This low-growing perennial is very similar to Iberis sempervirens, the large flowers are pale lavender-pink instead of white. It is a short sub shrub with rosettes of wedge-shaped, medium green leaves.
Compared to the traditional candytuft, this beefy species offers a decadent flower display. In mid spring, the whole plant disappears under an abundance of flat, light violet to pinkish white blossoms, creating a lasting mound of colour.
Follow a lean-and-mean regimen because Gibraltar candytuft tends to thrive in poor, dry soils with little or no fertilisation. This low-maintenance approach will encourage tight growth and optimal flowering.
This perennial form of Candytuft does best in full sun in well drained soil, but is an all round tough plant suitable for problem areas. It is very tolerant of low fertility soils and of high humidity. It will tolerate drought-prone areas and is suitable for container growing, coastal areas, for pathways and crevices of ornamental walls. Iberis is a lovely plant for rock gardens and well-drained borders, plants can also be used to cascade down walls or over banks and flower pots.
When not in flower, the mats make a good background for other flowers that enjoy similar growing conditions, especially rock plants like Aubrietia, Thrift, Alpine Pinks and early dwarf spring bulbs.
The foliage remains evergreen throughout the year, providing structure to a rock garden in winter when there is little else to see and adding a little greenery to the winter garden. Plant strategically along paths or to outline steps etc to make the most of this valuable feature.
Give these early season low-growing perennials a try. Their spring colour and green foliage in winter offer year-round interests that make them tough to beat.
Sowing: Sow in February to June or in September to October
Prepare pots or trays with good free draining seed compost; moisten by standing in water, then drain. Surface sow two seeds per pot or cell. Iberis need light to germinate so do not cover the seeds with compost; simply press them gently down to firm them in. Cover the seed with a fine layer of vermiculite if you have it.
Seal pots in a polythene bag or cover trays with clear plastic lids until after germination which usually takes 16 to 21 days at around 20°C (68°F). Remove the polythene bag once the first seedlings appear.
Transplant when seedlings are large enough to handle and there are at least two sets of true leaves. Transplant autumn sown seedlings to pots to grow on and overwinter in a coldframe or unheated greenhouse.
Spring sown seedlings can be transplanted directly outdoors once all frosts have gone. Gradually hardened off by placing them outside in a sheltered position during the day. Bring them in at night to avoid frosts. Space 15 to 22cm (6 to 9in) apart in full sun to light shade in a light, well-drained soil.
Seeds can also be sown directly in open ground in spring once all risk of frost has gone. Remove all weeds and large stones. Rake over the surface of the soil until you have a nice fine tilth. Sow a seeds into the prepared area. Do not cover the seeds as they need light to germinate. Keep moist at all times. Thin out the seedlings as they grow to 15 to 22cm (6 to 9in) apart.
An important provision is that plants have good drainage; water them only when they are dry.
Prune lightly right after blooming to induce a repeat flower display, but otherwise leave the plants alone. Do not prune in autumn, simply remove damaged foliage in spring
Suitable for ground cover, rockeries, cascading over walls, borders, edging paths, planters, window boxes.
Iberis is a genus of flowering plant belonging to the family Brassicaceae they are native to Southern Europe and the Western parts of Asia. The genus comprises of about 50 species of herbs and subshrubs. All species are low growing and produce masses of flowers.
Iberis gibraltarica is the symbol of the Upper Rock nature reserve in Gibraltar, but is actually a native of North Africa. Gibraltar is the only place in Europe where Iberis gibraltarica is found growing in the wild.
The plant grows from crevices in the limestone and is often seen growing in abundance from the north face of the Rock of Gibraltar.
The genus name ‘Iberis’ is for the Iberian Peninsula where a plant might first have been described from a species collected in Spain.
The species name gibraltarica and the common name of the Gibraltar candytuft are also named for Gibraltar.
These species are commonly known as candytufts. The name 'candytuft' is not related to candy, but derives from Candia, the former name of Iraklion on the island of Crete.
Gibraltar is a British overseas territory found near the southernmost end of the Iberian Peninsula.
Overlooking the Strait of Gibraltar, only a short border separates Gibraltar from Spain, the spectacular rock monolith extends to a land area of about six square kilometres. The name, Gibraltar, originated from the Arabic, Jabal Tāriq, which means ‘Mountain of Tariq’.
The residents of Gibraltar take pride in calling their territory ‘The Rock’. Among the things appreciated by tourists are Gibraltar’s flowering plants that are specially protected. The fascinating territory grows over 500 species of flora and fauna. Of particular note is the Gibraltar candytuft (Iberis gibraltarica), which thrives well in the region.
In 1898, the British pound was made sole legal tender. Since 1927, Gibraltar has issued its own banknotes and, since 1988, its own coins. Attached is a picture of a 1988-89 fifty-pence piece, showing a wreath of Iberis gibraltarica.
In the world of philately, Iberis gibraltarica feature on occasional stamps, the photograph shows an issue from 1960.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 250mg Average Seed Count 100 Seeds Seed Form Natural Seeds per gram 400 seeds per gram Family Brassicaceae Genus Iberis Species gibraltarica Common Name Perennial Candytuft Hardiness Hardy Perennial Flowers Lavender-white flowers Natural Flower Time Early spring Height 15cm (6in) Spread 30cm (12in). Position Full sun preferred. Time to Sow Sow in February to June or in September to October