Alyssum, also called sea lobularia or borage, is a genus in the Cabbage (formerly Cruciferous) family. This genus includes about 100 different species. In nature, such plants can be found in Asia, North Africa and Europe. The word alyssum is itself a Latinization of the Greek word "alyssum", where the "a" is translated as "without" (negation) and "lyssa" means "dog rabies". There is speculation that this plant was used in ancient times in the therapy of rabies in dogs.
Gardeners began to cultivate alissum relatively recently, but it is becoming more and more popular year by year. This is because the flower is very easy to care for, and it also has a very strong honey aroma.
The height of the low-growing groundcover allissum plant can vary from 0.15 to 0.4 m.
Strongly branched stems are semi-woody at the base. The small leaves are obovate or oblong in shape and pubescent on the surface. The small, brush-like inflorescences consist of small flowers which may be yellow, pink, purple, white, lilac or red. Flowering begins in May and ends in late fall. The fruit is a pod with seeds inside which remain germinating for 3 years.
This plant is a good honeybee carrier, which has a spicy honey odor that attracts bees.
It should be known that alissum and sea lobularia are different plants that are the closest relatives. But they are so similar to each other that gardeners simply put them in the same genus. What makes these plants different is the color of their flowers: the lobularia has lilac, white or pink flowers, the alyssum has yellow or pale flowers.
Flower growers cultivate alyssum as a perennial and also as an annual.
It is grown in flowerbeds, in squares and in vases. It is often used to fill in areas empty after spring bulbous plants have bloomed.
Alyssum - growing and care. A fragrant border annual.
Growing alissum from seed can be done as a seedless or seedling method.
If you have chosen the seedless method of cultivation, you should sow the seeds in the open soil in the first days of May. In the soil they are sunk only 15 mm. After the seedlings appear as a solid carpet, they will need to be thinned. If sown in the spring, flowering will be delayed. Sowing can be done under the winter, the seeds will be able to pass natural stratification in the cold season and then in spring will appear amicable sprouts, the haylings will be relatively strong and flowering will start in time.
But most gardeners prefer to grow alissum through seedlings, because this method differs with its reliability. Sow the seedlings in March or April. Boxes should be filled with nutritious, light substrate, which contains a little lime (pH 5.5-6.2).
The seeds are distributed evenly on the surface of the substrate, not very densely, then they are slightly pressed into the surface or covered with a thin layer of substrate. Containers should be moved to a well-lit place, covered with a film or glass. The optimum temperature should be 10 to 15 degrees. Seeds should be moderately humidified and air regularly. If everything is done correctly, the first seedlings will appear after 7 days or sooner.
After the seedlings begin to form the first real leaf plate, they should be fertilized with complex fertilizer. Only when the seedlings have formed 2 or 3 true leaf blades can they be unpacked into their individual cups. However, if the seedlings are growing very fast, they do not need to be picked and should be planted in the open soil immediately when the time comes.
Allissum cultivation from seed
Planning in the open field
What time to plant
Planning in the open field can take place in the last days of May or in early June, making sure that the return spring frost is behind you. The site should be well lit.
Dry, well-drained soil of neutral reaction, saturated with humus is best for planting. Also suitable for planting is mildly acidic or slightly alkaline soil. This plant grows very well between stones or slabs that are heated by the sun.
Perfections for planting
When planting in the open soil you should take into consideration that this plant is rather quick to expand. You should therefore plant at a distance of about 0.
4 m between the bushes. Although the distance between the plants should be significantly influenced by the type and variety of plants. The size of the planting hole should be such that the root system of the plant taken together with the root ball can easily fit into it. Strongly deepen the planted flowers should not be planted. Planted plants need abundant watering.
If the bushes have grown strongly, at the time of planting in the open ground, they can be divided, and the dividers are planted as independent plants. Flowering of alissum grown from seed begins 6-7 weeks after the seedlings appear.
Lobularia (Alissum). Transplanting to the open ground
Maintenance of alissum
Allissum grown in a garden plot is very easy to care for. Such a plant should be timely watered, weeded, nourished, trimmed, and also the surface of the soil should be regularly loosened.
Watering such a flower should be systematically, and during prolonged drought, watering should be abundant. It should be remembered that if the plant will be lacking moisture, it may drop both buds and unfolded flowers. However, you can only water the plant abundantly if the soil is water permeable. If the soil will be observed stagnant liquid, then the shrubs will get soaked and die. To understand whether alissum requires watering, you need to be armed with a shovel to dig the soil to a depth of 30-40 mm.
If the soil there is dry, it means that these flowers need to be watered. When watering is finished, it is recommended to remove all weeds from the area, as well as loosen its surface between the bushes. To significantly reduce the number of weeding and watering, in the spring after planting, the surface of the plot should be covered with a layer of mulch. But note that even if the area will be mulched, its surface should still be systematically loosened, because this procedure improves air and water permeability of the soil, and therefore it is very important when growing this flower culture.
Alissum, which is a perennial, should be fertilized during the growth of green mass, for this use fertilizer containing nitrogen.
To prepare a nutrient solution for 1 bucket of water, take 1 big spoon of urea and Agricola-7. Before flowering begins, the plant should be fed with a complex fertilizer, which should be applied to the soil. Annuals need frequent feeding, so, during the season they are fed 4 times, and the first application of fertilizer is made shortly before the alissum blossoms. If you fertilise annuals correctly and in time, they will please the gardener with a lush flowering.
For alissum to develop properly and bloom lushly, it is necessary to cut it back in time and correctly.
In the spring time, all dried leaves, flower stalks left over from the previous year, and weak and diseased stems should be cut off from perennials. When the summer blossoms are over, you should cut them again and then shorten all stems by 50-80 mm to encourage them to flower again. In addition, the bushes will look more compact and well-groomed after pruning.
Diseases and pests
The greatest danger to this crop is the cruciferous flea because it is difficult to get rid of. Affected bushes should be sprayed with a solution of vinegar essence (1 big spoon per 1 bucket of water), but only mature, rather powerful specimens can withstand such treatment.
Caterpillars can also harm flowers. To get rid of them, alissums are sprayed with an infusion of tobacco and soap or chamomile. Bellworms and cabbage moths can also harm the plant by using lepidocide or entobacterin to get rid of them.
If the soil will have insufficient water permeability and if there is constant fluid stagnation in the soil the plant will develop phytophthora (brown rot) which affects the root system and the root neck of the bush. It is recommended to spray the affected plant with copper chloride or fungicides (Thanos, Ordan or Cuproxate).
The plant can also develop false or true powdery mildew and viral mosaic. To get rid of powdery mildew, the bush should be sprayed with Topaz or Bordeaux mixture, and against false powdery mildew use Ordan, Oxychom or Bordeaux liquid. Viral mosaic is currently untreatable.
Alissum after flowering
Gather seeds in the last days of September or first days of October. Choose a dry day with no wind.
A cloth should be spread directly on the ground, and then take the inflorescences in your hands and rub them thoroughly. When finished, remove all the large debris, and the small debris can be left behind. To dry the seeds, place them in a dry room with very good ventilation, but there should be no drafts. The seeds should be poured into a cloth bag and stored until spring. If the seeds have already spilled out on the ground, in this case you need to sweep them carefully with a broom from under the bushes.
When the garbage is removed, the seeds should be put away in the same way as described above.
Alissum has an average winter hardiness, so if the air temperature drops below minus 15 degrees, the plant will die. However, in regions with sufficiently mild winters, this flower with proper preparation will be able to survive the cold months. In late autumn, the site should be covered with dried leaves. After the snow falls, a snowdrift should be piled on top of the leaves.
If you cover the alyssum in this way, it will be able to survive the winter with green foliage on the shrub. It is not recommended to cut the plant before winter, trimming is arranged in spring.
Alyssum species and varieties with photos and names
Alyssum rocky (Alyssum saxatile)
This strongly branching perennial plant can reach about 0.3 m high. The bushes are hemispherical in shape and reach about 0.
4 m across. At the base, the branched shoots are woody. The dense rosettes consist of oblong or obovate leaf lamellae with a grayish tint and a felt-like appearance. They remain on the plant even in winter. The short, fluffy, brush-like inflorescences are made up of small yellow flowers that have emarginate petals.
Flowering occurs in the springtime and lasts about 5.5 weeks. Repeated blooms are possible in the last weeks of summer. Сорта:
- Цитринум. The low bush has yellow-lemon flowers.
- Compactum. The bush is about 18 centimeters high and the small flowers are very fragrant.
- Golden Wave. The height of the bush is about 0.2 m.
This variety does not begin to flower until it is two years old. Цветки желтые.
- Пленум. On a bush of about 0.3 m tall, the flowers bloom in a majestic golden color.
Alyssum maritimum, or lobularia maritimum
In regions with warm climates, this plant is grown as a perennial. Its height can vary from 0.08 to 0.4 m. It has a large number of twigs climbing over the surface of the area, resulting in dense clumps.
The fleshy little leaflets are oval and silvery in color, with fine pubescence on the surface. The tassel-like inflorescences consist of small honey-scented flowers. Varieties with purple and white flowers can be found in the wild. But there are many cultivars which can have purple, pink or red flowers. This species blooms from spring until fall.
- Тайни Тим. This dwarf plant reaches 80 mm in height. The blooms are lush, with very, very many white flowers, you can't even see the shoots or foliage because of them. It is used as a groundcover plant.
- Ister Bonnet Deep Rose.
The flowering is lush, the color of the flowers deep pink.
- Princess in Purple. This ampelic variety is recommended to grow in vases or hanging cachepots. The spreading stems can reach up to 0.35m in length.
The pale lilac flowers are very fragrant.
- Violet Conigin. Thickly branched compact bush reaches 10 to 15 centimeters in height. The flowers are purple.
Alyssum gmelinii, or Alyssum montanum
This perennial is frost-resistant.
Its height can vary from 0.1 to 0.2 m. The shoots are stalky and ascending. On the surface of the leaf plates there is a dense pubescence, consisting of stellate hairs, which makes the leaves appear to be colored gray.
The cyst-shaped inflorescences consist of yellow flowers. The beginning of flowering is in April or May.
There are also the following types of alyssum: Lena, twisted, Savran, rough, cup-shaped, Pyrenean, creeping and silver.
In recent years, thanks to breeders, a large number of alyssum varieties have come into being, the most popular being:
- Paletta. The miniature plants do not exceed 10 cm in height.
The flowers can be colored in a variety of colors: pink, crimson, brown, white, red and lilac. A mixture of seeds of Palette alyssum is available at the flower store, from which bushes with flowers of various colors grow, so you can easily create a mottled carpet in the garden.
- Big Jam. In this large-flowered variety, the flowers are 1.5 times larger than the normal species.
They can be colored purple, pale lilac, lavender, and white. The bushes are about 0.35 m tall. The variety is frost- and drought-resistant, it blooms even at minus 3 degrees.
- Golden placer.
The bush has a spherical shape. The leaf plates are narrow. The shoots practically lie on the surface of the ground. The small dense tassel-like inflorescences consist of rich yellow flowers. This variety is recommended for growing on stony slides as well as for decorating retaining walls.
- White Carpet. Blooms are long and lush, flowers white. Used as a groundcover plant.
- Pink carpet. The densely branched shrubs are about 12 centimeters tall.
There is pubescence on the surface of the bluey small leaf plates. The brushes consist of small lilac-pink fragrant flowers. This variety is often used as an ampel plant for balconies, and such flowers are also used to frame rainbows and flowerbeds.