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Scientific: Lobularia maritima (Synonym: Alyssum maritimum)
Common: Sweet alyssum
Family: Brassicaceae
Origin: The Macaronesia region including the Canary Islands, Madeira, Cape Verde east to the southern French Mediterranean coast of the Bay of Biscay. It has widely naturalized worldwide in moderated temperate climates including the United States.

Invasive Alert: Sweet alyssum is invasive in the western United States, especially coastal California.

Pronounciation: Lo-bu-LAR-e-a mar-IT-i-ma

Hardiness zones
All, annual except a short-lived perennial along the southern and central California coast
USDA All, annual escept a short-lived perennial perennial in zones 10 and 11

Landscape Use: This small, delicate plant has many uses. It's wonderful for edging a flower bed, filling a container, beautifying a rock garden or cascading from a hanging basket.

Form & Character: Low and spreading, refined, dainty and diminuative in appearance, yet deceptively rugged.

Growth Habit: Evergreen, herbaceous annual or short-lived perennial, matting and spreading to 12- to 18-inches wide, 3- to 6-inches tall.

Foliage/Texture: Small, bright green, smooth and entire foliage, linear to lanceolate to only 1/2-inch long; fine texture.

Flowers & Fruits: Small, terminal clusters of white, lavender and pink, copious small fruits are not persistent falling to the ground under the plant canopy. Readily reseeds in garden flower beds.

Seasonal Color: Colorful flowers in winter and spring.

Temperature: Sweet alyssum has a cardinal temperature range of the 32o to 95oF range.

Light: Full sun

Soil: Tolerates most any soil condition, but prefers a well-drained soil. Does well in very sandy soils, even beach sand conditions. Don't over fertilize.

Watering: Light watering is all that is required during winter culture of this low maintenance edging plant. Too much water will encourage vegetative growth at the expense of flowering.

Pruning: None

Propagation: Can vigorously reseed, especially in coastal southern and central California (the heart of west coast Mediterranean conditions). Sow seed in early fall for winter color.

Disease and Pests: None, mostly because it is only in southwestern desert landscapes for a short while.

Additional comments: Very easy to grow and deceptively fecund. Some cultivars include 'Royal Carpet' (lavender), 'Snow Crystals' (white), and 'Easter Bonnet Mix' (mixed assortment of white, lavender and pink). Often best planted in the landscape from nursery six pack cells at about 4 inches on center.

Minor factoids: The genus name Lobularia is derived from the Greek word meaning 'small pod', referring to the shape of the fruits. The species name maritima refers to its preferred Mediterranean coastal habitat.