Sweet Alyssum

Sweet alyssum has clusters of small white flowers
Sweet alyssum, photo by Ansel Oommen; Bugwood.org.

Looking for a fall-to-winter bloomer that offers flowers and fragrance? Sweet alyssum checks both of those boxes.

Sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima) is a low-growing annual. It grows in a mounding form to about 12 inches tall and wide. It can be planted in your garden or used in a container, where its spreading habit spills nicely. Clusters of tiny white, pink, or purple flowers bloom continuously from winter through spring. Butterflies and bees are attracted to the carpet of flowers which, interestingly enough, smell like honey. This plant functions like a flowering groundcover that can tie together different elements in your flower beds.

The old seed-grown types are poor performers compared to new types that are vegetatively propagated (i.e. grown from cuttings). A good example is the hybrid series, Easy Breezy™. It’s compact and so heat tolerant that it will continue well after spring. This cultivar comes in white, pink, and purple forms. Another hybrid with positive reports for heat tolerance is white-blooming Lobularia ‘Inlbusnopr’, often sold under the trademarked name Snow Princess®.

Planting and Care

Sweet alyssum performs best when planted in a spot that has well-drained soil and receives full sun, but it can also take some shade. For maximum flowering, plants should be watered regularly and fertilized. Sweet alyssum is generally pest free, and reportedly deer resistant. You can plant from October until late spring.

For more information on sweet alyssum, contact your county Extension office.

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