Iberis simplex

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Robert Pavlis

Iberis simplex: photo by Robert Pavlis

Iberis simplex is an easy to grow alpine that forms a loose bun and flowers a long time. It is a great addition to a rock or scree garden.

Iberis simplex: photo by Robert Pavlis
Iberis simplex: photo by Robert Pavlis

The one pictured here was grown from seed obtained from NARGS through their seed exchange program. I have tried several Iberis and they all seem to be easy to grow from seed.

The whole genus is commonly called candytuft but not because of they taste sweet. The name is derived from Candia, the former name of Heraklion on the Island of Crete.

Iberis simplex: photo by Robert Pavlis
Iberis simplex: photo by Robert Pavlis

Each flower head consists of numerous flowers which open in succession, accounting for the long bloom display. I. simplex is smaller than some other candytufts but if it gets too large for the space, take cuttings, or layer some stems and start a new plant.

Food Science for Gardeners, by Robert Pavlis

Deer have left this plant alone, but they have eaten other candytufts in the main garden.

Iberis simplex

(eye-BEER-is  SIM-plecks)

Life Cycle: subshrub

Height: 12cm (5in)

Bloom Time: late spring

Natural Range: Eastern Europe, Western Asia

Habitat: rocky slopes and screes, 400-2900m

Synonyms:  Iberis pinardii, Iberis taurica

Cultivation of Iberis simplex

Light: full sun

Soil: well drained, scree

Water: drought tolerant once established

USDA Hardiness Zone: (3?)5 – 9

Propagation: seed, cuttings late summer 

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Robert Pavlis

I have been gardening my whole life and have a science background. Besides writing and speaking about gardening, I own and operate a 6 acre private garden called Aspen Grove Gardens which now has over 3,000 perennials, grasses, shrubs and trees. Yes--I am a plantaholic!

3 thoughts on “Iberis simplex”

  1. Thanks for reminding me of this great plant Robert, my grandma used to have it in her garden and it was in bloom for a very long time.

  2. We have the ‘traditional’ white “Candytuft”. It is one or our favourite spring perennials. The white just glows in the garden when often few perennials are in bloom.

    (There is a variety which is advertised as ever blooming ie Iberis “Masterpiece”. It wasnt hardy for us when I planted it several years ago).


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