Family: Brassicaceae
Common Name: Sweet Alison, Sweet Alyssum

This small genus of annuals and perennials is native to the Canary Islands and the Mediterranean. Only one species is common in cultivation. It is highly popular as a summer bedding plant, when it is often used for edging beds, and is also used in patio containers and hanging baskets in combination with other summer bedding plants. This species is hardy and can also be grown on rock gardens, and it is especially useful for seaside gardens.


L. maritima is a mound-shaped, com­pact plant, growing between 5 and 20 cm (2-8 in) high. Narrow, mid-green leaves are all but obscured by masses of tiny flowers in rounded heads. The flowers are lightly scented and mainly white in the species, but there are a number of cultivars available in shades of pink, lavender and purple, such as 'Oriental Night', 'Rorie O'Day' and 'Violet Queen'. Pure white still appears to be the most popular colour, well-known cultivars being 'Carpet of Snow', 'Little Gem' and the large-flowered 'Tetra Snowdrift'.


The usual way to raise sweet alyssum is to sow the seed in late spring where the plants are to flower. Alternatively, it can be treated as a tender bedding plant and sown under glass in mid-spring. The young plants are then planted out when frosts are over, together with other bedding plants. Sweet alyssum prefers a light, well-drained soil and a sunny position. It needs little care, but it is worth trim­ming off the dead flowers to encourage more to follow. It is best to trim the plants immediately after the first flush of flowers.


Zone 7.

Lobelia      Loganberry