A very popular and reliable, mauve or white flowering, bedding plant. Commonly known as sweet alyssum. However, it is not a member of the alyssum family but actually a relation of the cabbage family.
Family: Brassicaceae or Cruciferae
Botanical Name: Lobularia maritima
Common Names: sweet alyssum
Flowers: Short racemes of small, sweetly scented flowers, in shades of white, pink, lilac-purple or deep purple (depending on variety).
Flowering Period: June to August.
Soil: Prefers a light, moderately fertile, well-drained soil in full sun.
Conditions: Best grown in a south or east facing aspect, in either a sheltered or exposed position.
Type: Mainly grown as hardy or half-hardy annuals in the UK.
Origin: Europe and western Asia.
Hardiness: H3 - Hardy in coastal and milder areas (down to -5). Usually dies after flowering at the end of the season.
Useful low-growing hardy annual, that is used extensively in bedding displays, containers and baskets. Grows best in a moisture-retentive soil that is not overly rich.
Ideal for border edges, rock gardens, pots and containers. Suitable for town, city, coastal, cottage or informal gardens and bedding schemes.
Regularly trim away dead flowers with scissors, to extend the flowering season.
Susceptible to attack by Slugs and flea beetles.
Prone to white blister, downy mildew and club root.
Sow seeds under glass in March or sow outside in April-May where plants are to flower. Harden off undercover-raised plants before planting out once danger of frosts has past.
A selection of hybrids are available in white, purple, pinks and lilac. Average height and spread: up to 4in (10cm) x 1ft (30cm). Good choices include:
'Carpet of Snow', white
'Easter Bonnet Violet', mixture of colours in purple, pink & mauve
'Lilac Queen', deep lilac
'Little Dorrit', white
'Oriental Night', deep purple
'Pastel Carpet', mixture of pastel shades
'Snowdrift', pure white
'Rosie O'Day', early flowering, pink
'Royal Carpet', scented, lilac-purple
'Trailing Rosy Red', pink flowers on trailing stems (good for hanging baskets)
'Violet Queen', lilac-purple or deep purple.