Add Sweet Alyssum to Spring Containers

Sweet alyssum is a cool season annual that grows well in containers. Get care tips and see combinations with this fragrant annual flower.

Sweet Alyssum Care and Growing Tips

Allow me to introduce you to one of my favorite cool-season annuals: sweet alyssum.

Sweet AlyssumJill Staake
These small white flowers grow well in containers.

This low-growing beauty is native to the Mediterranean region (hence the botanical name (Lobularia maritima). It will thrive 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. Those up north can delight in it all summer long.

The flowers have a very strong honey-like fragrance which most people enjoy, although there are those who don’t care for the scent. They grow well from seed, blooming in just 6 to 8 weeks.

I find alyssum works well as a border plant at the edge of garden beds, and I also find it especially well-suited to containers. It looks lovely as it grows and spills over the sides, and it mixes well with other spring and summer annuals.

Small butterflies and pollinators like bees are drawn to it, making this flowering annual a great choice for your butterfly garden.

Fragrant Flowers Sweet Alyssum W Atlee Burpee CoW Atlee Burpee & Co
Royal carpet produces purple flowers.

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 and also in a purple/pink combination which isn’t quite as strongly scented and is noted by many to have fewer flowers.

Check out our favorite white flowers to make your garden glow.

Container Combinations

The small flowers complement almost any other annuals that you love. Here are some of the combinations I’m using this year.

Yellow Marigold

Sweet Alyssum and Yellow MarigoldsJill Staake

Dwarf Snapdragon

Sweet Alyssum and Dwarf SnapdragonsJill Staake

Dwarf Stock

Sweet Alyssum and Dwarf StockJill Staake

Yellow Bidens

Sweet Alyssum and Bidens ferulifoliaJill Staake

Need, learn how to grow annual vinca flowers in gardens and containers.

Jill Staake
Jill Staake's lifelong love of nature turned into a career during the years she spent working with native Florida butterflies, caterpillars, and other wildlife at the Museum of Science & Industry in Tampa, Florida. During this time, she helped to maintain 30+ acres of gardens and backwoods, all carefully cultivated to support the more than 20 species of butterflies displayed indoors and out. She now writes for a variety of publications and sites on topics like gardening, birding, and education, among others.