This plant is a gardener’s favorite that has won several accolades, including the Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society. So if you are an avid gardener looking for a new addition to your flower bed? Or maybe you’re just starting and looking for an easy-to-care-for plant. Regardless of your motivation, yellow alyssum could be a perfect choice. While growing this plant is straightforward, you will need to grasp how to care for it properly to keep it looking its best. This article will cover everything you need to know about yellow alyssum, including how to plant and care for it.
So, what is Yellow Alyssum?
Yellow alyssum (Aurinia saxatilis) is a small beautiful flowering plant from the Brassicaceae family. According to TheSpruce, it is a perennial plant that most gardeners prefer as the basket of gold. However, its other common names are golden alyssum, rock madwort, gold dust and golden tuft. And it is native to the central and southern Europe regions but has been introduced to other parts of the world, including North America. This plant is often used as a ground cover or in rock gardens due to its small size and spreading habit. Yellow alyssum flowers are typically yellow but can also be white or pale pink. The blooms appear in clusters and have a sweet fragrance. Ultimately, it is a beautiful flower and a perennial plant, meaning it will come back year after year. Usually, these plants can attain a height of 4 to 12 inches and a spread of 12 to 24 inches.
Unique Characteristics of Yellow Alyssum
One of the unique characteristics of yellow alyssum is that it is unpretentious. It can grow in various soil types, including sandy and clay soils. It also does not require much fertilizer or water to thrive. Moreover, this plant is drought tolerant, meaning it can withstand periods of dryness without needing to be watered. Additionally, yellow alyssum is salt tolerant, which makes it an excellent choice for gardens by the sea. And it is also known for its ability to attract bees and other pollinators. Its growth habit is also unique in forming a low, spreading mound. Consequently, it is ideal for use as a ground cover or in rock gardens. However, yellow alyssum is not your regular flower because it doesn’t have a sweet fragrance.
Best Conditions For Growing Yellow Alyssum
Yellow alyssum grows best in full sun to partial shade. It prefers cooler temperatures and does not do well in hot, humid weather. In terms of soil, this perennial plant is not particular and will do well in most soil types, including sandy and clay soils. And since it is tolerant of drought and salt, it is also a good choice for gardens by the sea. When it comes to watering, yellow alyssum does not need much water to thrive. It is best to water this plant sparingly as too much water can cause the roots to rot. When planting yellow alyssum, it is best to do so in the spring. Consequently, this will give the plant plenty of time to establish itself before winter.
When to Plant Yellow Alyssum?
The best time to plant yellow alyssum is in the spring or fall. If you live in an area with a mild climate, you can plant it in the fall, and it will bloom in the spring. However, if you live in a region with a colder weather, it is best to wait until the spring to plant yellow alyssum. And this is because the plant is not cold or hardy and can be damaged by frost.
Where to Plant Yellow Alyssum?
When it comes to yellow alyssum, full sun is best. But it may also tolerate partial shade. When choosing a spot to plant yellow alyssum, ensure it is in well-drained soil. This plant does not like wet feet, so avoid planting it in areas that tend to stay soggy or damp. It can thrive on a rocky slope just as well as in a neatly trimmed flower bed. Remember, these plants do not like humid conditions. If you live in an area with high humidity, it is best to plant yellow alyssum in a spot with good air circulation.
Growth and Appearance
When fully grown, yellow alyssum typically reaches a height of six inches and a width of two feet. Its leaves are small and oval-shaped with scalloped edges. The flowers are small and yellow but can also be white or pale pink. They appear in clusters and have a sweet fragrance. As mentioned earlier, yellow alyssum has a low, spreading growth habit. As a result, it is often used as a ground cover or in rock gardens.
How to Plant Yellow Alyssum
There are several ways to plant yellow alyssum, including seeds, plugs, and transplants. You can choose to direct sow the seeds or start them indoors and then transplant them outdoors.
How to Grow Yellow Alyssum from Seeds
If you prefer to start from scratch, you need to sow the seeds directly. Follow these steps:
Buy yellow alyssum seeds from a reputable source. And ensure that they are fresh as old seeds will not germinate.
Prepare the planting bed by loosening the soil and removing weeds or debris. Once you are done, level off the area with a rake.
Sow the yellow alyssum seeds on the prepared bed. You can do this by scattering them on the surface of the soil and then lightly pressing them down.
Water the area gently with a watering can or hose. Be sure not to overwater as this can cause the seeds to rot. And place a thin layer of mulch over the seeds to help retain moisture. The ultimate objective is to keep the soil moist but not soggy.
After the seeds have germinate, thin them out to remain with the strongest seedlings. Also, you should start to see yellow alyssum seedlings within two to three weeks. At this point, they will be ready for transplanting in about six to eight weeks.
How To Grow Yellow Alyssum From Nursery Seedlings
Alternatively, you could grow yellow alyssum from nursery seedlings. Here is what you need to do:
Visit your local nursery or garden centre and purchase yellow alyssum seedlings.
Prepare the planting bed by loosening the soil and removing weeds or debris. Once you are done, level off the area with a rake. And dig large enough holes that can accommodate the seedling’s root ball.
Carefully remove the seedling from its container and replant it in the prepared hole. And backfill the hole with soil and water the area gently.
Place a thin layer of mulch over the seedling to help retain moisture. The goal is to keep the soil moist but not soggy.
You should start to see yellow alyssum seedlings within two to three weeks. And they will be ready for transplanting in about six to eight weeks.
How To Care For Yellow Alyssum
As mentioned earlier, yellow alyssum is quite tolerant of drought. However, it will need some water during prolonged periods of dry weather. The best way to water this plant is to either use drip irrigation or a soaker hose. It is an approach that prevents the leaves from getting wet, which can lead to fungal diseases. Nonetheless, it may need regular watering when the plant is new. Once it is established, water it once a week or as needed. Overwatering is just as bad as under watering, so ensure the soil is dry before you water it again.
Yellow alyssum is not a heavy feeder, so it does not need a lot of fertilizer. Too much fertilizer can damage the plant. If you must fertilize, use a balanced fertilizer with an N-P-K ratio of 6-9-6. Apply it at the rate recommended on the package. It is best to fertilize yellow alyssum in early spring, just as new growth begins. You can also add a layer of compost around the plant in spring to give it a boost.
Like many other plants, yellow alyssum will benefit from occasional pruning. And this will encourage new growth and prevent the plant from getting leggy. You can prune it anytime during the growing season. To do it, cut back the stems to about half their length. According to Bunnings, deadheading is the best way to keep yellow alyssum blooming all season long. It involves removing the spent flowers before they can turn into seed pods. Deadheading also prevents the plant from self-seeding.
How Long Does Yellow Alyssum Take to Mature?
Yellow alyssum takes about six to eight weeks to mature. According to MyGarden, once it is established, it will bloom all season long. Its flowering period will last for several weeks. After that, the plant will go into dormancy and will not bloom again until the following spring. Yellow alyssum is an annual plant that will only live for one growing season. However, it self-seeds readily, so you can expect it to come back year after year.
Common Pest and Diseases That Affect Yellow Alyssum
The good news is that yellow alyssum is hardly susceptible to fungal diseases and pests. So long as you take good care of it, you will steer clear of problems. However, there are a few things that you should be on the lookout for:
Aphids are some of the pests that might attack yellow alyssum. And if you are slow to react, they may weaken and distort growth. You might also see black sooty mold on the leaves, a fungus that aphids carry.
Prevention and Control
The best way to prevent an infestation is to keep your plants healthy. And in case of aphids lay a siege on your yellow alyssum, you can use insecticidal soap or neem oil to get rid of them.
Powdery mildew is the leading disease that affects yellow alyssum. It is a fungal disease that appears as white powder on the leaves. The good news is that it rarely kills the plant. However, it can cause the leaves to turn yellow and drop off.
Prevention and Control
To protect it from powdery mildew, water your alyssum early in the day to allow the leaves to dry before evening. You also want to steer clear of overhead watering and water at the base of the plant. If the powdery mildew persist, you can remove affected leaves.
Benefits of Growing Yellow Alyssum
Besides being beautiful, yellow alyssum is also quite versatile. It can be used as groundcover, in rock gardens, or as edging along walkways and borders. What’s more, it is low maintenance and quite tolerant of drought.
Common Mistakes That People Make When Growing Yellow Alyssum
One of the most common mistakes people make when growing yellow alyssum is planting it in an area that does not get enough sunlight. This plant needs at least six hours of daylight to thrive. Under watering is another common issue, especially for first-time growers. Remember, even though this plant is quite tolerant of drought, it will need some water during prolonged periods of dry weather.
Is Yellow Alyssum Toxic To Pets?
If you have pets around, you might wonder if yellow alyssum will harm them. According to PlantsnCats, this plant is not toxic to pets. Hence, you can rest assured that your furry friends will be safe around it. However, as with any plant, it is always best to supervise your pets around yellow alyssum or any other plant. The objective is to prevent them from nibbling on the leaves and stem, which might cause digestive upset.
Are you looking for a beautiful and vibrant ornamental plant? Alyssum is a lovely addition to any garden and is easy to grow. If you’re looking for a low-maintenance flower that will light up your yard, look no further than yellow alyssum. Be sure to plant it in full sun and give it plenty of water; you can expect months of colorful blooms. Chances are that you will be impressed by your outcome.