Tropical Style

Fantastic Design Plant: Sweet Alyssum

January 13, 2019

Each October or November I begin my search for transplants of sweet alyssum to grow my garden. My romance with this tiny plant began decades ago when I found its broad use in my southern winter garden. If you’re searching for a winter bloomer, nonstop flowering and delicately scented flowers, sweet alyssum is the best alternative — this tiny charmer is actually among the strongest workhorses in the winter annual garden.

Botanical name: Lobularia maritima
Common title: Sweet alyssum
USDA zones: All zones may plant alyssum
Water requirements: Average water needs, but don’t overwater
Lighting requirements: Full to part sun
Mature size: 8 to 12 inches tall
advantages and tolerances: Attractive to butterflies, birds and bees
Seasonal interest: Nonstop winter flowering in warmer climates; spring and summer blooming in cooler climates
When to plant: if you reside in a warm climate, plant in fall or winter; cooler climates, plant in spring.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons user Qwertzy2

J. Peterson Garden Design

Distinguishing traits. Alyssum features clusters of small flowers in shades of white, purple, rose and pink which have a delicate honey aroma. These flowers bloom nonstop throughout the entire year, and no deadheading is necessary to produce more flowers.

Glenna Partridge Garden Design

The best way to use it. The mounding and trailing habit of alyssum, together with the diminutive size of the plant, makes it perfect for adding to low boundaries, annual beds, container plants, hanging baskets and rock gardens. It combines beautifully with other flowering annuals such as violas, pansies, snapdragons, cyclamen, inventory and ornamental cabbages, and kale.

Planting notes. Plant in a sunny site in well-drained soil. Water frequently until the plant is created, but don’t overwater. No fertilizing is necessary to keep it blooming, but if you need to fertilize nearby plants, alyssum will accept it without complaint. It is actually a fairly drought-tolerant plant and may be utilised in rock gardens, but it will seem a bit fuller and more vibrant if given average water.

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