Iberis sempervirens

No plant in the garden has flowers of a purer white than the shrubby candytuft, which makes a low, rounded cushion so compact that it is ideal for a small garden in country or town. It is evergreen, and in spring the leafy cushion is smothered with a snowy blanket of four-petalled flowers which last for several weeks. In time it will spread to as much as 3 feet (90 cm).

Ibehs sempervirens needs a sunny spot, and well-drained soil, preferably limy, is essential. A natural position would be at the top of a low wall; if grown in a garden with heavy soil, like London clay, the bed should be raised a foot or so and grit worked in to improve the drainage, an effort which is well worth while as it will also benefit the surrounding plants. Given sun and drainage, this iberis is totally reliable and rewarding. I like to clip mine over after flowering – the bare stems are soon clothed again with fresh young shoots.

This is a case where the obvious choice of companion plants is probably the best. Aubrieta and helianthemum enjoy the same conditions, and will tumble over the wall making cascades of colour against the white of the candytuft. The best variety of this is called ‘Snowflake’.

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