Native to Europe and Asia, Basket of Gold alyssum is a charming low-growing, evergreen perennial that will shine with golden-yellow flowers every year from mid to late spring. Although the flowers are small, there is a lot of them! The plants remain short at 6-12 inches tall and form mounds 16-20 inches across, and the greyish-green foliage remains pretty all season long.
Aurinia saxatilis is not a true alyssum, but it is often considered to be as it bears a close resemblance and relationship. Many gardeners mix it with their annual flower garden for spring displays. Basket of Gold won the Royal Horticultural Society’s “Award of Garden Merit” and is also recognized as a great source of nectar for pollinators. Aurinia doesn’t need fertilizing and is adaptable to a wide range of conditions, but it doesn’t react well to overwatering and poorly drained soils. Resistant to diseases and overlooked by deer, Basket of Gold is a great option for planting in rock gardens, beds, as a border front, cascading landscape, ground cover or in containers.
- Latin Name: Aurinia saxatilis compactum
- Life Cycle: Perennial
- Canada Hardiness Zone: 4-9
- Days to Maturity: Second-year maturity
- Planting Depth: lightly press 2-3 seeds or broadcast directly
- Plant Spacing: 30 cm
- Growth Habit: 15-30 cm tall
Sweet alyssum is the perfect flower to grow as an understory or ground cover. The foliage grows rapidly, creeping and spreading over the landscape. Dainty, four-petal flowers begin to appear within months of germination. Alyssum will perform wonderfully in cool climates. It typically flowers through the spring, fades during hot summers and returns to blooming in the fall. Alyssum grows vigorously and can become invasive (usually in warm climates) if not kept in check. Fill in any empty garden space with these lacy flowers and watch as they attract all sorts of beneficial insects.
Start seeds indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost date. Sow seeds thinly into a flat and mist until thoroughly moist. No need to cover the tiny seeds, just place the flat in a warm location under grow lights or a sunny south-facing window. Thin seedlings to about 15 cm apart as they start popping up.
Seeds can also be sown outdoors after the last frost has passed. Scatter seeds in the garden and lightly press them into the soil. They should have solid contact with the surface of the soil while still exposed to the light. Moisten the soil and keep an eye out for germination. Thin as needed as the seedlings sprout.
Plant your alyssum in full sun, unless living in a hot climate. If this is the case, be sure it gets some afternoon shade. Alyssum will tolerate many soil types but does the best in well-drained soil that is consistently moist. It will require 3 cm of water per week in general. Alyssum grown in the landscape won’t typically require any feeding, unless the soil is particularly poor.
Deadhead your sweet alyssum to encourage the setting of new buds and production of a higher volume of flowers. If plants get leggy, they can be pruned back to look tidier. Containers of alyssum can be taken in for the winter, or overwintered outdoors. Cut it to the ground and cover with a protective layer of cloth or mulch. Another simple method is to leave it as is for the winter and cut back in the spring to make way for the self-sown seeds from last year.
Alyssum is wonderfully versatile. Plant it among walking paths and stonewalls, in empty spaces, along edges of the garden or as a cascade of elegant flowers spilling from hanging baskets.
- Alyssum seeds will remain viable for 3 years if stored in a cool, dark place, ideally between 4 and 10⁰C. After that, the germination rate may start to go down.
OUR SEED GUARANTEE
You know that a lush, fruitful garden needs good soil, frequent watering, and sunlight to grow, but it’s the seeds that really make the harvest.
Picked and bagged for 2023 the vast majority of our seeds have germination rates of over 85%. The seeds are all-natural, non-GMO, non-hybrid, untreated, and open-pollinated for seed saving.
We have put a lot of thoughts into the design and packaging of our seed packets. Our seeds are all carefully packed in food grade kraft paper/aluminium zipper lock bags, and then are shipped in eco-friendly padded mailers.
We heat-seal each of our seed packet for even more protection from moisture, odour and light, allowing you to store your seeds for up to 3x longer than paper or plastic. Plant them all, germinate some indoors, save some for next season - it’s up to you!