Sweet alyssum, which is also referred to as Lobularia maritima or Alyssum maritimum, is a beautiful, woody-stemmed perennial flower that spreads and forms mats, making it the perfect plant to use as ground cover. It is also one of the easiest flowers to plant and can quickly add a pop of color to your backyard or garden in just weeks’ time! The plant originally comes from Europe and western Asia and is noted for its ability to grow in a wide range of conditions. While sweet alyssum rarely reaches more than 9 inches in height, it has been noted to grow as tall as a foot and spread that far as well. The leaves of alyssum are narrow and feature delicate, white-colored hairs on them for protection. The flowers on the plant are small but strikingly beautiful and usually grow in shades of lavender, pink and white. They are also widely recognized for carrying a light, refreshing honey scent. Sweet alyssum flowers typically grow in the summer, and the plant continues to flower until the middle of fall. Even if you plant alyssum as late as July, it will still fully bloom before fall rolls around!
In order to properly maintain these plants, you must first take note of their proper growing conditions. Alyssum flowers need full sun in the peak hours of the day and then need some partial shade in the afternoon and evening. The plants also like a moderate amount of water with good drainage, so making sure you invest in good-quality soil is a must. When planting alyssum, you should lay the seeds in the early spring months for optimal growth. Be sure to plant the seeds about 6 to 8 inches apart so that the roots have ample room to grow and flourish. The soil you plant the alyssum seeds in should be a bit dry, at least for the first few weeks until the plant begins to bloom. Alyssum also prefers medium-moist soil to heavy watering, so keep in mind the amount of water you give them each week—you do not want to drown them!
Once the flowers have budded and are in full bloom, you should trim back any dead flowers and prune the plants regularly. Doing so will help them grow faster and cover a larger surface area of the ground. Another great way to plant alyssum is in hanging baskets, which are available on our website or at your local garden and landscaping retailer. Growing these plants in a hanging basket will achieve a beautiful cascading effect and serve as the perfect addition to your front porch or backyard patio. Alyssum will be in full bloom and beautiful in the spring, calm down in mid-to-late summer, then grow again in the autumn months, making it a versatile and delicate addition to your flower garden.
At Main Street Seed & Supply, we stock Alyssum Seeds in both the white "Carpet of Snow" variety, as well as the Royal Carpet variety. Shop today and get started growing your own!