Fun Facts About Sweet Alyssum

Sweet Alyssum is found natively on the beaches and sand dunes near the Mediterranean Sea as well as the European islands of the North Atlantic Ocean. Due to its affinity for the salty sea, it gained its scientific name Alyssum Maritimum - which means 'small pod' and 'marine' in Greek.

In one of these European Islands, Spain, the flowers and leaves are added to salads. They don't really taste like how they smell though. Instead, the flowers have a slightly sweet and peppery flavor similar to kale.

The plant can also be used for medicinal purposes to treat scurvy, cold, abdominal pain, coughs, rabies, edema, ascites, bleeding gums, and much more.

Oftentimes, Sweet Alyssum is placed in the garden as a companion plant. They are especially celebrated for how positively they pair with Chard. Sweet Alyssum has shallow roots while the Chard goes deep, it keeps the ground moist as a living mulch that cuts down on weeding, and it attracts many beneficial insects.

One of the most beneficial insects it attracts is the hoverfly. The larvae of these hoverflies are natural predators for aphids - a common garden pest.

They are also an ideal plant for container gardens, landscape borders, hanging baskets, and planters.

These flowers will bloom from June to October, which provides protection for your gardens and food for your bees during the pollen dearths.

Planting Requirements For Sweet Alyssum

Light: Sweet Alyssum flowers best with at least six hours of full sun, but can tolerate partial shade. In warmer climates, plants perform best with protection from the hot afternoon sun.

Soil: Use a quality all-purpose potting mix that drains well. In the garden, the soil should be well amended with good drainage. The pH level of the soil should be somewhere between 6 and 7.

Spacing: Even though they start off small, Sweet Alyssum should get at least 8 to 12 inches of space so they can grow.

Planting Time: It's best to start Sweet Alyssum from seed in early spring in indoor seed flats, then transplant them after the last frost date has passed. You can also surface sow their tiny seeds after soil temperatures are at least 60 F. Remember to keep lightly moist until germination. This usually takes about 15 to 20 days.