Sweet Alyssum

This low-growing plant blooms like crazy during mild spring and fall temperatures.

Colorful Combinations

Alyssum flowers are most often found in a crisp, clean white. However, sometimes you'll see deep purple, light pink, or even soft peachy-hued varieties. The abundant white blooms make this plant easy to use in garden designs because they go with everything. Put them at the bases of plants to cover the ground and draw even more pollinators to your garden. Sweet alyssum is also valuable for its early spring blooms when nothing else has taken off.

Sweet Alyssum Care Must-Knows

Alyssums are easy plants to start from seed. Because they're cool-season annuals, they can be sown directly in your garden a few weeks before the last frost date for your area. 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 your alyssums get plenty of sunshine. In northern climates with mild summers, full sun is ideal, allowing plants to keep blooming as much as possible. In areas where summers are warmer, plant alyssums in part shade, especially to protect them 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 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, some varieties are much more tolerant of the heat and will give you more bloom time. In most cases, those with darker-colored blossoms tend to have less heat resistance than the pure white varieties.

New Innovations

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

More Varieties of Sweet Alyssum

Sweet Alyssum Overview

Description Sweet alyssum is a wonderful cool-season annual that has been a long-time favorite because of its dainty blossoms on tidy mounds of foliage. These plants make excellent 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 also will draw all sorts of pollinators to your garden.
Genus Name Lobularia maritima
Common Name Sweet Alyssum
Plant Type Annual
Light Part Sun, Sun
Height 6 to 6 inches
Width null to 12 inches
Flower Color Pink, Purple, White
Foliage Color Blue/Green
Season Features Fall Bloom, Spring Bloom, Summer Bloom
Special Features Fragrance, Good for Containers, Low Maintenance
Zones 10, 11, 9
Propagation Seed, Stem Cuttings
Problem Solvers Groundcover

'Clear Crystal Lavender' sweet alyssum

'Clear Crystal Lavender' sweet alyssum
Justin Hancock

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 Bonnet' sweet alyssum

sweet alyssum annual flowers
Peter Krumhardt

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

'Frosty Knight' sweet alyssum

'Frosty Knight' sweet alyssum
Justin Hanccock

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

'Snow Crystals' sweet alyssum

'Snow Crystals' sweet alyssum
Peter Krumhardt

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

'Snow Princess' sweet alyssum

'Snow Princess' sweet alyssum
Justin Hancock

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

Sweet Alyssum Companion Plants

Nemesia

Nemesia 'Candy Girl'
Peter Krumhardt

Nemesia is a charming cool-season annual with pretty little snapdragon-shaped flowers—often fragrant—that bloom in a wide range of colors. It does best in spring and fall (and 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

Majestic Giant pansies
Peter Krumhardt

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 appreciated for the early color they bring to pots, window boxes, and other containers. By summer, pansies bloom less, and their foliage starts to brown. When that happens, you'll have to be tough and tear them out and replant warm-season annuals, such as marigolds or petunias. But that's part of their charm as an ephemeral celebration of spring.

Stock

Red, Pink & White Stock And Geraniums
Julie Maris Semarco

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 subtle effect can best be appreciated. Stock is slightly spirelike and comes in a wide range of colors. It makes an excellent cut flower, perfuming bouquets. It grows best in full sun or part shade and moist, well-drained soil.

Garden Plans for Sweet Alyssum

Small-Space Vegetable Garden Plan

raised bed vegetable garden
Peter Krumhardt

Here's how to add great looks—and tastes—to your landscape with an easy small vegetable garden plan.

Download this garden plan.

Drought-Tolerant Garden Plan

backyard garden with decorative stone birdbath
Peter Krumhardt

This informal mixed garden bed features drought-tolerant trees, evergreen shrubs, perennials, and annuals.

Click here to get this plan.

Low-Water Garden Plan

Low-Water Garden Plan
Janet Loughrey

No matter where you live, it's inevitable that plants will take defeats in the middle of July. Count on this easy-care garden to stay looking good through dry spells.

Get this garden plan now.

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