A native of Southern Europe Alyssum maritimum is a
perennial, but is best treated as an annual.
The plant, when full grown, will not exceed one
foot in height with a spread of a foot across.
The foliage is minute and almost entirely hidden
by the freely produced white flowers; it owes
its popular name to its fragrance.
The forms of garden origin enjoy considerable
popularity, being seen in such varieties as var.
minimum, reaching only two inches high, var. nanum,
reaching four inches.
From this latter form have been evolved varieties
with white flowers that change with age to lilac
The seed should be sown in March under glass,
the seedlings pricked off and planted out where
they are to flower when the risk of frost has
passed; or outdoors in early May.
Propagation is from seed.
The flowering season is from midsummer until frost.
Alyssum saxatile, the yellow alyssum, is a perennial
that should be planted in the spring for May and
Alyssum – Madwort, Gold-dust.
Flowers yellow, April and May.
There are about a dozen sorts of this invaluable
spring flower, but for ordinary garden purposes
the well-known Alyssum saxatile is all that is required.
It forms a thick tuft of greyish leaves, covered
in April with intense yellow flowers, so thick
as to produce a solid blot or sheet of colour.
In contrast with other pieces of colour, such
as those produced by Aubrietia, Arabis, or the
vernal Phloxes, it affords one of the most satisfying
results of spring gardening. It will grow in almost
and soil, but should have open, sunny quarters.
Plants may be put out in October, and seedlings
may be raised with great ease by sowing in a piece
of good light soil in the open from May to July.
It is well to raise a fresh stock thus every year,
as the old plants have a way of growing woody
and decaying in the middle.
It is excellent for spring bedding, planted in
clumps or in lines as an edging, in company with
Silene, Forget-me-not, Van Thol Tulips and the
like, all of which can be taken up in time for
the planting of summer things.
In getting plants or seed it is as well to specify
the compact variety.
Other sorts, Gemonense sulphureum, lemon yellow;
saxatile plenum, double yellow flowers; maritimum,
white; may also be tried by those who like to