Sweet Alyssum in Spring Combinations

Allow me to introduce you to one of my favorite cool-season annuals: Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima). This low-growing beauty is

Allow me to introduce you to one of my favorite cool-season annuals: Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima).

This low-growing beauty is native to the Mediterranean region (hence the botanical name maritima), and will grow in just about any garden as long as the temperatures remain fairly cool and the humidity isn’t too high. Folks in the south can grow it in the winter and spring, and those up north can delight in it all summer long. It has a very strong honey-like fragrance which most people enjoy, although there are those who don’t care for it. It grows well from seed, blooming in just 6 – 8 weeks. It works well as a border plant at the edge of garden beds, but I find it especially well-suited to containers. It looks lovely as it grows and spills over the sides, and mixes well with other spring and summer annuals. Here are some of the combinations I’m using this year:

Sweet Alyssum and Yellow Marigold

Sweet Alyssum and Dwarf Snapdragon

Sweet Alyssum and Dwarf Stock (Matthiola incana)

Sweet Alyssum and Yellow Bidens (Bidens ferulifolia)

Sweet Alyssum should not be confused with Gold Alyssum (Aurinia saxatilis), a perennial best suited to rock gardens. Sweet Alyssum likes full or part sun, and flowers best with regular water in well-drained soil. It may reseed itself in more temperate climates, although heavily wet summers usually prevent that in the southeast. It is available in white, as shown here, and also in a purple/pink combination which isn’t quite as strongly scented and is noted by many to have fewer flowers. Small butterflies and pollinators like bees are drawn to it, making it great in the butterfly garden. Do you grow Sweet Alyssum? Give us your tips in the comments below!

Jill Staake
Jill lives in Tampa, Florida, and writes about gardening, butterflies, outdoor projects and birding. When she's not gardening, you'll find her reading, traveling and happily digging her toes into the sand on the beach.