Iberis sempervirens- commonly known as candytuft is a small growing ground cover. Propagation can be done via seed or cuttings. Generally the annual varieties are going to be propagated by seed.
In this article i will show how we propagate the perennial varieties using cuttings. We try and grow a few hundred iberis each year. They sell well during late winter and early spring when they are covered in flowers.
When and how to take the cuttings
We find that the best time to harvest your iberis sempervirens cuttings is in late spring- early summer. In our climate this is when they have basically finished flowering.
Bottom line we like to wait until flowering has finished before taking the cuttings. In cooler climates you may need to wait until mid-late summer.
Once flowering has finished the plants like to produce new growth.
We prefer to take small cuttings approximately 2 inches (5cm) long. The tips of the new growth will work the best although if needed you can harvest the cuttings from further down the stem.
Tip cuttings will achieve a higher strike rate.
Once the cutting are at the desired length strip off the lower 2/3 of the foliage. This section will be placed into the propagation mix to generate or strike roots.
Striking the roots.
To strike the roots on the cuttings we prefer to use a mixture of perlite and peat moss. Our personal mix is 10% peat moss- 90% perlite. In our opinion this is the best propagation mix for most plant cuttings.
Other people like to place their cuttings directly into potting mix or a glass of water. While these methods will work on certain plants this is how we make our living so we need to achieve very high success rates to make the propagation financially viable.
Plugging the cuttings into the perlite peat moss mix is easy. Simply wet the mix to firm it up, then use a tooth pick or skewer to create a small hole to place the stem of the cuttings in.
Once all the cuttings are in the mix- water them thoroughly. The cuttings then need to be stored in a well lit, sheltered area. It’s really important that they are kept out of direct sunlight and wind.
Wind and direct sunlight will quickly dry the cuttings out and they will most likely die. Because we take the cuttings during summer we water these daily until the roots develop.
Once the roots have developed we pot them into small pots filled with potting mix.
It will take around 5-8 weeks for the roots to develop. Allow the roots to fill the pots before moving the new plants out into the elements. Keep them in the pots for 2 weeks or so to acclimatise to the conditions. They can then be planted into the garden to larger pots.
Below is a short slide show showing the above steps. If you found this helpful you might like to check out the other plants we propagate. Some of you might also like to read about how we generate our income propagating and selling plants.
Botanical name: Iberis sempervirens
Common name: Candytuft
Native to: Southern Europe
Flowers: Winter- Spring
Position: Full sun- part shade