Sweet alyssum is a delightful flowering plant that can bring a burst of color to your garden or landscape. This lovely plant originates from Europe and features low-growing foliage that rapidly covers the ground with its petite cross-shaped flowers just two months after sowing seeds. Its lance-shaped, slightly hairy leaves have a gray-green hue. Sweet alyssum is a cool-season flower that thrives in the early spring, once the threat of frost has subsided. In frost-free climates, it can also flourish throughout the fall and winter seasons. However, it is important to be cautious with this plant, as it can become invasive in California and other parts of the United States where it grows aggressively. Nevertheless, sweet alyssum is a charming plant that requires little attention, as it is resilient to cooler temperatures and will continually bloom when the climate cools. These flowers emit a delightful honey-like fragrance and belong to the cabbage and mustard family. They will bring vibrant colors to your garden year after year, particularly in milder climates, as they have the ability to self-sow. Generally, sweet alyssum is not prone to problems, but when the plant undergoes stress, aphids may appear. As it spreads, this plant acts as a living mulch under taller plants. You can utilize sweet alyssum to decorate garden edges or fill in gaps in walkways and walls. Its compact, profusely blooming nature also makes it a fantastic option for hanging baskets and containers as a “spiller.” However, it is crucial to note that sweet alyssum has been identified as an invasive species in California and exhibits aggressive growth in Hawaii and similar warmer climates.
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Sweet alyssum is a plant that thrives in the sun and requires well-draining soil that is kept moist. It can be planted in various locations such as sandy beaches, walls, slopes, and even cracks in sidewalks or walls. However, it does not do well in boggy soil or areas with poor drainage. To ensure the health of your sweet alyssum, make sure to give them at least one inch of water per week, especially during hot weather or dry spells. Although the plant’s lifespan is short, it has a strong ability to self-seed and bloom again. If you choose to use fertilizer, a time-release option can be used when planting seeds, but generally, sweet alyssum grown in the ground does not require it. There are different types of sweet alyssum to choose from, such as the early blooming ‘Easter Bonnet,’ the low-growing ‘New Carpet of Snow,’ and the highly fragrant ‘Snow Princess.’ If you live in a hot and dry region, it’s recommended to plant your sweet alyssum in an area with afternoon shade to ensure its thriving.
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