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Iberis: the flower of indifference

Photo by Mabel Amber from Pixabay

The plants of Iberis, easy to cultivate, they originally come from southern Europe, in the areas bordering the Mediterranean coast. Depending on the specific cultivars, they can tolerate a little shade but bloom fully only when well exposed to the sun. As far as the soil is concerned, they are very resistant to drought and prefer the gravelly base of their lands of origin: for this reason when they are grown in domestic environments, they give their best in rock gardens, where the soil is well drained. With lush foliage of an intense green and showy blooms, the plants of Iberis are perfect for decorating perimeters, also because they do not reach a height that blocks the view of what is behind it. For this reason, Iberis is often used along the edges in the design of gardens. The blooms illuminate the green spaces in some cases already from winter and until May, with abundant flowers of a blinding white, which becomes more tenuous towards the end of flowering. In addition to the classic white, the color of the flowers can also be pink, as in the Pink Ice variety, and more rarely red or purplish.

Cultivation methods
During the sowing process, a distance of at least 15 centimeters must be provided for optimal coverage of the available soil. The most important aspect, however, is that of guaranteeing excellent drainage for Iberis, an aspect which, as we have seen, is truly fundamental in ensuring its vitality. Once they have taken hold and planted stable roots, the plants are resistant to drought, but it is crucial to water the younger specimens, especially during the warmer periods. This perennial plant prefers by far to be cultivated with an alkaline substrate: therefore the fertilizer should be carefully chosen, preferably enriched with potassium and phosphorus. Cultivating Iberis in colder areas is possible, taking care when late autumn comes to protect the plants from frost and the winds of winter with suitable systems.

Diseases and cures
To keep the Iberis healthy, you can remove the upper part of the foliage (topping) after flowering, in order to prevent the plant from getting sick and to maintain its compactness. This plant is resistant to pests and most diseases, however, attention must be paid to root rot, which could cause irreparable damage when the soil becomes swampy.

Curiosity
In the language of flowers, this wonderful plant symbolizes indifference, perhaps due to its being lush and pure regardless of the weather.
Despite their beauty, the flowers do not have a pleasant scent but are excellent for enticing the passage of bees, favoring the pollination of other perennial plants.
Many do not know that a popular cultivar, Autumn Snow, blooms even in the fall.
It is worth noting that Iberis is part of the cabbage family, making it in all respects a cruciferous, a name that generally recalls images of dishes full of broccoli. The common English name "candytuft" could mislead and make you think of candies, but it actually derives from "Candia", an ancient term for the island of Crete, where the first specimens that came to northern Europe came from.

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