Some old-fashioned bedding annuals never fall out of fashion because they are reliably beautiful and well-suited to lots of garden situations. Sweet alyssum is one of these long-loved gems. This compact herbaceous ornamental is native to the Canary Islands and regions along the Mediterranean. In the wild, it behaves as both an annual or short-lived perennial but is most commonly cultivated as an annual. Gardeners favor it as a bedding or container plant because it forms tidy, spreading mounds and will bloom continuously if provided the correct growing conditions.
The leaves of sweet alyssum are fine, linear and pale green or gray-green. In late spring or early summer it becomes covered with dense, showy clusters of tiny four-petaled white flowers that emit sweet, permeating fragrance. Bloom continues as long as temperatures remain cool. Bees, butterflies and other insect pollinators are attracted to the blooms and small, seed-filled dry fruits follow.
Sweet alyssum is drought tolerant and adapted to seaside conditions, so it does well in sandy or gravelly soils and full sun. It often self-sows, but gently. Popular as a bedding and container plant, it may also be used in rock gardens or along walkways where its strong, sweet fragrance may be easily enjoyed. It grows and flowers well in cool sunny indoor locations. Cut back spent flower stems to encourage additional flushes of bloom. Plants are propagated by seed and bloom about 8 weeks after sowing. (info source: Learn2Grow.com)
Genus - Lobularia
Species - Maritima
Common name - Sweet Alyssum
Pre-Treatment - Not-required
Hardiness zones - 5 - 10
Height - 2"-12" / 5.1 - 30 cm
Spread - 8"-12" / 20.3 - 30 cm
Plant type - Annual Flower
Vegetation type - Deciduous
Exposure - Full Sun, Partial Sun
Growth rate - Fast
Soil PH - Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline
Soil type - Loam, Sand
Water requirements - Drought Tolerant, Average Water
Care level - Easy
Landscape uses - Bedding Plant, Container, Edging, Hanging Basket, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall
Germination rate - 95%
Leaf / Flower color - Light Green, Gray Green / White
|Germination||1. Turn small containers, such as clean, empty yogurt cups or sour cream containers, upside down. Poke three to five holes in the bottom of each for water drainage.|
2. Fill the small containers with potting soil to within 1/4 to 1/2 inch from the top.
3. Spray water onto the top of the soil. Spray enough to moisten the soil, but not enough to make it muddy. Stir the soil, with the nail or a pencil, to distribute the moisture.
4. Scatter three to four seeds on top of the soil in each container. The seeds don't need much soil covering them. Just sprinkle enough potting soil over the seeds to cover them.
5. Place the containers on a tray. Lightly cover all of the containers with a sheet of plastic wrap. This keeps moisture and warmth in the soil, which allows the sweet alyssum seeds to germinate.
6. Place the tray in a sunny window.
7. Remove the plastic wrap and spray water onto the soil each day. Again, make sure to spray just enough to moisten the soil. Replace the plastic wrap.
8. Remove the plastic wrap when the plants begin to pop through the soil. Continue to water the plants, keeping the soil moist.
9. Place the tray of plants outdoors after the last frost of the season. Leave them for an hour the first day, and increase the amount time each day until the seedlings have spent 24 hours outdoors. This acclimates the plants to the outdoor temperatures.
10. Transplant your plants outdoors, in full sun or light shade.
Info source - Learn2Grow.com