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Gardening with George Weigel

Answers to your gardening questions and other tips by George Weigel.

Last Build Date: Sat, 21 Apr 2018 13:02:06 UTC

Copyright: Copyright 2018

White flowers cover this groundcover each April: George's Plant Pick of the Week

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 13:00:47 UTC


This week's Plant Pick of the Week is a white-blooming perennial that makes a good groundcover choice.

* Common name: Candytuft

* Botanical name: Iberis sempervirens

* What it is: Candytuft is one of the showiest short, spreading groundcovers when it's blooming with its snow-white dainty flowers for about three weeks in April. Dark-green, small-leafed foliage can remain green during mild to average winters.

* Size: 8 to 10 inches tall. Can root as it spreads, although not over-aggressively. Plant 2 feet apart.

* Where to use: Best planted as an edging plant (i.e. along a driveway or sidewalk) or along the front of a sunny garden. Avoid soggy soil, which can kill the plants - especially over winter. Also can be massed as a groundcover in a sunny spot.

* Care: Fertilize in early spring with a granular, organic or long-acting flower fertilizer. Trim spent flowers and up to one-third of any overly long foliage right after plants finish blooming in spring. Sections can be dug and transplanted (or tossed) after bloom or in early fall if plants are creeping beyond where you want. Foliage may brown completely in a cold, snowless winter, so wait until leaves emerge in April to determine if any sections are dead and need to be trimmed off. Otherwise, leafless stems will grow new leaves.

* Great partner: Underplant around summer-flowering, sun-loving shrubs, such as shrub roses, butterfly bush, rose-of-sharon or panicle hydrangeas. Hyacinths or daffodils can be poked into a mass planting of candytuft to bloom above it around the same time.

See George's Plant Profiles for hundreds of past plant picks.

George's 170 most recommended plants for Pennsylvania gardens are profiled in his "Pennsylvania Getting Started Garden Guide" book.

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