Sweet Alyssum is an easy to grow annual, decorative and practical. Sweet Alyssum plays a key role in companion planting and can be used as a cover crop to attract insects, suppress weeds and increase fruit setting in vegetable beds. Read on for some tips on how to grow and care for Sweet Alyssum.
Where to Grow Sweet Alyssum
Flower beds are another popular choice for alyssum flower
varieties of all different sorts. Although mounding varieties generally work best in a flower bed, sprawling varieties will work, too, granted you have a large enough flower bed. There are no special instructions for planting alyssum in flower beds other than making sure there is proper drainage for the water, and including decent potting soil. Alyssum flowers are known for their ability to thrive in many different living arrangements.
Planting your alyssum flowers directly in the ground is a popular landscaping choice. Many have flower gardens or sections of flowers that they plant around their home. The alyssum flowers will make a great addition to either with their brightly-colored flowers and sweet scent. When planting Sweet Alyssum
in a garden or as landscaping, take into account whether your variety is mounding or sprawling. Some plant alyssum as a ground cover to take up sections of a garden; there are many good varieties to choose from for ground cover. Others choose mounding varieties for locations where there is a limited amount of room, or if you just want to leave space for additional flowers.
Growing your alyssum flowers in containers is another popular choice, particularly among those who have earlier winter months. The alyssum flower can be grown as a perennial in warmer climates, and is generally grown as an annual in cooler climates. To bypass their cooler climate, some choose to plant their alyssum in movable containers that can be brought inside during winter. This is a good way to get more enjoyment out of each plant if you don’t have the climate to leave them outside all year-round. When planting in containers, you may need to add fertilizer occasionally, as the plant will pull out nutrients from its limited amount of soil, leaving none for following seasons.
Hanging basketsAlyssum flowers
also do well as a hanging flower basket addition. Many varieties of the alyssum flower stay relatively small, even when fully matured. Their smaller size is ideal for hanging baskets where there is limited room available for growth. Although mounding varieties can be grown in hanging baskets, the sprawling varieties can create a neat cascading effect that droop down from the basket. Hanging alyssum flowers around your porch can even attract butterflies and hummingbirds.
When to Grow Sweet Alyssum
Sow seeds indoors in flats several weeks before the last average frost date in your region, or sow directly outdoors after all danger of frost is past. For nursery starts, plant outside any time after the last frost.
How to Grow Sweet Alyssum
Sweet Alyssum Propagation with Seeds
Annual species of alyssum are usually grown from seed sown on the surface of seed trays in late winter if grown inside, or from early spring onwards if sown outside. Do not cover the seeds, as they need light to germinate. Alyssum will readily self-seed around the garden and naturalise once you have grown it, so you won't need to do much more.
Sweet Alyssum Propagation with Cuttings
Perennial types of alyssum can be easily propagated using semi-ripe cuttings in early summer.
Take firm tip growth around 7–10cm long and place it in a pot with seed and cutting mix, or 50:50 peat and coarse propagating sand.
Remove the bottom two thirds of leaves and dip the bottom in rooting hormone.
Place in a propagator or pot covered with half of a clear 2 litre bottle, and position in partial shade. In around 6–8 weeks the cuttings should have taken root.
How to Care for Sweet Alyssum
Sweet Alyssum Lighting Requirements
Sweet Alyssum will thrive if you provide full sun for them. However, if you live in the region with a highly hot and dry climate, it would be better for your plants to get a bit of shadow in the middle of the day. When you grow this fragrant flower in northern, colder regions, you will need to provide a place with more sunlight for its healthy and vigorous growth.
Sweet Alyssum Soil CareSweet Alyssum
will grow in most garden soils, but prefers a well-drained fertile soil. There should be a balance between good drainage and water retention, although it is important that the plant is kept well-watered during the summer and doesn’t dry out, as this will terminate the flowering period. As alyssum is part of the Brassica family, the best growing conditions consist of a pH around 6.5–7, which can be easily monitored with a pH kit. The species name, “Maritimum”, means growing on the coast (maritime), so alyssum is highly suitable for growing in alkaline free-draining coastal soils. In hanging baskets, window boxes and containers, always use a premium standard potting mix and keep the plant well-watered throughout summer.
Sweet Alyssum Watering
Your Sweet Alyssum will need 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water weekly, and even more when summer days are really hot. However, take care to provide well-drained soil for your plants to avoid rot of roots and stalks. If you grow these beautiful flowers in a container, keep them well-watered. Take care to let the top 2 inches (5 cm) of the ground to dry enough before water your plants again. That way, you will avoid unwanted over-watering. Always keep in mind that older varieties are quite tolerant to drought, but new hybrids need regular watering because of continual blooming.
Sweet Alyssum Temperature & Humidity Care
In temperate weather, gardeners may be able to grow Sweet Alyssum
all year long, though the actual plants themselves are short-lived. Typically, they self-seed so much that while it seems as though the same plants are surviving all year long, the reality is that new seedlings are filling in. Sweet Alyssum plants repeat bloom, although many varieties tend to stop flowering in heat, only to often pick back up again in the fall. In areas of high humidity, you should compensate by reducing the amount of water given to plants.
Sweet Alyssum Fertilizer
Alyssum grown in a well-prepared bed with rich, loamy soil will not need fertilizer. When growing your plants in containers, provide a light, monthly feeding using a water-soluble fertilizer.
Sweet Alyssum Pruning
Sweet Alyssum plants do not require deadheading but can benefit from cutting them back to about half after the first flowering. This will produce a fuller plant as the season's progress. You may want to leave some flowers intact to go to seed because alyssum will self-sow and produce more plants. Do this once again in the heat of August, so plants will resurge for beautiful autumn bloom.
Sweet Alyssum Pests & Diseases
Fortunately, the flower of Sweet Alyssum
is usually disease-free, and you may occasionally encounter some disease problems. For example, you should avoid planting these plants in your garden on boggy soil or poorly drained ground to prevent stem rot. In some cases, when you Sweet Alyssum plant seeds directly in the garden, the seedlings may have problems with fleas or small beetles. Also, aphids can cause some problems for stressed plants, but you can avoid them with proper care. Because of its smell, Sweet Alyssum is deer-resistant. Therefore, your plants will keep these animals away from your garden.
Sweet Alyssum Varieties
Lots of alyssum varieties are available in colors that range from pinks, purples, yellows, whites, and variegated petals. Here are a few of our favorite showstoppers as we share all about alyssum: gardening tips & tricks.
Sweet Alyssum ‘Blushing Princess’ – produces variegated blooms in lavender and deep purple and white.
Sweet Alyssum ‘Royal Carpet’ – produces beautiful clusters of bright purple alyssum flowers which flourish throughout the summer.
Sweet Alyssum ‘Carpet of Snow’ – produces gorgeous mounds of fragrant white blooms.
Sweet Alyssum ‘White Knight’ – produces billowing bursts of sweetly fragranced blooms. Lovely in hanging baskets and cascading over edges.
Sweet Alyssum ‘Mountain Gold’ – produces cascades of bright yellow blooms that creep over rocks, edges, planters, and raised beds.
Sweet Alyssum Care FAQ
Does Sweet Alyssum grow back every year?
Technically a perennial, Sweet Alyssum is usually grown as an annual in most regions of the United States. In warmer zones where it is grown as a perennial, Sweet Alyssum doesn't last as long as other perennial plants.
Is Sweet Alyssum poisonous to dogs?
Annuals. You can have colorful annual plants to grow for borders, garden beds and cutting flowers that are safe for dogs.
Does Sweet Alyssum attract bees?
Additionally, Sweet Alyssum
has a strong, sweet scent, which can attract bees from large distances. Sweet Alyssum can grow and bloom all year long, which maintains its benefit for bees throughout the year. Sweet Alyssum attracts various other beneficial pollinators and is also tolerant to cold and drought.