought to number around 20 to 30 species.

Do perennial members of Iberis make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Yes, perennial Iberis plants, such as Evergreen Candytuft, are excellent for gardens or landscapes. They produce attractive clusters of white flowers and have a lovely evergreen habit.

Which perennial Iberis species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

The most frequently grown perennial Iberis species is probably Iberis sempervirens (Evergreen Candytuft), valued for its evergreen foliage and profuse white spring blooms.

Are perennial members of the Iberis plant genus fragrant?

Some perennial Iberis species, including Iberis sempervirens, have a mild fragrance. This is particularly noticeable on warm, sunny days.

What is the perfect location to grow perennial Iberis?

Perennial Iberis prefer full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil. They are perfect for rock gardens, borders, and ground cover.

Is perennial Iberis invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

Presently, perennial Iberis species are not considered invasive in the USA. However, like all plants, they should be monitored to ensure they don't spread uncontrollably.

How do I remove perennial Iberis plants from my garden?

Perennial Iberis plants can be removed by digging up the entire plant, including all of the roots. Monitor the area afterwards for any potential regrowth from any roots that may have been missed.


The Iberis plant genus belongs to the Brassicaceaefamily. It is well known for perennial species such as Iberis sempervirens, the Evergreen candytuft. This low-growing, flowering plant, native to Southern Europe, is favored for its attractive clusters of white flowers and its dense, evergreen foliage.

Perennial Iberis plants favor full sun exposure and well-drained, alkaline to neutral soil. Spring is the optimal time for planting. These plants are drought-tolerant once established, but benefit from regular watering in their early growth stages. The candytuft blooms profusely in late spring to early summer and requires minimal maintenance, making it an excellent choice for rock gardens, borders, and ground cover. It also attracts a variety of pollinators, enhancing the biodiversity in your garden.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Iberis Perennial Candytuft plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow Horseradish and Matthiola plants.