Lobularia maritima 'Royal Carpet.' Grow for a low-growing carpet of lovely, mauve, scented flowers that stays only 5-10cm (2-4") tall. Sow Dwarf Purple Alyssum seeds around the edge of veggie beds to improve pollination, or sprinkle them between cracks and paving stones to fill in with a moss-like appearance, followed by scores of tiny purple flowers. This Alyssum works well in containers and window boxes. It has a spreading habit, so is useful as a plant to fill in spaces between others. It is attractive to both pollinators and beneficial insects, making it generally useful to have in the garden.
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.
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.
Alyssum is very attractive to pollinators and other beneficial insects, and useful as a mulch to keep weeds down between rows.