Sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima) is an economical annual. It self-sows before dying, returning every year as if it were a perennial. But you don't have to feel you're stuck with having an alyssum bed where the seeds fall. Alyssum seedlings transplant without problems to areas of full sun or partial shade. You find this honey-scented ground cover as edgings and rock-garden fillers in cool-summer areas. Caring for alyssum is simple and it guarantees an outdoor carpet of abundant flowers for your home.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Measuring tape
- 2 tbs. 10-52-17 fertiliser
- 1 gallon water
- Mixing container
- Measuring cup
- Lawnmower or shears
Plant alyssum in well-drained soil after spring's last frost. Space plants 8 inches apart. If sowing seeds, don't cover them with soil, as they depend on light exposure for germination. Seeds also require temperatures between 18.3 and 23.9 degrees Celsius.
Mix 2 tbsp of a 10-52-17 fertiliser with 1 gallon of water. Apply 1 cup of this high-phosphorous formula to each alyssum seedling at transplanting to promote quick root development.
Irrigate alyssum flowers infrequently, as they have a low water requirement. Water them when the soil surface feels dry to the touch. At that time, apply 1 inch of water in one single soaking session.
Prune alyssum flowers when they go to seed in midsummer to encourage a second batch of blooms. Mow them if the plants are in an area without obstructions. If they're planted among rocks, for instance, cut the dead flowers with shears.
Prepare for a new generation of alyssum flowers come spring. At the end of the season, allow the dead plants to stay in the ground as insulation for the self-sown seeds and tender seedlings. Pull the dead alyssum out of the ground after the last frost in spring to expose newly germinated plants.
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- East Texas Gardening: Sweet Alyssum
- University of Illinois Extension: Annual Sweet Alyssum--Lobularia maritima
- Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County--Home Grown Facts: Sweet Alyssum--Lobularia Maritima
- Michigan State University Extension: Lobularia--Sweet Alyssum
- University of Illinois Extension--Gardening with Annuals: Planting Annuals
- Bodger Seeds, Ltd.: Alyssum