Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Candytuft Tall Mix

Botanical name: Iberis umbellata
Other name: Sarjasaippo, Globe Candytuft, Garden Candytuft

Garden candytuft is a fast-growing, annual, bushy plant with small, dense, round heads of fragrant flowers. This decorative plant grows to a height of 12-16 inches. It has shiny, dark green lance-shaped leaves, up to 3.5 inches long. Flowers range in color from pink, purple and mauve to white. Flowers have 4 petals, with two being longer than the other two. Globe Candytuft makes a great cutflower. It is a taller and less compact plant than Perennial Candytuft, but as you can see, the colors are striking and it makes a wonderful addition to the garden, especially in mass plantings.

If you are a beginning gardener, this is the plant for you, as it will make you look like you really know what you are doing! This is also a good plant for gardening with kids, because it grows and flowers so fast from seed (It is in bloom in just weeks from seed).

How to grow
Simply scatter seed on loosened ground in spring. Plant seeds indoors six to eight weeks before your region's last frost date. Since candytuft doesn't like transplanting, start seeds in peat pots - those brown, biodegradeable pots that you plant in the ground right along with the seedlings

Light: Full sun
Soil Moisture: Medium, rich and well-drained, drought-resistant. The addition of lime to acid soils will improve the growth of candytufts.
Spacing: 6 - 12 inches apart
Germination: 10-15 days. 68-70F
USDA Zone: 3a-9b

Medical Properties
Candytuft was an herb that was often used in Colonial times, mostly for rheumatism, gastrointestinal complaints, bronchial problems, and asthma symptoms. The whole plant is edible, but it is very bitter and for this reason has no uses in the modern kitchen. More recent studies have shown that it does have some merit cases of unexplainable gastric problems, but again, the taste is so bitter that any homemade remedy would taste too bad to be useful. There are, however, herbal preparations in existence with Candytuft as an ingredient that seem to be of some benefit in certain cases.

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