Alyssum is an easy-to-grow annual that is both decorative and useful. It plays a key role in companion planting and can be used as a cover crop to attract insects, smother weeds, and increase fruit set in vegetable beds. Continue reading below for some tips on how to grow Alyssum from seed.

Lobularia maritima
Family: Brassicaceae


Season & Zone
Exposure: Full sun or partial shade.

Start indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost date. Transplant out after all danger of frost has passed. Or, direct sow while some danger of light frost still exists. It’s very easy, either way.

Sow seeds on the surface of the soil. If starting indoors, use a sterilized seed starting mix and maintain a soil temperature of 12-21°F (55-70°F) under bright lights. The seeds require light to germinate, so do not cover them. They should sprout in 5-14 days.

Transplant 20-30cm (8-12″) apart once all risk of frost has passed. Watch for slug damage in the early spring. Alyssum prefers freely draining, loamy soil with a pH in the 6.0-7.0 range, but it’s adaptable. It is tolerant of dry soil and hot weather, and can be used for xeriscaping. If watering is abundant, Alyssum responds by growing rapidly. If growth slows in mid-summer due to heat, shear plants back by half to encourage compact growth and a second bloom. This annual may self sow.

Companion Planting
Alyssum is very attractive to pollinators and other beneficial insects, and useful as a mulch to keep weeds down between rows.

More on Companion Planting.