Growing sweet alyssum remains an easy task. The fluffy plant with its myriad flowers continues to be one of the top choices for filling in spots in the garden, to form a lovely scented border for a flower bed, and as a frilly filler for your outdoor pots of flowers.
This versatile, spreading tiny plant is sturdy enough to grow nearly everywhere with the proper care. It has even become a naturalized flower in some areas. Sweet alyssum loves both heat and is tolerant to drought. And if you live in warmer climates, sweet alyssum may even self-seed, bringing the dainty cluster of flowers back year after year.
Sweet Alyssum Plant Information
Sweet alyssum plants are annual flowering plants that are a great addition to the flower bed, flower pots, or alpine rock gardens. They perform well on slopes and can help prevent erosion. Some other quick facts about sweet alyssum include:
- Height is from 6 -12 inches.
- Colors range in blue, pink and white.
- The plant is a free flowering annual.
- Alyssum is low maintenance.
- It is fragrant.
- It is excellent for flowerbeds and containers.
Sweet Alyssum Guide Questions and Answers
Is sweet alyssum an annual or perennial?
Lobularia maritima or alyssum maritimum is the botanical name for sweet alyssum. It is helpful to know the botanical names if you want an exact type of alyssum or to differentiate alyssum from other similar border plants. Alyssum comes back each year through self-seeding in warmer climates. If you garden in warn climates, your alyssum will appear to be a perennial, but it is not. Alyssum self-seeds and frequently reoccurs in the same place every year in warmer areas.
Alyssum grows as an annual in cooler climates. If you live in cold climates, you will need to start plants indoors in the spring or sow the seeds outdoors in the borders of your flowerbed. Either way, sweet alyssum comes in a variety of complementary colors that suit any flowerbed’s plantings.
When should sweet alyssum seeds be planted?
Planting time for alyssum seeds is determined by the USDA Planting Zone in which you live. Warmer climates may plant alyssum seeds in the late winter, while gardeners planting alyssum outdoors should wait until the soil is warm and there is no more danger of freezing before they plant. Some experts suggest that the soil temperature should be 60 f or 16 c before planting alyssum seeds or plants outdoors. Many seed packages have information about when to directly plant seeds into the soil in your area.
If you live in the north or want to get a head start on your planting, alyssum is quickly started indoors using pots and potting soil. Many greenhouses also carry the charming plants during the proper planting time for your region. Planting the seeds is much less expensive than buying the plants, however.
Alyssum remains an easy plant to grow from seed, too. To grow alyssum indoors, place some potting soil in individual containers. Water the soil thoroughly. Then sprinkle the tiny seeds on top of the ground. Press the seeds into the dirt, but don’t cover the seeds. Keep the potting soil evenly moist. It takes from 15 to 20 days until you will see the first sprouts of alyssum plants. Keep watering the soil when necessary and be patient, and soon your plants will start.
How do I grow alyssum plants?
Alyssums are notoriously easy to grow. First, select the type of alyssum you think would make the best border for your flower bed. Or choose a color of alyssum that would look lovely trailing in your alpine or rock garden. If you prefer hanging baskets, choose a color of alyssum that accents the colors of your flowers or plants in your flower pots.
Where do I plant my alyssum flowers?
Next, place your alyssum seeds directly on top of the soil. Alyssum loves full sun, so find your seeds a sunny spot in your garden, or transplant you the plants you started indoors outside to an area of full sun. Another good choice for location is a place in your garden that has partial sun during the heat of the day. Alyssum doesn’t like extreme heat conditions and doesn’t mind a break from the sun during part of the day.
A flowerbed with the sun in the morning and a bit of shade in the afternoon is perfect for alyssums, especially if you live in a warm climate. A porch with shade for part of the day also is ideal for the darling little flower.
What type of soil does an alyssum plant need?
Alyssum does well in many types of soil, making it an ideal border or filler plant for any flowerbed. Test the ground drainage by digging a small hole in the place where you want to place your plant. Then fill the hole with water. Watch the speed in which the water drains. If it drains slowly, add some sand or compost to the soil to help it drain properly. Remove any weeds or debris that might be in the area you are placing the plant.
Then place the plant gently into the hole, put soil around the plant and water it in thoroughly. Or smooth out the ground, sprinkle it with alyssum seeds and gently pat the seeds into the top of the soil without covering the seeds. Do not overwater your alyssum plants.
Alyssum Flower Care
Alyssum takes little care beyond watering and weeding around the plants. Alyssum flowers, as well as any flowering plant, enjoy adequate water and fertilizing. Just use whatever fertilizer you use for the rest of your flower pots or flower bed, and your alyssum will be adequately fed.
Once the plants have gone through a blooming period, you will need to trim them back to encourage further blooming. If you don’t deadhead, the plant will set seed and quit blooming. You don’t need to carefully dead head each flower, however. Simply take a sharp set of gardening scissors and trim your alyssum back by about one third to encourage new growth.
The frothy sweet alyssum plant is easy to start, easy to grow, comes in a variety of colors and is disease resistant. Alyssum may be the plant you’ve been looking for to polish the look of your garden or the pots on your porch. Try adding some sweet alyssum to your garden today to soften the edges of your plantings.