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Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia) - A Fragrant, Easy to Grow Flower

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Tips for growing Sweet Alyssum.

Sweet Alyssum Snow Princess® is a free-flowering, fragrant spring flower.

Photo Provided by Proven Winners® (http://www.provenwinners.com/)

Overview:

Sweet Alyssum is a delicate carpet of tiny flowers with a subtle, sweet scent. The low-growing foliage is covered by flowers for much of the growing season. Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima) is very easy to grow, from plant or seed. Sweet Alyssum is a cool season flower that can be set out in early spring are grown throughout the fall and winter, in frost-free climates. Most varieties will fade in the heat, but rally again in the fall.

Latin Name:

Lobularia maritima

Common Name(s):

Alyssum, Sweet Alyssum

Description:

Leaves: Narrow, lance-shaped, slightly hairy gray-green leaves.

Flowers: Tiny cross-shaped, 4 petal flowers in white, pale pink and purple, clustered in rounded racemes.

Hardiness Zones:

Sweet Alyssum is an Annual Some varieties are hardy in frost-free areas. Gardeners in USDA Hardiness Zones 7–11 may have plants that continue growing all year long, but they may be short-lived. Sometimes they self-seed so much that is seems as if the same plants are surviving, when in reality, new seedlings are filling in.

Exposure:

Full sun to Partial Shade.

Size:

4–6" (h) x 6–9" (w)

Bloom Period:

Repeat blooms, although many varieties tend to slow down in heat.

Design Tips:

Sweet Alyssum is a low grower that makes a wonderful carpet-like ground cover. You can use it along edges, in the garden, or to fill nooks and crannies on walkways and walls. If you plant it near stone or anywhere that dries out quickly, you will need to provide some extra water. The tight free-flowering plants are also great in hanging baskets and containers.

Suggested Varieties:

  • 'Easter Bonnet' - An early blooming variety, in lavender or white.
  • 'New Carpet of Snow' - Low growing variety, covered in white flowers.
  • 'Pastel Carpet' - A blend of pinks, lavenders and creams.
  • 'Snow Crystals' - Tidy, mounding variety with clear white flowers and good stamina.
  • Snow Princess® - A sterile hybrid, from Proven Winners, that stands up well to heat.

Growing Tips:

Soil: Alyssum perfers a neutral soil pH and a rich, loamy soil.

Planting: You can start Sweet Alyssum from seed or plant. Market packs are widely available in nurseries, in the spring and often in the fall.

To start Sweet Alyssum from seed, simply scatter the seed and press it down, so that it makes good contact with the soil, but it is still exposed to light. Keep the soil moist, until germination. Then water whenever the soil feels dry.

You can direct seed outdoors, after once the soil feels warm to the touch. You can also start alyssum indoors, but do not transplant until after all danger of frost. About 8 weeks before your last frost date should be sufficient. Alyssum is somewhat frost tolerant, once established, but tender transplants are not hardy enough for frost.

Maintenance:

Sweet Alyssum loves full sun, but it does not like prolonged dry periods. To keep it going into summer, provide at least a inch of water every week, more during hot or dry spells.

Deadheading will keep the plants flowering. If you have a large drift of plants, shearing them by 1/3 would be an easier option than deadheading. They will set new buds quickly.

Your in ground alyssum plants should not need any fertilizer, unless your soil is poor. Container alyssum plants will need more frequent water and monthly feedings with a water soluble fertilizer.

Some varieties will readily re-seed themselves, but the plants tend to revert to the somewhat gangly species. Man of the newer hybrids, like Snow Princess™, pictured here, are sterile, but they have improved vigor and stand up to the heat better than those that put a lot of energy into setting seed.

Pests & Problems:

Sweet Alyssum is generally problem free. Aphids can become a pest, especially when the plants are under stress.

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