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Alyssum Snow Carpet - Seeds

This fragrant plant is valued for its dainty foliage and tiny white flowers. Its creeping habit makes it very useful for edging and for filling in gaps in pathways and stone walls.
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Alyssum is a low growing annual that is known for its carpet of sweet smelling white, violet or purple colored flowers. It grows and flowers best during the coolest parts of the summer in New England, but in northern and coastal areas can be in flower all summer long. The narrow hairy leaves are inconspicuous when alyssum is in full flower. Bees, butterflies and other insects love alyssum making it a good plant in a pollinator garden. In my garden it will self-sow readily and become a permanent fixture each year.

Common name: Sweet alyssum
Color: Varieties come in different shades of White, purple and pink, varying heights and spreads, some with double flowers (on varieties that florists use) and some with larger flowers.
Bloom time: Blooms all summer in colors of white, lavender or pink
Height: 4 to 6 inches x 6 to 12 inches
Difficulty level: Medium

Planting & Care
Alyssum grows best in well-drained, humusy soil that holds moisture well in the summer. Hot, dry spells cause alyssum to stop flowering and potentially dieback. Alyssum needs at least 4 to 6 hours of direct sun to flower well. Alyssum grows well planted directly in the garden from seed, started as seedlings indoors 8 to 10 weeks before the last frost date, or purchased as a transplant from the local garden center. Alyssum started directly in the garden from seed will bloom later than those started or purchased as transplants. Sow seeds or plant transplants in spring after all danger of frost has passed. Simply sprinkle seeds in the soil bed and lightly press them into the soil. Keep the soil evenly moist and they will germinate within one week. Plant alyssum tightly together in groups spaced only 6 inches apart to create a quicker flowering carpet effect.

Sunlight: Full sun, part sun

Soil: Requires damp soil

Water: Alyssum grows best in well-drained, humusy soil.

Temprature: 60 F. (16 C.) degrees

Fertilizer: Apply any organic fertilizer.

  • Direct seed in garden or pot in mid- to late spring, or indoors 4 to 6 weeks before last frost.
  • Do not cover the seeds, as they need light to germinate.
  • Prepare the soil prior to planting by weeding, working in organic amendments and raking out any obstructions.
  • Before transplanting your seedlings, check the drainage in your soil by digging a hole and filling it with water.
  • If soil doesn’t drain quickly, work in compost, leaf litter or grit, such as sand, to increase the porosity of the soil.
  • Keep the bed weed free to reduce competition for resources and provide even moisture.

Harvesting: Tired alyssum plants often melt down in hot, humid conditions. As annual flowers go, they are short-lived.

  • Keep alyssum well-watered during hot, dry weather.
  • It has few pests and diseases.
  • In mid summer to stimulate more growth and flowering shear your alyssum plants by 1/3rd of their height.
  • Fertilize afterward with a balanced product and water and they will regrow for a late summer flower show.
  • When grown in containers or small spaces with little soil, fertilize monthly to keep them growing strong.

Special Feature:
Alyssum is famous for attracting tiny wasps and other beneficial insects.
Medicinal use:
  • In Afghanistan, this plant is used medicinally for asthma and nervous disorders, and in Spain it is a diuretic and provider of vitamin C.

Culinary use:
  • In Spain, leaves and flowers are added to salads to give them a little extra spicyness.

Ornamental use:
  • This fragrant plant is valued for its dainty foliage and tiny white flowers.
  • Its creeping habit makes it very useful for edging and for filling in gaps in pathways and stone walls.

Some people with very sensitive skin get a rash from handling this plant.

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