The Best Spot In Your Garden To Plant Sweet Alyssum

Sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima) is sometimes called the carpet flower because of its beautiful mounds of flowers. This sprawling plant isn't afraid to stretch out and will form clumps of flowers that typically don't exceed 9 inches tall. Its growth habit lends itself well to rocky areas that can't grow much vegetation. As long as its root has ample soil and moisture, the rest of the plant can lay on top of soilless areas. Plant sweet alyssum in a sunny area with plenty of moisture for the best results. A happy plant will reward you with a thick mat of hundreds of tiny blooms. If you live in a hot climate, the plants will appreciate afternoon shade to protect them from excessive heat.

Sweet alyssum can be started indoors four to six weeks before the last frost. Harden them off and plant them outdoors once the danger of frost has passed. If you start seeds outdoors, wait until mid to late spring after the last frost. Seeds will take up to two weeks to germinate, so don't be discouraged if you don't see anything growing immediately.

Plant it with some flowers

Sweet alyssum is a great companion for many other flower species. Since it's a low-lying plant, it can grow underneath taller plants that like sunny and moist conditions. The taller plants will provide afternoon shade to the sweet alyssum, making it easy to care for in hot climates. The sweet alyssum will also act as a weed control since the carpeting growth habit will smother weeds.

Spring bulbs like daffodils, irises, and tulips work well with sweet alyssum because they take turns being dormant. Sweet alyssum will die out while the bulbs show off their pretty flowers and will self-seed and begin growing as the bulbs die out. The dormant bulbs that would normally leave a bare flower bed will be covered by carpets of small flowers. Find a winter hardy plant that will bloom in the coldest months to keep a full bed all year long.

It makes a great companion for vegetables

Pairing flowers and vegetables together will bring many benefits to your garden. Sweet alyssum attracts butterflies and bees, which will pollinate your vegetable garden. More pollination leads to more fruiting, so attracting more pollinators to your yard should be your top priority if you want a productive year.

Better yet, predatory insects like ladybugs and wasps will be attracted to the sweet alyssum, but since they feed on insects we consider pests, like aphids, they'll stick around to decimate the critters they find on your plants. Planting sweet alyssum at the ends of rows or in between vegetable plants will help bring more of these good insects to your yard. If you typically have pest problems, try adding sweet alyssum. Since it helps suppress weeds, growing it around your tall vegetables, like tomatoes, can be the perfect way to control common garden problems with very little effort.