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Sweet Alyssum

What is Sweet Alyssum?
Sweet alyssum is an annual flower which is native to Southern Europe, and grows for months together. It thrives well even under full sun as well as in partial shade. Its scientific name is 'Lobularia Maritima' and it belong to the 'Brassicaceae' family or the mustard family. It forms a dense cluster of tiny snow-white flowers which bloom continuously throughout the growing season. It is drought tolerant, produces a sweet & soothing fragrance, and thus, easily attracts bees, butterflies and birds.

Features of Sweet Alyssum
The sweet alyssum grows at a height of 8-12 inches, producing a maximum of four petals at a

time. Its leaves are seen in the shape ranging from oval to lanceolate, with an entire margin. These leaves grow at height of 1-4 cms in length and 3-5 cms in breadth. Sweet alyssum requires at least 30 days for germination, with an ideal soil temperature of 55-75°F. It blooms in several colours including pink, rose or mauve, and white or almost white.
 

How to Grow and Take Care of Sweet Alyssum

  • Get hold of green & healthy plants show no signs of wilting or disease. It's preferable to buy those plants which do not have flowers on them, but they should have plenty of leaves on them
  • Look for a site that has full sun to light shade and plant them at the start of the spring season, about two weeks before your region,s last frost. Place them at least 6-8 inches apart
  • Use soil that has been well drained, yet a little dry with moderate moisture content, and water it in moderate proportion. The soil should be loamy with a PH of 6 to 7
  • To enhance longer blooming, trim away the faded flowers, and if they look ragged in the middle of the summer season, shear back by half to rejuvenate them.
 

Varieties of Sweet Alyssum
The various forms in which sweet alyssum is available are as follows:

  • Carpet of Snow: It is a fragrant garden flower that produces a range of crisp white blooms, and grows at a height of 4-6 inches. It originated in Southern Europe, but later naturalized in many other nations like Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Hungary, Holland, Great Britain, Norway and Czechoslovakia
  • Creeping Basket of Gold: It looks attractive in garden, and it grows well in sunny areas of the garden, especially along the slopes, or in between the steeping stones. The faded flowers should be sheared immediately after blooming, as this helps in softening the texture of its low growing, gray green mat of leaves
  • Rosie O'Day: This variety of sweet alyssum flowers on a continual basis, and gives out a delicious fragrance. Its flowers have a deep red-pink colour and because of its fragrance, it is an ideal choice for edging. It grows at a height 7.5-10cm. The ideal time for sowing the seeds of this flower is February-March indoors and April-May outdoors
  • Royal Carpet: This variety is dark violet in colour and is considered ideal for edging, and window boxes. It grows well under full sun and can be grown under any kind of soil. It can be seen growing all the year and starts flowering eight weeks after sowing the seeds of this variety
  • Sweet Tiny Tim: It is an annual variety that grows at a height of 4 inches. It is considered to be a much superior variety than the Carpet of Snow. It is compact and never needs to be sheared. It can withstand adverse drought or heat conditions. Another feature of this variety is that it grows very quickly, just around 6 weeks after seedling.
  • Trailing Rosy Red: The main highlight of this variety is that it grows at a very fast pace and can outperform any other variety of alyssum. Its fragrance is very sweet, and even if trimmed back, it continues to bloom. It keeps the plant moist, but not wet, as over watering it can lead to thin plants
 

Uses of Sweet Alyssum
Sweet alyssum is used in many areas, as it is unique, versatile and spreads a very sweet and soothing fragrance. It is used in adorning rock gardens, old-fashioned gardens, pots, hanging baskets, in making attractive vase arrangements, etc. It is also used as in making ornamental, beds, ground covers, etc. At one point of time, sweet alyssum was also used as an herbal medicine to cure rabies. Alyssum, in common terms, means "not enraged". Thus, it can also be said that sweet alyssum also helps in calming a person who is in a state of extreme anger.

 


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