Low growing, showy garden perennials, that thrive in a hot sunny location. They do well in most well-drained soils, even poor soils. Good for ground cover and a real stalwart in the rock garden.
Family: Brassicaceae (cabbage)
Botanical Name: Alyssum saxatile (Syn A. orientale)
Common Names: gold basket, gold dust
Foliage: Simple greyish-green leaves. Evergreen.
Flowers: Massed racemes of tiny, bright yellow or white flowers.
Flowering Period: Late spring to early summer.
Soil: Well-drained soil (chalk, loam or sand), any pH. Tolerates drought and poor soils.
Conditions: Requires an open situation in full sun. South or east facing aspect, exposed or sheltered.
Habit: Clump/mat forming.
Type: Biennials or evergreen perennials.
Origin: Central and southeastern Europe, Asia and North Africa
Hardiness: Most forms are hardy in the UK (down to -15°C).
Plant in an open sunny position in a well drained site.
Suitable for rock gardens, scree or gravel beds. Also suitable for the front of the border, as an edging plant or ground cover on banks and slopes.
Divide clumps every three years or so to rejuvenate the plants. Do not over-feed plants or they will become straggly and not flower well.
Trim after flowering to keep a low growing compact shape.
Can be affected by club root. Susceptible to attack by aphids and flea beetles.
Sow seed in autumn or take softwood cuttings in early summer.
A few perennial varieties are available in Britain, including:
A. saxatile the main form has grey-green foliage with bright yellow flower sprays in spring or early summer. Cultivated varieties include:
A. s 'Basket of gold' has golden yellow flowers in spring.
A. s ‘Gold Dust’ has chrome yellow flowers.
A. s ‘Citrinum' has pale lemon yellow flowers.
A. s 'Compactum' has a low growing neat habit.
A. s 'Plenum' is a double flowered form.
A. s ‘Variegatum’ has yellow flowers and grey-green leaves with cream margins.
A. argenteum forms a dense hummock of narrow silvery-grey leaves smothered in tiny bright-yellow flowers in summer. Height and spread to 18in (45cm).
A. montanum has small grey-green leaves and fragrant soft yellow flowers. Height 3in (7cm), spread 10in (25cm) or more.
A. serpyllifolium has tiny grey-green leaves covered in pale-yellow flowers in June. Height 3in (7cm), spread 10in (25cm) or more.
A spinosum forms a spiky hummock covered by white or pale pink flowers in early summer.
A. wulfenianum has grey leaves and loose heads of small, bright yellow flowers.