Alyssum is an elegant small flowering plant that appeared in our gardens and parks not too long ago, but its undeniable advantages make us hope that Alyssum’s popularity will grow from year to year.
It is hardy, beautiful, blooms profusely and, if properly cared for, can achieve the second wave of blooms in one season. So how to grow Alyssum and what makes it good? This article answers the question.
In our article you will find information to help you with: understanding the species of the plant; planting Alyssum seedlings; planting in flower beds; proper care of the plant for the season; collecting seeds; preparing Alyssum for winter.
PLANTING AND CARE OF ALYSSUM
Planting: In-ground sowing early May or November. Seedling sowing in March or April. Seedling in the garden in late May or early June.
Flowering: May to late autumn.
Lighting: bright light or semi-shade.
Soil: light, dry, fertile, well-drained soil of neutral or alkaline reaction.
Watering: Regular, moderate, and abundant in drought.
Fertilizer: Plants need nitrogen fertilizer from the time they are vegetated and – before flowering – a full mineral complex. Annuals are fed up to 4 times in a season, perennials, if fertilized for the first time before flowering – 5 times.
Pruning: Shorten shoots by 2-3inch (5-8 cm) after flowering in summer.
Propagation: Propagated by seeds, cuttings, and divisions.
Pests: cruciferous fleas, caterpillars, vegetable moths, whiteflies. Diseases: Phytophthora, powdery mildew, circumsporidiosis, and viral mosaic disease.
Value: Some species of alyssum are medicinal plants.
Alyssum or borage, sea Lobularia, belongs to the family Brassicaceae (formerly Cruciferae), which includes about 100 species of plants growing in North Africa, Asia, and Europe.
The word “alyssum” is a Latinization of the Greek word “Alisson”: “a” means “without” – negative, and “lyssa” in translation means “dog rabies”. That is, apparently, in ancient times, the ash flower was somehow used to treat rabies.
The flower Alyssum has not been known in garden culture for very long, but its popularity is increasing year by year, and the reason for this is not only its inconspicuousness and ease of care but also the strong honeyed fragrance it gives off.
A low-growing plant with a soil pedigree, it reaches a height of 6-16inch (15-40 cm). It has small, pubescent, oblong, or obovate leaves on strong branches, with semi-trunk-like shoots at the base.
The flowers are small, white, yellow, lilac, pink, red, or purple, in small clusters, blooming in May and leaving in late autumn.
The fruit is a pod with seeds, which can germinate for up to three years. alyssum is a honeybee, and its pungent nectar attracts bees.
Technically speaking, Alyssum and Alyssum are not the same plants, but they are close relatives and so similar that florists have combined them into one genus for simplicity.
The determination of the difference is simple: the flowers of Alyssum are pale or yellow, while the flowers of Alyssum are white, lilac, or pink.
Both perennial and annual Alyssum can be cultivated. It is used for planting pots, borders, and vases. It is often planted in open areas for camouflage after the bulbs have flowered in spring.
SEED CULTIVATION OF ALYSSUM
How to sow seeds
If you do not know how to grow Alyssum from seed, we would like to share our experience with you. There are two options for growing Alyssum from seeds, sprouting, and non-sprouting.
How to grow Alyssum seedless method? Sow Alyssum in the ground at a depth of 0.6inch (1.5cm) in early May and thin the seedlings when a continuous blanket of shoots appears.
However, if Alyssum is sown in spring, flowering will be late. You can sow the seeds in November – in the winter they will pass through natural stratification and in the spring you will get strong and healthy seedlings, which will flower on time.
But many florists prefer all the same methods of seedling propagation, and it is not in vain, it is more reliable and rarely has unpleasant surprises.
Before sowing seedlings in March-April, buy a light nutrient soil with a low lime content (pH 5.5-6.2), put it in the nursery box, then scatter the seeds on the surface of the soil, not too densely, slightly sprinkled with the same soil mixture, although you can leave it out and press the seeds directly on the surface.
If you create good light, greenhouse conditions for the seeds, covered with glass or aluminum foil, at 50-59°F (10-15°C), with moderate humidity and ventilation, expect the seeds to germinate in about a week.
Fertilize the seedlings with a compound fertilizer as soon as they develop their first true leaves. Wait until the seedlings have grown 2-3 true leaves before inserting them into their own pots, but if the seedlings grow quickly, you do not need to set them aside and can plant them directly into the soil.
ALYSSUM IS GROWN IN THE OPEN GROUND
When to plant
Planting flowers Alyssum in the open ground is carried out in late May or early June when there is no longer any fear of returning frost.
Choose a sunny site, the soil for Alyssum is dry, well-drained, rich in humus, the neutral reaction is desirable, although it is desirable and slightly alkaline, but also slightly acidic. Alyssum grows beautifully between sun-heated slabs or stones.
HOW TO GROW ALYSSUM
To plant Alyssum in the ground, consider that these flowers quickly grow wide, which means planting them at a distance of about 16inch (40cm) from each other, although it all depends on the type and variety of Alyssum.
The pit should be slightly larger than the rhizome, with a root ball made of soil, strongly not deepened when planting and watered full immediately after planting. When planting in beds, overgrown shrubs can be divided and planted as separate plants. alyssum blooms from seeds 6-7 weeks after germination.
CARING FOR ALYSSUM
As you can see, planting Alyssum is a simple matter that can be done in five minutes. As simple as it is to care for, it involves watering the plant, loosening the soil, removing weeds from the site, pruning, and fertilizing.
Plants need regular watering, plenty in dry weather, otherwise, lack of moisture will drop flowers and buds. However, abundant watering is only possible if the soil is well permeable, otherwise, the water from stagnation in the roots of Alyssum will be dampened and will disappear.
How can I tell when it is time to water Alyssum? Dig 1-2inch (3-5cm) deep into the ground with a trowel and if it is dry, water it safely.
After watering you can easily remove the resulting weeds and loosen the soil between Alyssum’s shrubs, but if you mulch the area in the spring after planting you will have to water and weed much less frequently, but loosening the soil and being present in the mulch is an important part of Alyssum’s care as it ensures soil moisture and air permeability.
For fertilizer, nitrogen fertilizer is applied at a rate of 1 tablespoon of farmyard urea per 10 liters of water during plant growth, and a compound fertilizer is made in the soil before flowering. Fertilize as often and as much as necessary as prescribed to make the annuals bloom more easily.
Timely and proper pruning is very important for the full growth and productive flowering of Alyssum. In spring, remove the flowering stems, dead leaves, and weak, diseased branches from perennial Alyssum.
After flowering in summer, do the same again, also shortening all shoots by 2-3inch (5-8 cm) This will encourage Alyssum to flower again. In addition, bushes that have been growing in summer look a bit untidy, pruning them down will make them look compact and neat.
Pests and Diseases
The most dangerous pest for Alyssum: the cruciferous flea, which is difficult to eliminate without treatment with a solution of 10 liters of water with a tablespoon of vitriol, but only adult, strong plants can be treated.
The most dangerous pests of alyssum are caterpillars, but they will help to remove the bushes injected in chamomile treatment tobacco or soap.
With prolonged flooding or insufficient water infiltration of the soil, Alyssum can develop brown rot-late blight, which affects the underground parts of the plant and the root system. In this case, treatment with copper chlorate or fungicides can be tried.
Infection of Alyssum caused by viral mosaic or powdery mildew (true or false) may occur. Treatment with an inorganic copper fungicide can eliminate powdery mildew. Also downy mildew treat with a mixture of insecticidal agents. Virus mosaic is not cured.
ALYSSUM AFTER FLOWERING
How and when to collect seeds
You can start collecting seeds at the end of September – the beginning of October. To do this, spread an old blanket in the yard on a dry, windless day and rub the Alyssum inflorescence with your hands on it.
Then remove the coarse debris, dry the seeds in a well-ventilated but unventilated dry room, and store them in a cloth bag until spring.
If it is too late and the seeds have fallen off, take a broom, lift the branches of Alyssum, sweep the seeds out from under the bush, clean the debris and soil, and store them as described above.
PERENNIAL ALYSSUM IN WINTER
Needless to say, Alyssum’s resistance to freezing is not unlimited In cold snaps below 59°F (15°C), the plant will not survive. But if your winter is not severe, cover it with dry leaves and when it snows, throw a snowdrift over it and it will survive the winter with its green leaves.
It is not recommended to prune Alyssum before winter. The pruning you do after the flowering period is enough, especially in spring when Alyssum will be pruned again.