Succeeding with Sweet Alyssum
The heady fragrance of sweet alyssum brings back wonderful memories for many gardeners. Seed grown varieties sold in 6-packs have been around for decades. They are always beautiful in the spring, but once the heat of summer arrives, they tend to go to seed and dwindle away.
All that has changed with the introduction of improved varieties of sweet alyssum that are every bit as fragrant, but have much better heat tolerance and vigor. They also don't go to seed, so you'll have flowers all the way from spring through fall without deadheading. If you love this beautiful flowering annual, take a look at long-lasting varieties like Snow Princess®, Blushing Princess®, Frosty Knight®, White Knight® and Dark Knight™. They are much more vigorous and grow well in containers and landscapes.
Here are a few tips for growing beautiful sweet alyssum.
No wet feet, please!
- Sweet alyssum likes to be watered often once it is mature, but that doesn't mean it enjoys having wet feet.
- When growing it in containers, use a good quality potting soil and make sure there is a drain hole in the bottom of the pot for excess water to escape through.
- In the ground, amend your soil to improve the drainage if you are planting in heavy clay. Sweet alyssum detests soggy soil.
Summer breezes welcome.
- Have a somewhat windy spot that needs some color? Sweet alyssum loves summer breezes! That good air circulation will help air move through its dense foliage and keep the plant healthy.
- The need for good air circulation makes sweet alyssum perfect for growing in hanging baskets and large, upright containers. It doesn't love being crowded in a garden bed with other plants.
- Wind dries out plants growing in containers fairly quickly, so check your plants often to make sure they aren't drying out.
- This plant will take all the sun you can give it! Make sure you plant it in a place that will receive a bare minimum of 6 hours of direct sun per day. It does not need any shade to thrive. Plants grown in shade will be much smaller and have fewer flowers.
Feed me, please!
- While the sun gives plants energy, the minerals and nutrients in plant food give the plants what they need to grow new leaves and flowers.
- We recommend feeding sweet alyssum with our premium water soluble plant food every third time you water. Why do we call it "premium"? Because it contains EDDHA Iron and minor nutrients which keep the foliage green, full and healthy all season.
- In addition to the water soluble plant food, we recommend incorporating our premium continuous release plant food, which comes in a pellet form, into the soil when you plant your sweet alyssum. The special coating on the pellets is designed to release more food during warmer months when your plants are growing the fastest.
Sweet alyssum is beautiful in container recipes. Click the recipe names below to see more ideas for each variety.
Be sure to check the plant size on the label when you are deciding which variety of sweet alyssum to grow. Snow Princess and Blushing Princess are very large plants. A single plant grown from a 4.5" container can spread 2-4 feet across! If you pair them with other plants in containers, make sure those other plants are very vigorous growers, too. You'll need a big container to grow these varieties.
The other varieties in this series are more compact, growing 18-24 inches across. Frosty Knight, which has unique variegated foliage, is the most restrained of the bunch and is admired for both its foliage and flowers. These smaller plants are perfect for edging a flower bed or growing in window boxes paired with other medium vigor plants.