By Frances Santos
Want to Grow A Carpet of Alyssum In Your Garden? Learn How!
Alyssum was first originated in Southern Europe. It is a genus of more than 100 species of flowering plants. It is a member of Mustard family, comprising of annual and perennial herbaceous plants. Alyssum plants are small, about a few inches but they spread as much as a foot in diameter. Alyssum flowers are tiny and tightly grouped. Alyssum colors include yellow and white, while a few species display pink, lavender, violet and purple shades. White Alyssum by far is the most popular.
Alyssum flowers love cool weather and grow profusely in spring that you can hardly see the plant. By mid-summer, you can smell the sweet scent of Alyssum. What's best about Alyssum plants is that they are tiny and easy to grow. They are ideal for rock walls and sunny rock gardens or in any well-drained location with good sunny position. They are a great choice for beginners and for hard to grow locations.
Alyssum is grown from seed. The seeds can be planted indoors for transplanting at a later time, or directly seeded into your outdoor garden. Sow Alyssum seeds outdoors after temperatures have warmed and once the soil can be worked. Cover the seeds lightly with soil and water well.
Although Alyssum plants can tolerate partial shade and will survive light frost, you must put transplants outdoors in spring after all the danger of winter has passed.
How to Grow Alyssum
Prepare the following tools and materials:
Garden tiller, pruning shears, organic mulch and liquid fertilizer.
Alyssum grows best in full sun. Four to six hours of direct sunlight daily is recommended for optimal flowering. Alyssum plants do well in average soils and can even tolerate dry soil conditions. However, they can only endure a little crowding so keep in mind to allow 6-8 inches spacing. It's also necessary to water them thoroughly once or twice a week especially during dry periods.
- Using a garden tiller, cultivate the soil to a depth of 6 inches. Lay the seeds on the surface of the soil 6 inches apart. The seeds will rely on sunlight to germinate so do not cover the planting site. Water the seedlings with liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength.
- The germination process takes about 7-14 days at 65 degrees to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. During this phase, it is necessary to keep the soil moist. Continue watering your Alyssum until the seedlings emerge.
- After seedlings have come out, apply a 3-inch layer of organic mulch to the soil. This will keep the moisture and prevent weeds from cropping up.
- With a 20-20-20- NPK balanced liquid fertilizer, feed your Alyssum once a month throughout the growing season. Keep in mind to water right away after each application to dispense the nutrients and to avoid any root injury.
- Using the pruning shears, cut alyssum flowers to half as clean as possible four weeks after the first blooming period. This process will prevent self-seeding and will help promote a second set of blooms before the growing season ends.
Alyssum Important Tips
Alyssum flowers are bee-magnet and attract other insects, so make sure to choose your planting location very well. Do not plant Alyssum to areas where people often gather together.
One of Alyssum's most useful landscape uses is functioning as filler between spring-flowering bulbs such as lilies and tulips.