Department of Horticulture New York State Horticulture Study Guide for Youth 4-H Logo


Flowers &
Indoor Plants

Fruits & Nuts



Special Topics



Cornell University

Sweet Alyssum
Lobularia maritima
(lob-you-lair-ee-a mar-it-ee-ma)

What is it?

Sweet alyssum is a member of the Mustard (Cruciferae) Family from Mediterranean origin. It is a wide-spreading, horticultural annual that grows up to 12 inches tall. It is decorated with lance-shaped, entire leaves and small but numerous flowers in terminal racemes of white, violet, and rose.

What is it used for?

Sweet alyssum is named and used for its pleasing fragrance. It is considered a showy plant and is found as edging and border, as well as in window boxes, hanging baskets, and rock gardens. However, a second sowing should be made in July. If allowed to go to seeds, plants will often self-sow for the following year.

Where does it grow? How do we grow it?

Sweet alyssum will grow in either full sun or light shade. It needs well-drained soil and 6 inches to grow within. It is necessary to shear it back in midsummer.

What are its primary problems?

If planted in unfavorable sites it is prone to botrytis blight.

How do we propagate it?

Sow the seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before the last frost or outdoors in the early spring as soon as the soil can be worked.

Previous Next

Copyright, Department of Horticulture, Cornell University.