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Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima) Profile

Written by Iris

Aug 11 2021

Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima) Profile
Alyssum (Lobularia maritima) produces persistent pink, white, purple and cream flowers. These beautiful flowers are easy to grow and are perfect as frames, ground covers, hanging baskets or potted plants. Their lovely scent is a favourite of cottage gardeners and they are perfect for bringing beneficial insects and bees into the garden.

Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)Picture

 Sweet Alyssum

Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima) Info

Botanical Name Lobularia maritima
Common Names Sweet alyssum, alyssum, carpet flower
Plant Type Herbaceous perennial
Mature Size 3–9 in. tall, 6–12 in. wide
Sun Exposure Full sun, partial shade
Soil Type Moist but well-drained
Soil pH Neutral to acidic
Bloom Time Spring, Fall

Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima) Distribution Area

Sweet alyssum is a ground cover plant with tiny white, pink, cream, or purple flowers. Sweet Alyssumis classically found in coastal areas, but it will grow in most zones during the growing season. 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.
Sweet Alyssum

How to Grow and Care for Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)

How to Grow Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)

  • With Seeds
Annual species of Sweet 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 Sweet Alyssum seeds, as they need light to germinate. Sweet Alyssum will readily self-seed around the garden and naturalise once you have grown it, so you won't need to do much more.
  • With Cuttings
Perennial types of Sweet 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 (Lobularia maritima)

  • Light
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 Sweet alyssum to get a bit of shadow in the middle of the day.
  • Soil
Sweet 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 Sweet alyssum is kept well-watered during the summer and doesn't dry out, as this will terminate the flowering period.
  • Water
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 Sweet alyssum to avoid rot of roots and stalks.
  • Temperature and Humidity
In temperate weather, gardeners may be able to grow sweet alyssum all year long, though the actual plants themselves are short-lived. 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, compensate by reducing the amount of water given to Sweet alyssum.
  • Fertilizer
Sweet alyssum grown in a well-prepared bed with rich, loamy soil will not need fertilizer. When growing your Sweet alyssum in containers, provide a light, monthly feeding using a water-soluble fertilizer.
  • 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.
Sweet Alyssum

Uses of Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)

Sweet alyssum makes an excellent companion plant in the garden. Some plants, when grown together, can boost each other's growth, fertility, yields, protect them from pests, and attract beneficial insects.
  • Here are some ways to use sweet alyssum in your garden:
  • Use alyssum to lure aphids away from vegetable plants.
  • To attract beneficial pollinators to your gardens.
  • Fills open space in the garden to deter weeds—plant in bare spots or in row spaces between vegetables.
Medicinal Uses
Believe it or not, there is some evidence to support the use of alyssum flowers for some medical ailments. It is important to note that none of these uses are scientifically backed and that a doctor should always be consulted for any medical interventions.  
The use of alyssum flowers for certain medical uses has been around for centuries, and has been used around the world.
Some of the more popular medicinal uses include treating coughs, abdominal pain, treating rabies (please see a medical professional right away if you believe you have been exposed to the rabies virus), treating scurvy (please see a medical professional if you think you might have scurvy), removing excess fluids from your system, promoting urine secretion, supporting renal functions, and treating gonorrhea (again please see a medical professional before treating gonorrhea with alyssum flowers).  
Although these uses may not be scientifically backed, there is evidence of people using alyssum flowers to treat these conditions throughout history.
When used for medicinal purposes, you are supposed to eat the leaves, flowers, and stems when the plant is still young. Many recommend adding these parts of the plant to a salad. Eating alyssum leaves, flowers, and stems will not harm you unless you are allergic to the plant.
Sweet Alyssum

Varieties of Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)

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 (Lobularia maritima) Common 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 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

Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima) Design Tips

Sweet alyssum is used as a bedding plant in annual or mixed borders and in containers. Sweet alyssum combines nicely with many other short-statured annuals, such as shorter zinnias and marigolds, bright blue Lobelia, celosia, and snapdragons. Sweet alyssum works well as an edging plant, as an airy filler among young perennials, or as a ground cover when planted in masses. It can be overplanted among bulbs such as tulips and daffodils to fill in the area as the spring bloomers go dormant, or underplanted beneath clematis, daylilies or roses where its dense growth helps smother weeds. Sweet alyssum is especially nice placed where it can spill over the edge of a container or hanging basket, or where its billowy blooms can cascade down a slope in a rock garden. Sweet alyssum is frequently used as a filler in containers or to cascade down the planters edge.

Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima) Companion Plants

Nemesia

Nemesia is a charming cool-season annual with pretty little snapdragon-shape flowers—often fragrant—that bloom in a wide range of colors. It does best in spring and fall (winter in mild-winter climates), though some varieties have better heat-tolerance than others. In cool-summer areas, such as the Pacific Northwest, nemesia will continue to bloom right through the summer into fall. Nemesia prefers moist, well-drained soil that's rich in organic matter.

Stock

Stock offers a wonderfully spicy, distinctive scent. Plant it in spring several weeks before your region's last frost date; this annual thrives in cool temperatures and stops blooming once hot weather arrives. It's especially wonderful in window boxes and planters at nose level, where its sometimes subtle effect can best be appreciated. Stock is slightly spirelike and comes in a wide range of colors. It makes a great cut flower, perfuming bouquets as well as the border. It grows best in full sun or part shade and moist, well-drained soil.

Pansy

From tiny, cheerful Johnny jump-ups to the stunning 3-inch blooms of Majestic Giant pansies, the genus Viola has a spectacular array of delightful plants for the spring garden. They're must-haves to celebrate the first days of spring since they don't mind cold weather and can even take a little snow and ice. They're pretty planted in masses in the ground, but also cherished for the early color they bring to pots, window boxes, and other containers. By summer, pansies bloom less and their foliage starts to brown. It's at this time that you'll have to be tough and tear them out and replant with warm-season annuals, such as marigolds or petunias. But that's part of their charm—they are an ephemeral celebration of spring.