Pet Scribbles: Candytuft: An Easy Year-Round Garden Beauty

Friday, March 30, 2012

Candytuft: An Easy Year-Round Garden Beauty

Candytuft: a gorgeous evergreen perennial with white flowers!

May 5, 2014 update: 
As this post continues to be one of my most popular, I just added a new post with updated images over on Live Creatively Inspired (where I also blog regularly), so you can see how our Candytuft looks two years later. The link is at the bottom of this post!

I have a flowering plant recommendation for you: 

Candytuft!

Whether you love to garden, or you can't be bothered and just want to put something into the ground and forget about it, Candytuft is a plant you should pick up this season at your local nursery or home improvement store.

I wanted something to plant in the circled area (below) that was no-fuss.

filling in a bare garden spot with perennials
(photo taken in June 2011)

Candytuft was the perfect solution!

Candytuft: a stunning evergreen perennial with white flowers in early Spring
(photo taken March 2012)

Why?

Candytuft is one of the first plants to light up the garden each Spring in a blanket of white. I like to describe it as "Alyssum on steroids" as the impact is a much larger and more vibrant blanket of white than Alyssum can provide. You can plant Candytuft in full sun to partial shade. In full sun, make sure plants have enough moisture; in full shade there won't be as many flowers.

Candytuft is a perennial. This means that once you plant it into the ground, it will return year after year: a good choice economically than all those annuals you've been buying every year. (Although don't get me wrong: annuals have their place too, but for long-term enjoyment, I prefer perennials.)

Most garden books seem to agree that Candytuft is considered a perennial in zones 3 - 9.

Candytuft is evergreen. When we think of evergreens, most of us think of pine trees (or similar needle-type trees), right? Well, Candytuft is also an evergreen, meaning that the plant leaves stay green year-round. This is especially nice to see in the dead of winter, when most things are... well... dead or dormant.

Candytuft: an evergreen perennial covered in pretty white flowers every Spring

Candytuft spreads in a behaved way. Ever have plants that spread like crazy? At first it's always fun to dig up a few of the spreaders and plant them elsewhere. But eventually you can feel as if your entire landscape will be taken over with the nonstop transplanting or dividing of plants. Not with Candytuft. It fills out nicely and spreads in a subdued way that you will appreciate.

Candytuft reseeds by itself. Most gardening books I've read mention that the original plants purchased will eventually die out after maybe 5 or 6 years, but you won't really notice this because Candytuft will reseed itself (i.e. drop its seeds right there around itself) and generate new plants. This means enjoyment for many years to come.

Some experts recommend that you give Candytuft a light shearing after the initial bloom period is over or remove the seedpods as they appear, if you have the time and patience. Doing either of these things prevents the plants from getting leggy. You want the plant's energy to be spent on the plant, not on developing its own seeds. I left some of the seedpods on, however, for possible new plants to sprout up this season.

These Candytuft flowers are already bushy, at just one year of age!

Candytuft stands up to heat and humidity. We live in southern New Jersey, where Summer is hot and humid. Candytuft seems to tolerate heat better than Alyssum, which can wilt easily if you have hot, sunny days in the latter part of Spring. I planted our Candytuft last Spring, and even during the hottest parts of the Summer months the plants continued looking almost perfect. There were a few yellow leaves that showed up when the  plants needed some water, but those were few and easily picked off.

Not just one bloom period! Candytuft will often rebloom in the Fall. Although the Fall blooms are nowhere near the flowering abundance of the Spring blooming period, the Fall blooms are still quite pretty. There are several cultivars of Candytuft that will rebloom; check the plant information accompanying each plant when shopping.

Candytuft is a blanket of pretty flowers every Spring!

Did I convince you? Let me know!

Oh, and just so you know: all of the pictures of the Candytuft were taken this week. Please pardon the dead leaves, the bird poop on the stone wall, and the obvious need for me to do some tidying up in the garden. (This is some sort of a disclaimer, but I'm not quite sure what I'm disclaiming!)

May 5, 2014 update: Click here to see how these stunning flowering perennials look two years later!

~Laura

25 comments:

  1. One of my favorites because it demands so little but offers so much!

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    1. I agree! Hope the snow you had in your neck of the woods is gone finally?

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  2. I want it. I want it now! Thanks--we need all the help we can get!

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    1. I hear you, because that's how I am too! I'll be sharing more of my plant suggestions in the coming weeks, especially now that I can start playing in the dirt again. :)

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  3. I love perennials especially evergreens! Thanks for the recommendation.

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    1. You're welcome! And glad to hear from a fellow perennial lover! I agree with you: perennial + evergreen = year-round enjoyment!

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  4. Just might have to add this to one of my flower gardens. Thanks for the tips. And I didn't even see any poop in there, lol.

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    1. Glad to hear it! As for the p-o-o-p, 3rd pic from the top, I tried to crop most of it out! ;) Luckily the rain today will take care of it for me!

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  5. I am going to try it in my garden,I opened space in the old flower beds and didn't know what kind of flowering bush/plant to add, thanks for the info.

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    1. You're welcome! The height of the plants is around 12 inches, the spread width-wise is a bit more per plant. :)

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  6. Candytuft looks lovely in your garden and I was thrilled to see that it'll likely grow in my zone!

    Jenn

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    1. Thanks so much Jenn - glad to hear it! You'll love how the white really pops from a distance too! :)

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  7. ooh, I just might have to get some. I want to redo our front garden bed this spring, or at least clean it up and plant a few more things. This might be perfect. Thanks for the suggestion Laura.

    And thanks so much for coming by and reading my 5 things post. Your encouraging words were so kind. Hope you're having a great day!

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    1. Well thank YOU for stopping by Jennifer! Yes, if you want an easy-care plant that makes you look like a master gardener, this is just such a plant. Not that anyone around here thinks I'm a master gardener... at least nobody has said that to me. Hmm... LOL

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  8. Wonderful post about one of my garden favorites! I've been growing candytuft in my gardens for years. I live in the far northeastern corner of WA state, and even with the natural pruning (aka deer munching) and cold, candytuft is a fabulous performer!

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    1. I'm so glad to hear it - especially with the "natural pruning!"

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  9. Thank you for the suggestion! I am getting my nerve up to attack the juniper in the front beds and remove it all! Need a lovely replacement, and I think I found it in your post! Came over from Hometalk, but I think I'll stay a while. ;) Thanks for the inspiration. Have a great day!

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    1. Thanks so much Jennifer for stopping by and sticking around! That sounds like a big project to remove the junipers - no envy from me! - but I completely understand when you have a project like that. There comes a point when you just can't avoid it anymore. Definitely have had some of those!

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  10. Thank you for the tested recommendation! I recently moved back to SNJ from 20 years in Philly and I am finding myself struggling to plant affordable and appropriate flowers for my 1/4 acre!

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    1. You're most welcome, Michele! My best advice would be to A) consider planting perennials, as they will come back year after year and fill in over time, making their purchase very affordable; and B) talk to someone at a local plant nursery who is familiar with your area. The local nurseries can be a wealth of advice moreso than the big-box home improvement stores. I try to plant perennials as much as possible, and then "fill in" with some annuals here and there. :)

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  11. I'm hoping to put in some candytuft this spring. I live in Northern NJ. Were you able to buy those plants at a local store like Lowe's?

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    1. Yes Mary Ellen, you will be able to find Candytuft at places like Lowe's and Home Depot. You'll love this plant even in the Winter, as it is an evergreen perennial. (Although with all the snow we got overnight, I can't see it today! LOL)

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  12. These are so pretty. But, do the rabbits eat them? I have soooooo many problems with the pesky critters.

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    1. Hi Carol Jane, thanks for asking! Candytuft is considered a perennial that rabbits will not munch on. We've got pesky rabbits too, and I haven't seen them touch our Candytuft. (Fingers crossed, of course!)

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  13. How often do you have to water it? I recently bought some from mail order. I first planted it in a container, then when it started to come into the season and thrive, I planted it in the ground a month or so ago. But we had some retooling after having to redo a retaining wall, and had to move things around. So I moved the plant for the third (and hopefully) final time, just yesterday, I am still just not sure how much water it needs, and can not really find the direct answer anyways. I guess I am more concerned with it now being a new plant. It is in the front, next to me entry steps. It is mulched, and it is a few inches away from a mint plant. The mint does not need much water at all. Both plants get direct sun for most of the day. I don't want to under or over water it. Any thoughts? Thanks...
    Greg

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