Sweet alyssum

Q: What can you tell me about Sweet alyssum?

Q: What can you tell me about Sweet alyssum? I saw it in a hanging basket, draping over the sides, and it has such a pretty white flower cluster.

A:   Sweet alyssum, Lobularia maritima, is a hardy ground cover annual which grows to about 10 inches tall and spreads about 1 foot wide. Dense clusters of tiny snow-white, pink or purple flowers bloom continuously throughout the growing season, which in our area is winter through early spring. The flowering time can be lengthened by pinching off any of the dead or dying blossoms.  There are several varieties and the one you saw has a spreading growth habit which makes it a perfect specimen for hanging baskets. Sweet alyssum thrives in partial sun to partial shade, in almost any soil however they will produce fewer flowers in full sun and poor soil conditions. For more complete information about the annual check out the attached University of Florida publication: http://hort.ufl.edu/shrubs/LOBMARA.PDF