Plant of the Month: March 2015
by Jenny Wegley
Iberis sempervirens ‘Purity’
AT A GLANCE
Latin name: Iberis sempervirens ‘Purity’
Common name: Candytuft
Flowers: Small clusters of pure white
Mature size: 8-10″ in height by 12″ wide
Hardiness: Early spring and fall
Soil: Well drained
Exposure: Full sun to part shade
Water usage: Medium
Sources: Local nursery or mail order
Horticulturists store memories of plant material that they will always favor and love. I remember the first time that I saw candytuft coming off a truck in early spring in a 1-gallon container, full of pure white flowers that said, “Buy me!” I knew little about this petite beauty. What I have discovered is an amazing plant that all levels of gardeners can enjoy.
Iberis sempervirens is not a new breeding breakthrough. It’s been around for ages. But there have been improvements made to this plant over the years. Iberis ‘Purity’ is one of my favorite varieties of this Texas-tough perennial. Dark green foliage accents the pure white flower clusters, which emerge in early spring and repeat again in fall. Reaching 12 inches in height, candytuft is ideal for the front of a perennial border. Medium to low water use is a plus for our extreme climate.
I wanted to showcase Iberis sempervirens ‘Purity’ at the Dallas Arboretum, but I was not sure where I could highlight it for the masses to see. My team and I started to think about it and decided that early spring containers would be ideal. We add candytuft to containers to show off their mounds of white flowers, and then we remove them after they bloom and plant them in perennial beds. This is a great way to utilize this plant at home. Show off the early spring flower power in a container on the porch and then transplant into your garden bed to enjoy for years to come.
It can be tricky growing plants in the diverse climate of Texas. The goal is to find material that not only survives, but thrives. Iberis sempervirens ‘Purity’ offers it all! Candytuft is drought tolerant, repeat flowering and very low maintenance. What more can we ask for?
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