Sweet alyssum, as the name hints, is certainly a sweet-smelling annual, but it’s often grown in such small quantities that the smell is overlooked. Butterflies are drawn to the fragrant small flowers that range in color from blue to lavender, pink, yellow and white. Small, gray-green, linear leaves are covered by the abundant flowers, and as a member of the mustard family, the small, four- petaled flowers almost completely cover the foliage and bloom continuously.
The leaves and flowers can withstand light frosts, making this annual useful for spring baskets, container gardens and garden beds with well-drained, evenly moist soils. A single low-growing plant covers about 8 to 10 square inches.
Common Name: Sweet alyssum.
Botanical names: Lobularia maritima ‘Deep Purple’ and ‘Citron’.
Color: White, purple, yellow, lavender and pink.
Blooming Period: Indeterminate.
Size: 2 to 5 inches high, 10-inch spread.
Exposure: Full sun.
Hardiness Zone: 10-11.
When to Plant: After the last spring frost.
Soil: Well-drained garden soil, soilless media container mix.
When to Prune: This plant requires no pruning.
When to Fertilize: Upon planting and intermittently during growing season.
(From Carolina Gardener Volume XXIV Issue I. Photos courtesy of Clara A. Curtis.)