Be Happy – Plant Sweet Alyssum
One of the things I did this weekend was underplant my container Tulips with Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima). Sweet Alyssum is a fairly common annual – but it should be even more common, because it is a plant with an amazing capacity to make people happy.
It is easy to grow and just a few inches tall. It can spill charmingly over the sides of containers and the edges of beds and borders. Most of all, though, it has a deliciously sweet fragrance. Now that all the tulip pots are planted with Sweet Alyssum, Judy and I have to sit on the front steps for a few minutes every time we try to leave or enter the house, just to take in that marvelous scent.
This year the dominant Sweet Alyssum cultivar is called ‘Snow Crystal’. I can attest to the fact that ‘Snow Crystal’ has larger flowers and a stronger fragrance. It’s also supposed to have better heat tolerance. As to that, we will see. Generally, Sweet Alyssum can be planted early in Spring but sulks unhappily when the days get really hot and humid. In the past I have just assumed that it will be played out at some point in July.
The Sweet Alyssum I bought was white, but I was tempted by purple and lavender. However, it seemed to me that the white ones were by far the most fragrant, and fragrance won the day.
A hardy annual here in USDA Zone 5, Sweet Alyssum will self-sow if you don’t interfere, and why should you?
This is an excellent plant for ensuring that your containers don’t show bare earth, so if nothing else I recommend you fill in any empty spots with Sweet Alyssum, or maybe just fill a pot or two with fragrant mounds of this plant.
Do you grow Sweet Alyssum in your garden?