How to Grow Candytuft Snowflake Flowers in Your Garden

Welcome to our essential guide to growing and caring for Snowflake Candytuft. The Iberis sempervirens are aptly named and just as gracefully beautiful as the winter wonders themselves with their pure-white clusters of flowers. This versatile plant is easy to grow and perfect for various garden settings. Here, I’ll take you through everything you need to know to grow Snowflake Candytuft, including planting, soil considerations, light preferences, feeding, pruning, and over-winter care.

How to Grow and Snowflake Candytuft (Iberis sempervirens)

Snowflake Candytuft Plant Care Basics:

Botanical Name:Iberis sempervirens
Also Known As:Snowflake candytuft, evergreen candytuft, or perennial candytuft
Hardiness Zones:3 to 9
Flowering Months:Late spring through early summer (May, June, and July)
Growing Difficulty:Easy to grow
Type of Plant:Herbaceous perennial shrub
Light Requirements:Full sun
Temp & Humidity:Thrives in soil temperatures ranging from 65°F to 70°F with low to moderate humidity. Winter hardy down to about -5°F to -10°F.
Watering Needs:Moderate water needs. Water thoroughly, allow excess moisture to drain, and allow the soil to mostly dry before watering again.
Soil Preferences:Moist, well-draining, neutral to alkaline potting soil with a pH ranging from 5.5 to 8
Feeding:Apply a low-nitrogen/high-phosphorous slow-release fertilizer once in the spring.
Growth Expectations:12 to 18 inches tall and wide at maturity
Toxicity:Non-toxic to humans and pets

How to Grow Snowflake Candytuft

Snowflake Candytuft (Iberis sempervirens) in bloom showcasing white flower heads with tall green stalks growing near a paved path in a garden

The Best Planting Locations

Choose a location with well-draining soil that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily.

Snowflake candytuft plants are perfect for planting to hang over walls or out of window baskets. They’re lovely border, bed, and groundcover plants that thrive in rock gardens, cottage gardens, cutting gardens, coastal gardens, containers, and more.

The Best Time of Year to Plant

Plant snowflake candytuft in the spring after the danger of the first frost has passed. This gives the plant plenty of time to establish in the ground before winter dormancy.

Growing From Seed vs. Planting Nursery Plants

Although it can be grown from seed and is sometimes self-spreading, snowflake candytuft grows rather slowly. Planting established nursery plants will produce more effective results within the same season.

What to Do Before Planting

Before planting, select a suitable growing location with full sun and well-draining soil. Choose a spot that will highlight the beauty of your snowflake candytuft plants.

Next, gather any supplies, including sand or perlite, to increase soil drainage and plant containers.

The Best Soil

Snowflake candytuft thrives in neutral to alkaline, rocky, or sandy soil with poor nutrients and rich in chalk (calcium carbonate).

How to Plant

Nursery Plants

  • Whether planting in the ground or a container, ensure your soil is well-draining by mixing in sand or perlite, if needed.
  • Next, create a hole in the potting mix or the dirt slightly larger than your plant’s root ball. If you’re planting more than one candytuft, space the holes about 12 inches apart.
  • Place the plant in the hole so that the base of the stem is even with the top of the ground or just 1 to 2 inches below the container’s rim. Use the potting mix to fill in around the roots. Gently pat the dirt to compact it.
  • Water thoroughly, allowing all excess moisture to drain.


You can either start seeds indoors in small containers and transplant them in the spring or sow seeds directly in the soil after the danger of the last frost has passed.

  • To plant outdoors, loosen the top inch or two of soil.
  • Poke seeds into the dirt and gently pat down on top of the seeds.
  • Use a watering can or hose with a gentle spray to thoroughly soak the area, allowing excess moisture to drain.
  • Water regularly, keeping the soil moist until the seeds sprout. Continue watering frequently until your plants are established.

Although mature plants can reach up to 18 inches, you can sow seeds about 6 inches apart to create a groundcover effect more quickly when growing from seed.

Light Preferences

Snowflake candytuft thrives in direct, full sun—plant in a location that receives at least 6 hours of full sun daily.

If temperatures exceed 95°F, snowflake candytufts will benefit from a location that receives some shade in the afternoon or evening.

Temperature and Humidity Preferences

Thrives in ambient temperatures ranging from 65°F to 70°F and prefers low to moderate humidity.

How to Care for Snowflake Candytuft

A cluster of Snowflake Candytuft (Iberis sempervirens) in bloom with bright white blooms

When and How to Water

Younger plants require more frequent watering than well-established snowflake candytufts that can tolerate some drought. In all stages of growth, snowflake candytufts prefer soil that’s kept moist but never soggy.

Soak thoroughly when the soil is almost completely dry and allow all excess water to drain. Provide about one inch of water per week. Water less frequently during cooler or wetter weather and more regularly in hot, dry weather.

Using a moisture meter or soil probe can help you perfect the timing of your snowflake candytuft watering schedule.


Typically, plants need more fertile soil to encourage growth and flower productions. Snowflake candytuft, however, actually prefers soil that is poor in nutrients: the fewer the nutrients, the more showy the snowflake candytuft flowers.

Snowflake candytuft can be fertilized once a year in spring with a slow-release fertilizer that’s high in phosphorous and low in nitrogen.

Pruning and Cutting Back

During the growing season, pruning encourages fresh, new growth. Cut back 1/3 of your snowflake candytuft’s stem and foliage after the flower cluster is spent to maintain the plant’s shape and prevent legginess. If growing over a wall, in window baskets, or hanging containers, do not prune to encourage a lengthier spread.

These evergreen plants, otherwise, require no pruning or cutting back in the fall or spring.


Remove spent blooms to encourage new growth and blossoms throughout the flowering season.


Unlike the annual members of the Iberis genus, the perennial snowflake candytuft can be propagated by seed, soft-wood cutting, and root division.

To propagate by seed, allow the seed pods to dry on the plant after the flowers are spent. Once dried, remove them carefully and store them in a cool, dry place for the winter. Sow in spring after the danger of the first frost has passed.

To propagate by softwood cutting, select a healthy, green stem to cut. Choosing a lengthier stem with at least a few leaves works best. Dip it in root growth hormone and stick it into a small pot of soil. Keep it warm and evenly moist until roots sprout.

To propagate by root division, remove plants from their containers or the ground in the fall after flowering has ceased. One large plant can be split into two or three plants if each clump has roots and foliage attached. Repot the divided plants or place them into separate holes in the ground.


Snowflake candytufts are winter hardy down to USDA hardiness zone 3 and can tolerate some brief dips down to temperatures ranging from -5°F to -10°F. However, snowflake candytuft tends only to be partially evergreen in these cooler climates and might lose some of its foliage.

In cooler climates, protect snowflake candytuft growing in the ground with a 1 to 2-inch layer of mulch. Move potted plants to a warmer location indoors.

When and How to Repot

Snowflake candytufts growing in containers can be repotted every couple of years or when they outgrow their containers.

To repot yours, select a well-draining container about 2 inches larger than the plant’s current pot. Follow the same potting process recommended for smaller plants.

Common Problems and How to Treat Them

A single flowering Snowflake Candytuft against green foliage

Signs and Symptoms of Problems

  • Yellowed Leaves – The plant might be too hot, wet, or humid. Mind the temperature and humidity around the plant. Water in the morning only.
  • Not Flowering – A lack of flowers could indicate an overwatered plant. Check the soil and reduce your watering schedule.
  • Wilted Flowers – Wilted flowers could indicate an overwatered plant. Check the soil and reduce your watering schedule.

Common Pests and Diseases

  • Slugs and Snails – Slugs and snails are common garden pests that can be hand-picked or deterred with diatomaceous earth or bait traps.
  • Clubroot – A plant with clubroot disease will have stunted growth and club-shaped roots. Discard infected plants and avoid planting species of the Brassicaceae plant family in the same soil.

Essential Tools

Here are all of the tools you should have around for Snowflake Candytuft care. 

  • Trowel
  • Moisture meter or soil probe
  • Well-draining container
  • Pruning shears
  • Sand or perlite

Snowflake Candytuft FAQs:

Is snowflake candytuft (Iberis sempervirens) hardy?

Snowflake candytuft is winter hardy in USDA hardiness zones 3 to 8.

How big do snowflake candytuft plants get?

Mature snowflake candytuft plants grow about 12 to 18 inches tall with a similar spread.

What do you do with snowflake candytuft over the winter?

Snowflake candytuft is winter hardy down to hardiness zone 3. In cooler climates, it can be mulched for added protection. Potted plants should be moved indoors.

Is snowflake candytuft (Iberis sempervirens) invasive?

Snowflake candytuft is not considered to be an invasive plant species.

Will snowflake candytuft grow in shade?

Although it can tolerate some shade, snowflake candytuft requires six or more hours of full sun daily. Plants that receive too little light will not produce as many flowers.

Is snowflake candytuft poisonous to humans?

Snowflake candytuft has no known toxicity to humans or animals.

Bring the Beauty of Winter to Your Spring and Summer Garden

Snowflake candytuft’s delicate clusters of snow white flowers remind one of winter’s frosty allure. When you plant these beauties in your garden, you can enjoy the graceful beauty of snow-white drifts in your garden with the cold temperatures!

Editorial Director | | Full Bio

Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.

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