Growing Sweet Alyssum From Seed

Sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima) is an incredibly easy to grow and versatile flower in the garden. Not only is it highly decorative and fragrant, but it’s one of our top picks for attracting beneficial pollinators as well.

This low-growing flower sprawls nicely with its dense flowers, making it a great option for filling bare spots in the garden beds. We use it as a companion plant for many vegetables in our raised garden.

Sweet alyssum in raised bed

There are many different cultivars of alyssum, but typically the flowers are white, purple, or pink. It can be planted in containers, in-ground beds, or raised beds without issue. You can even use it as a living mulch to help smother out weeds and protect the soil!

While you can direct sow alyssum right into your garden in the spring, you also have the option of starting from seed. This will give you a head start on those lovely, fragrant blooms in the garden.

Step 1: Starting alyssum seeds

Starting alyssum indoors
  • Start indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost date. We start our alyssum in late March with a target outdoor planting date of early to mid-May.
  • Sow seeds very lightly into potting soil or seed starting mix (barely cover them). Alyssum seeds are very small and germinate with light, so don’t bury the seeds too deep.
  • Seeds should germinate in 8-14 days. Keep temperatures around 70°F with warm, moist soil. Do not let the seeds dry out during the germination process by spraying daily.
  • If direct sowing outdoors: Surface sow as soon as soil can be worked. Danger of light frost is okay.
  • Alyssum typically blooms about 60 days after sowing. If we start our seeds in late March, we can expect flowers beginning around late May.

Step 2: Transplanting outdoors

Sweet alyssum ready for transplant

Many nurseries sell flats of alyssum to plant in the garden. This is an easy way to incorporate it into the garden. However, if you’re looking for unique varieties or special colors, you’ll want to start your own from seed.

If you are direct sowing in the garden, you can skip this step.

  • Before transplanting your seedlings into the ground, harden them off for 1-2 weeks. Gradually expose them outdoors to the elements (the sun and wind).
  • Transplant outdoors when night temperatures are at least 50°F. If you have an unseasonably cool night after transplanting into the ground, don’t fret. Alyssum can tolerate lower temperatures much better than most flowers.
  • Spacing depends on the variety of alyssum you’re growing. But, we generally plant alyssum 6-8″ apart.

Step 3: Growing conditions

Sweet alyssum in purple and white

Alyssum is a very low-maintenance plant. So, you don’t need to think about it much after it has been planted.

  • Plant in full sun to partial shade.
  • Plant on the edges of garden beds, as alyssums are very short (8-10″ tall).
  • Well-draining soil is ideal. Avoid over-watering or long periods of drought.
  • Alyssum is in the Brassicae family, so growth tends to slow down with the intense heat of summer. As soon as temperatures cool down again, the plants will revive.
  • Use as a companion plant for garlic and carrots.

I hope this guide helped to simplify the process of starting alyssum indoors. We consider it a must-have flower in the garden every year for its many benefits.

It’s great for helping to manage aphids, it looks beautiful, and offers a lovely fragrance. Let us know if you plant alyssum in your garden beds and if you have a favorite variety.

Other flowers to grow in your garden:

– Crystalyn

Always looking for new ways to get creative in the garden, Crystalyn enjoys getting her hands dirty with vegetables, flowers, and tropical plants. In the off-season, you’ll find her moving the hobby indoors with her vast houseplant collection.

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One Comment

  1. I planted some of this in my pepper bed after one of y’all recent posts. Hoping it helps my peppers this year. We had a lot of bug problems last year.

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