Welcome to our essential guide to growing and caring for Alyssum Carpet of Snow (Lobularia maritima) in your garden at home. This hardy annual is famed for its beautiful white flowers and heavenly scent of honey. This popular border plant brings a thick carpet of snowy white blooms to the garden. In frost-free areas, these tiny flowers might even last the whole year. Here we’ll take you through everything you need to know to grow Alyssum Carpet of Snow at home including planting, soil considerations, light preferences, feeding, pruning, and over-winter care.
- Step-by-Step Guide to Growing and Caring for Alyssum Carpet of Snow at Home
- How to Grow Alyssum Carpet of Snow (Lobularia maritima) – the Essentials:
- About Alyssum Carpet of Snow (Lobularia maritima)
- How to Grow Alyssum Carpet of Snow (Lobularia maritima)
- What Are the Best Locations to Plant Alyssum Carpet of Snow?
- What Are the Best Times of Year to Plant Alyssum Carpet of Snow?
- Growing Alyssum Carpet of Snow From Seed Vs. Planting Young Nursery Plants
- What to Do Before Planting Alyssum Carpet of Snow
- What’s the Best Soil for Alyssum Carpet of Snow?
- How to Plant
- Alyssum Carpet of Snow Light Preferences
- Temperature & Humidity Preferences
- How to Care For Alyssum Carpet of Snow (Lobularia maritima)
- Common Alyssum Carpet of Snow Problems & How to Treat Them
- Essential Tools to Have Around
- Wrap Up
- Growing Alyssum Carpet of Snow (Lobularia maritima) FAQs:
How to Grow Alyssum Carpet of Snow (Lobularia maritima) – the Essentials:
|Botanical Name:||Lobularia maritima|
|Also Known As:||Sweet Alison, Sweet alyssum|
|Hardiness Zones:||USDA Zones 5-11|
|Flowering Months:||April to October or first frost|
|Growing Difficulty:||Low maintenance and easy to grow, especially for novice gardeners|
|Type of Plant:||Flowering deciduous annual in cooler climates. Short-lived flowering deciduous perennial in Zones 9 to 11|
|Light Requirements:||Enjoys full sun but appreciates partial shade in warmer regions|
|Temp & Humidity:||Thrives in most temperatures but does best between 50 and 60ºF. Likes low to medium humidity and can handle some drought|
|Watering Needs:||Must be watered regularly, about once a week, to keep the soil moist|
|Soil Preferences:||Needs well-draining chalky, loamy, or sandy soils with a neutral pH|
|Feeding:||Fertilize monthly with diluted liquid fertilizer in between flowerings|
|Growth Expectations:||Grows from 6 to 12 inches wide and tall|
|Toxicity:||Non-toxic to humans and animals|
About Alyssum Carpet of Snow (Lobularia maritima)
- Family: Brassicaceae
- Genus: Lobularia
- Species: Lobularia maritima
Origins & History
Alyssum Carpet of Snow (Lobularia maritima) is indigenous to coastal areas of the Mediterranean such as the Canary Islands and France’s Bay of Biscay. Alyssum Carpet of Snow has now colonized most temperate regions around the world. It grows best near the coast but also thrives in fields, gardens, and even gaps in walls.
General Botanical Characteristics
Alyssum Carpet of Snow produces tiny snow-white blooms and grayish-green spear-shaped furry leaves. Despite their small size, the gleaming flowers give off a pungent honey-like scent. These flowers spread out like a mound or a carpet, hence the plant’s name.
Uses & Benefits of Alyssum Carpet of Snow
Thanks to its potent aroma, Alyssum Carpet of Snow is great at attracting pollinators to a garden. Bees and butterflies love this plant especially.
The flowers and foliage of Alyssum Carpet of Snow are edible and are great when included in salads. Alyssum Carpet of Snow is believed to diffuse anger and increase calmness. These charming plants also symbolize “sweetness of the soul” in the Victorian language of flowers.
Most Suitable USDA Growing Zones for Alyssum Carpet of Snow
Alyssum Carpet of Snow can thrive in both cool and warm regions. They can grow in USDA Zones 5 to 11 but will exhibit different behavior in different areas. In Zones 5 to 8, they will be annuals. In Zones 9 to 11, Alyssum Carpet of Snow can be a perennial.
Blooming & Flowering
In cooler areas, Alyssum Carpet of Snow grows as a flowering annual. Flowers emerge in late spring and keep blooming until hard frosts begin.
In hotter climates, Alyssum Carpet of Snow will stop producing flowers if it gets too warm. The plants will start flowering again when temperatures drop.
At its mature size, Alyssum Carpet of Snow can reach 6 to 12 inches wide and grow up to 6 to 12 inches tall. This typically takes one or two years.
Best Companion Plants for Alyssum Carpet of Snow
With its low height and spreading growth habit, Alyssum Carpet of Snow makes a great addition to borders. As a bedding plant, Alyssum Carpet of Snow complements other plants such as:
- Stock Annuals
How to Grow Alyssum Carpet of Snow (Lobularia maritima)
What Are the Best Locations to Plant Alyssum Carpet of Snow?
Alyssum Carpet of Snow is best placed in full sun to produce the best blooms, especially in cooler regions. In hotter areas, the plant will need some shade protection from the intense afternoon sun. A spot that provides at least six hours of morning sunlight a day is ideal.
The soil should drain well and be slightly loose. Chalky and sandy soils are best for this and should have a neutral pH level.
What Are the Best Times of Year to Plant Alyssum Carpet of Snow?
Alyssum Carpet of Snow does best when planted after the final spring frost. Seeds can be started about six to eight weeks before the last spring frost. These can be planted out when the soil begins to warm up.
Growing Alyssum Carpet of Snow From Seed Vs. Planting Young Nursery Plants
For earlier planting, start the seeds off indoors about six to eight weeks before your final spring frost. Once the seedlings have emerged and have a couple of pairs of leaves, they can be planted outside.
In warmer regions, seeds can be sown directly into the ground after that last frost. However, the soil needs to have reached a minimum temperature of 60ºF (16ºC).
At nurseries, you’ll typically find Alyssum Carpet of Snow being sold as a bedding plant. This provides a quicker way to get some instant color into your borders or displays. Again, make sure the last spring frost has finished before planting out.
What to Do Before Planting Alyssum Carpet of Snow
Before planting Alyssum Carpet of Snow, you can engineer the soil to get the best results. Remove all traces of weeds from the soil and rake it over. Add in some organic matter such as compost to help boost the nutrients in the soil.
If you’re planting Alyssum Carpet of Snow as part of a border or display, account for its mature size. This helps make sure that the other plants have enough space as well.
What’s the Best Soil for Alyssum Carpet of Snow?
Alyssum Carpet of Snow thrives best in loose, well-draining soils. Ideally, these should be chalky, loamy, or sandy. These annuals are drought-tolerant but still like some moisture in their growing medium. Alyssum Carpet of Snow prefers soils with a neutral pH of around 6.0 to 7.0.
How to Plant
For established seedlings and bedding plants, start by digging out a series of holes large enough for the root ball. Then place the plants in and fill around them with some soil and compost. Allow for at least 6 inches between each plant.
You can also plant Alyssum Carpet of Snow in containers. Provide some nutrient-rich, well-draining loose soil. If planting multiple specimens in the container, provide each plant with at least 6 to 12 inches of room.
Alyssum Carpet of Snow Light Preferences
In cooler climates, Alyssum Carpet of Snow needs full sun for most of the day. In warmer regions, provide some shelter from the intense afternoon sun. The plant needs at least six hours of sunlight every day.
Temperature & Humidity Preferences
Alyssum Carpet of Snow can thrive in a range of temperatures. The sweet spot is between 50 and 60ºF (10 to 15.5ºC). In hotter regions, the plant will stop flowering if it gets too warm.
Alyssum Carpet of Snow thrives in moderate humidity. The soil needs to be kept slightly moist but these plants are also drought-tolerant.
How to Care For Alyssum Carpet of Snow (Lobularia maritima)
When and How to Water Alyssum Carpet of Snow
Water Alyssum Carpet of Snow just enough to keep the soil slightly moist most of the time. If the top two inches of soil feel dry to the touch, give the plant an inch or two of water. In drier, hotter climates, water a little more often.
How, When, and Why to Fertilize
Alyssum Carpet of Snow won’t need a lot of feeding. If your soil doesn’t have a lot of nutrients, add a slow-release fertilizer when you first plant the specimen.
Once each round of blooms has ceased, feed the Alyssum a monthly dose of diluted liquid fertilizer. This sets the plant up for its next flowers.
Pruning & Cutting Back Alyssum Carpet of Snow
Deadhead Alyssum Carpet of Snow regularly to keep new blooms coming through. If the plant stops flowering in hot conditions, use some shears to remove about a third of the foliage. This stimulates the plant into getting ready for some more growth when temperatures drop.
Once an Alyssum Carpet of Snow has flowered, cuttings can be taken. Trim away the lower leaves and plant the cutting into a pot. Keep it somewhere shaded with a glass covering until the following year.
Alyssum Carpet of Snow can also self-seed, with new flowers popping up the following year. Take care that the seeds don’t spread through your garden if this isn’t desired.
Overwintering Alyssum Carpet of Snow
In most climates, Alyssum Carpet of Snow is an annual and won’t need overwintering. These plants can survive outside in the winter unless there’s a hard frost. Bring container plants indoors to protect them.
When and How to Repot Alyssum Carpet of Snow Grown in Containers
Alyssum Carpet of Snow that is grown in a container typically won’t need repotting. These annuals often die off in the winter unless allowed to self-seed. Replace them the following spring.
Common Alyssum Carpet of Snow Problems & How to Treat Them
Although drought-tolerant to a degree, these plants will die if underwatered. Drooping foliage and bone-dry soil are dead giveaways. Increase your watering schedule to revive the plant.
If too much moisture is held in the soil, Alyssum Carpet of Snow can suffer from root rot and diseases like botrytis blight. Only water the plant if the top two inches of soil feel dry.
Too Much Light
In hotter areas, too much intense afternoon sunlight can burn the foliage. Browning on the leaves indicates this. Place the plant somewhere that gets some shade during the afternoon.
Common Pests & Diseases
Botrytis blight occurs when there’s too much water in the soil. Gray mold and discolored, spotted, or wilting leaves are symptoms. Remove afflicted parts of the Alyssum and avoid watering until the top two inches of soil are dry.
These garden pests will eat the vulnerable young shoots of Alyssum Carpet of Snow. Start seedlings indoors to make sure they’re strong enough to resist slugs. Alternatively, use a beer trap to catch and kill wandering slugs.
Essential Tools to Have Around
Here are all of the tools you should have around for Alyssum Carpet of Snow care.
- Watering can
- Garden shears
Alyssum Carpet of Snow is a low-maintenance bedding plant ideal for filling out borders. Its ease of care allows even beginner gardeners to get some immediate impact in their garden. What’s great is these hardy plants can survive in different growing zones, making it easy to incorporate them in most climates.
Growing Alyssum Carpet of Snow (Lobularia maritima) FAQs:
Are Alyssum Carpet of Snow hardy?
Alyssum Carpet of Snow is a hardy plant. It can survive in a range of temperature conditions and will also tolerate droughts. This plant is used to nutrient-poor soils on coastlines, giving it a rugged appeal.
How big do Alyssum Carpet of Snow get?
Alyssum Carpet of Snow grows from 6 to 12 inches wide and tall, forming a carpet or mound of beautifully scented flowers.
What do you do with Alyssum Carpet of Snow over winter?
Alyssum Carpet of Snow can survive over the winter unless there’s a hard frost. For container-grown plants, shelter them inside or in a greenhouse during frost season.
Is Alyssum Carpet of Snow invasive?
Due to its habit of self-seeding, Alyssum Carpet of Snow is classed as an invasive plant. Deadhead flowers before they release their seeds to keep them contained.
Is Alyssum Carpet of Snow a perennial?
In most regions, Alyssum Carpet of Snow is a cool-weather annual. In Zones 9 to 11, it can survive as a perennial.
Will Alyssum Carpet of Snow grow in shade?
Alyssum Carpet of Snow can grow in partial shade in hotter climates. However, these plants do best when exposed to full sunlight in most regions.
Is Alyssum Carpet of Snow poisonous to humans?
Alyssum Carpet of Snow is not classed as poisonous to humans. You can even eat the flowers and leaves as part of a salad.
Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.