The honey-scented blooms of Lobularia maritima appear in great profusion on the 3-8" tall annual when it is planted in full sun. Sweet alyssum displays a creeping growth habit which makes it especially lovely when planted around the edge of a hanging basket or color bowl. It will spill over and hide the rim of the container.
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Sweet alyssum used in a hanging ball with asparagus fern
The flowers are diminutive. But what they lack in size they make up for in numbers. They form in clusters at the tips of sweet alyssum's many thin stems. A single plant will produce hundreds of blooms at a time. When the plants are massed in a garden bed this makes for tremendous impact.
Color choices include purple, rose and white with white being the most popular. Perhaps this is because of the flowering plant's resemblance to newly fallen snow. White cultivars even bear names like: 'Carpet of Snow' and 'Snow Crystals'.
'Carpet of Snow' alyssum has been used in these hanging balls because of its resemblance to snow.
This is part of the holiday display at Longwood Gardens PA.
Gardeners often use sweet alyssum between pavers to good effect. This is easy to do. Just sprinkle the fine seed on the damp soil between the stones in early spring--four weeks before the last frost. Six weeks later, your path will be in fragrant bloom.
If you live where spring is brief, as it is here in Florida, the color show will be short-lived. Lobularia maritima is a cool season annual. The heat of summer will send it into quick decline. Remove the spent plants and resow in the fall.
In cool summer areas, cut the plants back and keep them watered. They will grow out and bloom again.
If you let the plants set seed, you will have volunteers the following spring. Ripe seed heads can also be clipped from the plants and saved in paper bags for use in the spring. Just shake the dried seed heads over damp soil wherever you want alyssum to grow.
L. maritima enjoys full sun and moist, well-drained soil.
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