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Sweet Alyssum

Lobularia maritima

Sweet alyssum is a wonderful cool-season annual that seems to bloom its head off in mild spring weather. This plant has been a long-time favorite because of its dainty blossoms on tight mounds of foliage. These plants work great as landscape edging plants in the garden and even in containers. Plant them in masses to create an abundance of its light honey fragrance. Sweet alyssums are great for attracting pollinators to your garden.

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Light:

Part Sun, Sun

Type:

Height:

Under 6 inches to 12 inches

Width:

Up to 12 inches

Flower Color:

Foliage Color:

Seasonal Features:

Problem Solvers:

Zones:

9-11

Propagation

Colorful Combinations

Alyssum is most often found in a crisp, clean white. However, sometimes you will see the flowers in deep purple, light pink, or even a soft peach color. The abundant white blooms make this plant easy to use in garden designs—they can truly go with everything. Put them at the bases of plants to cover the ground and draw even more pollinators to your garden. Sweet alyssums are also valuable for their early spring blooms when nothing else has taken off.

Alyssum Care Must-Knows

Alyssums are easy plants to start from seed. Because they are cool-season annuals, they can be sown from seed directly in your garden several weeks before the last frost. They don't mind the cold, as long as it isn't a hard freeze. If you want an even quicker impact in your garden, start seeds indoors 5-6 weeks before the last frost date. It is best to plant alyssum in well-drained soil, keeping plants evenly moist throughout the season.

Be sure to give your alyssums plenty of sunshine. In northern climates with mild summers, full sun is ideal, which allows plants to keep blooming as much as they can. In areas where summers are on the warm side, plant alyssums in part sun, especially protected from the hot afternoon sun. This helps extend your bloom time a little longer. If the season does get too hot and plants stop blooming, shear plants back by about half. This will encourage new growth and give your plants a good base to bloom again once cool weather returns in fall.

Because alyssum is a cool-season annual, plants will generally stop blooming to conserve energy in the summer. However, there are some varieties that are much more tolerant of the heat and will give you more bloom time. In most cases, varieties with darker-colored blossoms tend to have less heat resistance than the pure white varieties.

New Innovations

Because sweet alyssum is such a popular garden plant, there has been a lot of research done in trying to make them even better for the garden, most of which has focused on creating varieties that are more heat tolerant and continue to bloom throughout the summer. Varieties like 'Snow Princess' have been great breakthroughs in this area, and have proven to persist through the summer. Soon, there may even be colored varieties that can venture into the fall!

More Varieties of Sweet Alyssum

'Clear Crystal Lavender' sweet alyssum

Lobularia maritima 'Clear Crystal Lavender Shades' is an extra-vigorous selection with fragrant, larger-than-typical lavender blooms. It grows 10 inches tall and 14 inches wide.

'Easter Basket' sweet alyssum

Lobularia maritima 'Easter Basket Blend' bears blooms with violet, rose, or pink flowers on 4-inch-tall plants.

'Easter Bonnet' sweet alyssum

Lobularia maritima 'Easter Bonnet Pastel Mix' offers soft pink, lavender, and white blooms on tidy 4-inch-tall plants.

'Frosty Knight' sweet alyssum

Lobularia 'Frosty Knight' is a novel variety that has cream-edged green leaves as an added bonus to the bountiful white blooms.

'New Carpet of Snow' sweet alyssum

Lobularia maritima 'New Carpet of Snow' bears white blooms on tidy 3-inch-tall plants.

'Rosie O'Day' sweet alyssum

Lobularia maritima 'Rosie O'Day' bears rosy-lavender flowers on compact 4-inch-tall plants.

'Snow Crystals' sweet alyssum

Lobularia maritima 'Snow Crystals' has fragrant, extra-large flowers on vigorous plants.

'Snow Princess' sweet alyssum

Lobularia maritima 'Snow Princess' is an exceptionally vigorous variety that's heat tolerant and bears clusters of white flowers that are much larger than older varieties. It's strongly fragrant, as well, and grows 6 inches tall but can trail to 5 feet.

Plant Sweet Alyssum With:

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.
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!
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.
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