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Candytuft

Nature bestows its grace upon human souls through flowers and each flower carries with itself the fragrance of glory. Candytuft is a delicate flower which can be found in different colors ranging from white, pink, lilac-purple or red-pink. The fragrance sooths and delight the surroundings in a lucrative manner.

Candytuft is scientifically known as Iberis sempervirens and it belongs to the genus Iberis which is a member of the vast family of flowers called Brassicaceae. The little flowering plant is categorized amongst the evergreen shrubs. This robust and sturdy perrenial also turns to be annual in some areas which do not support its everlasting growth.

 

Candytuft is a native to Europe however as the time has past it has easily adapted to the climatic conditions of America as well. Candytuft grows to an height of about 1-15 inches. This perennial plant comes into bloom the last part of April and lasts through June. The little bushy shrubs bear beautiful snow-white, pink or lilac flowers which flourish abundantly in the summer heat.

The plants form a dense mat and when once established should not be moved as the dark green foliage makes the plant look attractive throughout the year and also helps in surviving longer. Candytuft prefers to grow in well drained soils as it can hardly withstand the damp soil conditions. Sunlight is the deciding factor for its growth as the smiling sun enhances its flowering and sturdy strength as well. They do best in the sunshine. A moderately rich soil and plenty of water are the most important requirements. I. gibraltarica is the largest of the Candytufts, but is somewhat more straggly in growth. It is very showy because the clusters of white flowers are deeply tinted rose lavender.

 

The vast family of the genus Iberis consists of more than about 50 species of annuals, perennials and evergreen subshrubs. Some of the well-known varities are:

  • Iberis amara - rocket candytuft
  • Iberis gibraltarica - gibraltar candytuft
  • Iberis sempervirens - evergreen candytuft, perennial candytuft
  • Iberis umbellata - globe candytuft

 

How to Grow Candytuft
Easy to grow, Candytufts are a complete package of beauty and lucrative garden plant.

Propagation through seeds is the easiest and most suitable method to plant Candytufts. They hardly take longer to germinate and the maximum time they need is two weeks. To get the best results, sow the seeds early in the season and cover lightly with 1/8" of fine soil. Space seeds at an adequate distance.

Cutting methods are tougher but they have proved to raise the best Candytufts. And the best

cuttings are obtained from plants which root easily. In this case, cuttings should be made in September and should be moistened throughout the winters.

Candytufts thrives to their full bloom in well drained soils and they prefer full to partial sunlight. With a high tolerance power, this flowering shrub does extremely well in dry soils as well as average or poor soils. Little watering once or twice in a week is more than enough to support the growth of Candytufts.
Fertilizers are not very essential but to be on a safer side and extract the maximum growth of the plant, adequate application of general purpose fertilizers could be preferred.
To protect the plant from excessive cold, mulch them sufficiently as it promotes their growth to a greater extent.

Though Candytuft have few insect and disease problems still it is suggested to treat the plant with organic or chemical insect repellents and fungicides.
After blooms faded, cut back the foliage to prevent the plants from becoming woody.
Lightly trimming after flowering helps the plant to reach its maximum growth level.

 

General Usage
The white color of the flowers makes it a favorite choice amongst the florists for decorative and ornamental purposes.
The variety of colors and fragrances of candytuft are utilized in the fashion industry as well as variuos other ornamental purposes.
The evergreen foliage enables Candytuft to be one of the best plants grown for edging purposes.
Borders, rock gardens, mixtures utilize the Candytufts in the best possible manner.
Candytuft is also invaluable to use in rock gardens, to cover bare spots, to use in beds.
Candytuft, with its evergreen foliage, is one of the best plants grown for edging purposes.
The plants are used in hanging baskets, porch boxes and are grown as pot plants.

 

Medicinal uses
Candytuft is not only a soother for the eyes but behind the beauty lies the qualitative power of this plant. The roots, leaves and stem possess great medicinal value along with the effective seeds.

Since ancient times, the plant has been utilized as an aid to treat rheumatism, gout, and various other diseases like cardiac hypertrophy, asthma, and bronchitis, etc.
Today scientists have found its usage as a bitter digestive tonic.
Homeopathy describes it to be of great help in curing nervousness and muscle soreness.

A few words of caution
It is not advisable to consume the seeds without consulting doctor as heavy dosage might cause giddiness, nausea, and diarrhea.

 
 
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