Alyssum, Annual

ALYSSUM, Annual (Sweet Alyssum) Cruciferae Lobularia maritime

HABITAT: Native Mediterranean area. (Perennial in Zone 10.)

USES:  Window boxes, hanging baskets, edgings, rock gardens.

HABIT:  Sweet smelling flowers with honey-like fragrance in colors of lavender, pink, purple, or white which adorn the 3-6 inch high multi-branching mounds of plants spreading 6-12 inches.  Flowers June-frost.  In Zone 9-10 will bloom year round.  Flowers approximately 60 days from seed.

SEED GERMINATION:  Sow as early as soil can be worked or sow indoors 6-8 weeks prior to last spring frost in peat pots or pellets.  Keep moist and cover seed lightly.  Place in a cool location about 55 degrees Fahrenheit night temperature.  Shift to the garden or larger containers when roots emerge from pot walls and danger of frost has passed.

CULTURE:  Set out 12 inches apart in full sun (will tolerate partial shade) in a rich, well-drained soil containing sand and humus (leaf mold, peat moss, compost).  Feed every other week with garden fertilizer and keep evenly moist.  (Will tolerate drought and high temperatures.)  Shear back foliage occasionally to encourage more flowers.  May be lifted, potted, and taken indoors in fall for winter flowering.  Cut plants back to induce new growth and bloom.

INSECTS:  Flea Beetle:  Use an approved insecticide such as Malathion or Sevin for control.

DISEASES:  Damping Off:  Remove dead and diseased plants. Drench with Captan for control.
Leaf Spot:  Use an approved fungicide such as Captan, Maneb, or Zineb for control.
Clubroot:  Improve drainage.  Lime soil 6 weeks before planting to raise the pH to 7.2 or higher.  Drench soil with Terraclor for control.

PROPAGATION:  Seed.

REMARKS: One of the easiest of plants to grow from seed.  If plants show the strain of their fantastic flower production by midsummer, simply take your scissors and trim off the tops of the plants.  This brings on a new flurry of        flowers lasting well into frost.