The lush blooming clouds of alyssum look inimitable in the spring garden. It is one of the easiest cushion plants to grow and flower without much maintenance. And for sure – one of the most fragrant. The enchanting honey cloud above the lace of the alyssum can be enjoyed not only in parks and gardens. After all, even those who do not have their own garden can grow alissums at home – and not only on balconies. Slightly changing its character, alyssum, nevertheless, remains a non-capricious and rather hardy plant. But you still have to take care of him carefully.
Room alyssum – “pillows” of flowers and honey aroma. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com growjoy
Indoor alissum – plant description
Despite the fact that alyssums have long been reclassified into a different genus of plants – lobularia – their old name is still the most popular. It is not overshadowed by even modest folk nicknames, from the “beetroot” that is completely unsuitable for such a lush plant to the “stone-maker” that directly indicates the love of light soils.
Alyssum, or Marine Lobularia (Lobularia maritima, Alyssum maritimum) – these are very beautiful pillow, profusely flowering perennials, which are most often grown in garden culture as annuals, but are quite capable of wintering in open ground in a mild climate or stored indoors.
The rapid degeneration of alyssum is the main reason that the plant is abandoned. But the status of one of the easiest plants to reproduce, alissums received not by chance. New plants are so easy to grow that replacing the bushes is easy.
In a room culture, with proper care and keeping conditions, alissum can be grown as an annual, but if kept cool for the winter, it can act as a perennial, delighting for 2-3 years.
Alyssum bushes are very dense, consisting of hundreds of straight, densely leafy shoots. They expand like pillows and they are exactly what they resemble – spreading, voluminous, very bright.
In windy places and when planting on slopes, shoots can lie down, bend over, creating the effect of a “combed” bush. This property is used in rooms when planting in mixed compositions and growing in flowerpots with legs, when alissums seem to flow from the edges of the pots. The maximum height of alyssum is limited to 30 cm, indoor plants are often much more compact.
The leaves of alyssum are lanceolate, in some species they are lanceolate-ovate, with a pointed tip. They sit very densely on the shoots. Small, dark green, most often with a light bluish bloom and edge, which can be either almost imperceptible or rather fluffy on young leaves, they seem to attract light to themselves and create a dark rich background for abundant flowering. In a potted form, foliage is no less a decoration of a plant than its flowering.
Inflorescences of alyssum are racemose, very dense, apical. Due to the number and density of the location of the shoots, they merge into a single continuous cap above the greenery. It is difficult to see individual flowers on alyssum – they are small, almost inconspicuous, they surprise with their simplicity and elegance.
The flowers are regular, with four petals sitting crosswise, for the most part they look festive, elegant and almost wedding. Snow-white alyssums give the impression of white foam or lace, but this effect is typical for colored species and varieties to the same extent. In pots, curly, like blooming clouds, seem especially spectacular and elegant.
The color scheme of indoor alissum repeats the garden one. They can be white, pink, purple, and quite dark purple. Light alissums seem to beat off sunlight on the windowsills, but purple ones soothe, refresh, expand the space.
Alyssums bloom at the beginning, and with late sowing – in the middle of summer and delight until the end of the brightest and hottest season. Even in rooms, they rarely change habits and bloom at traditional times. If flowering stops, then the bushes can always be cut off by launching a second wave.
Aroma is the main pride of alyssum. They literally wrap the space around them in a trail of surprisingly sweet, sugary-bitter and honey aroma. Alissums smell more intense during the day.
Types and varieties of indoor alissum
Despite the fact that sea alyssum remains the most popular type of plant for indoor culture, another type of alyssum can also be transferred to pots – alissum rocky… Ironically, this plant, according to botanical classifications, is also far from alissum, but rock aurinia (Aurinia saxatilis, old name Alyssum saxatile).
This is a very beautiful dwarf shrub, somewhat taller, often developing in the form of an almost spherical pillow with broadly lanceolate, larger leaves with a grayish color. Its main advantages are winter greenness and dazzling yellow color of flowers, which create a charming lace over the greenery and sit in loose inflorescences.
Alyssum marine has many very interesting varieties that differ in color shades. Usually the name of the variety already indicates the shade of future flowering or the nature of growth – from a special bushy dwarf variety ‘Tiny Tim’ to pink-apricot ‘New Apricot’, snow-white ‘Snow Crystal’, pink-salmon ‘Salmon’, watercolor-cream ‘Paletta ‘, purple’ Oriental Night ‘, purple’ Violet Konigin ‘, candy pink’ Easter Bonnet Pink ‘and deep crimson’ Easter Deep Rose ‘.
Growing conditions for indoor alissum
Like all garden plants, alyssum moves into rooms reluctantly, requiring certain conditions. He prefers stable coolness and cold wintering, is extremely demanding on lighting. But there is nothing impossible in the list of requirements for this plant.
Indoor alissums can be grown as annuals, replacing them with new bushes (keeping the mother plants for spring or growing new seedlings from seeds) or as perennials with a winter dormant period and several pruning per year. Alyssums will still not please for decades, but they are able to hold out for several seasons.
Lighting and placement
Alyssum requires the brightest possible lighting. Plants can suffer from the midday sun, but it is still best to display them in the most lighted areas in the house. In the room, alissum cannot be used to decorate the interior; they can find comfortable lighting only on the windowsill. If there is no way to provide them with optimal lighting, it is better to move them to a balcony or loggia, veranda, terrace, garden for the summer.
Alissums grow well on western, partly southern windows and southern windows.
Alyssums grow equally well as a potted groundcover with spreading shoots, and as an ampelous plant, which can be used for hanging pots and cascades, decorating shelves and multi-level compositions. They do a good job with the role of “substrate” for large trees and shrubs.
Alissums feel great in the kitchen and in spacious rooms, where bright seasonal accents are lacking. They perfectly complement greenhouse plants as long as they maintain optimal lighting.
When placing alissum, you should think about their aroma: the rooms in which they rest are not very suitable for a plant with such an intensely sweet aroma. Fortunately, alyssum is not a night flower.
Plants do an excellent job of aromatizing space in rooms, create a festive atmosphere, set a special mood, but still it is better to choose a place for them carefully. When deciding to bring alissums to the interior or to the balcony, it is worth checking whether everyone at home will like their smell.
Temperature control and ventilation
Alyssums are thermophilic plants that, during the period of active growth, feel better in temperatures above 18 degrees Celsius. They are not afraid of heat, but the more stable and milder the temperature, the longer the alissums will bloom.
Room temperatures are more suitable for alyssum throughout the entire period of active growth, from early spring to late autumn. During the period of abundant flowering, it is best to lower the temperatures to 18 degrees and put the alissums in the coolest place in the house, if this is, of course, possible.
When the temperature rises to 25 degrees, an increase in air humidity is necessarily introduced into the care program. But all the same, high temperatures will affect the duration of flowering of alyssum.
If they want to give the bushes a try to bloom again next year, it is worth organizing the coolest winter possible for them. Alissums keep well at temperatures around 5 degrees. The maximum permissible wintering rates are 10 degrees.
Even if the plant does not actively grow and loses its decorative effect, spring shoots can be used to quickly root a new generation of indoor alissums. Despite the fact that alyssums are able to withstand negative temperatures, it is better not to expose indoor plants to such stress.
Alyssums are one of the plants that do not like disturbances in the free circulation of air around the bushes. Plants are best placed at some distance from walls and other crops, so that air evenly penetrates along the entire perimeter of the bushes.
Alissums love airing and grow very poorly without it, but strong drafts with temperature drops are also contraindicated for them. When exhibited for the summer on a balcony or in a garden, it is better to take care of choosing a protected place.
Indoor alissums can change their status at any time and can easily move to balconies and even to open soil.
Alyssum care at home
Protecting alyssum from waterlogging with fairly frequent watering is the main difficulty that can be encountered in growing alissum in a new format. They are very sensitive to a lack of nutrients and to excessive feeding, they react extremely badly to the lack of trimming and sanitization.
Alissums can be advised for those who like to constantly “communicate” with plants and surround them with care. It is better to grow them as a room culture only with the experience of transferring them to other summer rooms.
Watering and air humidity
Alyssums in a pot format require even more accurate watering than garden ones. They fully inherit their drought tolerance and will not be affected if the substrate dries out completely for a short time. But they are vulnerable to waterlogging and dampness. Too abundant, frequent watering, stagnant water lead to the death of the plant.
Watering alissums, it is worth letting the substrate dry at least half. During flowering, you can change the watering by drying the soil in the upper layer. It is better not to allow the water in the pan to stagnate. Drought shortens flowering time. But the sluggish appearance of the shoots should not be scary: usually, after watering, the plant quickly recovers its turgor.
Alissums in summer quite actively use their moisture reserves and may require daily watering. The degree of drying of the substrate should be checked more often.
For the dormant period, if the alissums are kept as perennials, watering is slowly reduced, allowing the substrate to dry out almost completely and focusing on the temperatures of the content.
For indoor alissum, only boiled, melted, rain or filtered water is suitable.
Watering for alyssum must be done very carefully. Getting greenery and shoots wet in indoor conditions will quickly lead to the loss of decorative plants.
Air humidity is not important for alyssum. But not when keeping them in the heat. In the summer months, you need to take care of additional water procedures, compensating for uncomfortable temperatures by mist spraying, installing pallets and containers with moistened decorative materials. In autumn, winter and early spring, you should not take any measures to moisturize.
Top dressing and composition of fertilizers
Despite its abundant flowering and dependence on the quality of the soil, indoor alissum does not like too active dressing. For him, fertilizers are applied in liquid form, along with water for irrigation, in half the concentration compared to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
The optimal frequency of feeding is once every 1 or 3 weeks. More active dressings can be carried out at the beginning of flowering, more rare – before its beginning and from the second half of summer.
Feeding is carried out for alissum only from the beginning of active growth until the end of flowering.
For alissums, universal full mineral fertilizers are suitable. In indoor conditions, organic fertilizers for the plant will only benefit. But it is worth choosing high-quality drugs with controlled characteristics from among biofertilizers and humus mixtures. During the flowering period, the composition of fertilizers can be changed by starting to apply fertilizers to beautifully flowering crops.
Pruning and shaping alyssum
Alyssums look better the more regularly the wilting inflorescences are removed. After all, a sloppy look with the effect of a continuous covering of flowers with lace spoils the overall impression too much.
Pinching the tops of the shoots at an early stage of development accelerates the thickening and growth of the plant. On alyssum, several haircuts can be done over the summer, especially if indoor plants bloom less abundantly. They not only recover well, but also bloom rather quickly again.
The standard pruning level for this houseplant is 1/3 of the height. Removing damaged or dying shoots, dry leaves allows you to keep the bushes neat. And the removal of the side, most spreading shoots along the perimeter of the bush stimulates more lush flowering of the bulk of the branches on the bushes.
If the alissums are kept for the winter, the bushes are pruned more strongly in early spring, after transplanting, leaving short stumps or 1/3 of the height to stimulate their renewal.
Transplant, containers and substrate
The need for transplantation of alissum directly depends on the quality in which they are grown. If the alissums are kept as perennials, then the plants are transplanted at the first signs of the beginning of growth in spring, carefully transferring them into new containers after pruning.
If the plants are saved for spring cuttings or will be replaced with new bushes, considering them as an annual, then there is no need for transplanting and the rules are enough to follow when planting seedlings and rooted cuttings in permanent containers. One of the features of alyssum is that they tolerate transplantation well even in flowering ones, but only if they are carefully transferred.
This indoor garden plant is completely undemanding to the soil. It is enough to choose a universal, water- and air-permeable substrate, consisting of several components and necessarily including sod soil and sand.
Alissums love perlite, vermiculite and other loosening additives, which are best added to any, even the highest quality substrate. The optimum pH value for alissum is 5,5 to 6.5.
Alissums can be grown in automatic irrigation systems or with the introduction of a hydrogel to create a stable moisture content. They are not very suitable for hydroponics. But otherwise they demonstrate amazing adaptability to alternative cultivation methods.
Alyssums are not very fond of deep containers, preferring to grow in well-drained containers with a width exceeding height. A very high drainage layer is laid at the bottom of the tanks, mainly from pebbles, shards, crushed stone or large expanded clay.
When transplanting alissums, it is important to ensure that the same level of deepening is maintained. The plant does not like dropping shoots and can quickly die from rot if irrigated inaccurately. It is advisable not to destroy the earthen lump during transplantation and to keep it intact. Otherwise, there are no tricks in planting a plant. It is enough to take care of high-quality watering and maintenance in “average” conditions after planting and transplanting.
Diseases, pests and problems in the cultivation of alissum
Alyssums are not always easy to grow in rooms. At the slightest violation of the stable humidity, the plant can shed its buds, and the wrong selection of top dressing leads to an excessive build-up of green mass or to a too sloppy appearance and poor growth of pillows.
Alissums very often suffer from rot, which threaten them not only with improper watering, but also with inaccurate watering and water ingress on the stems. They can become infected with powdery mildew, rust, leaf mosaics and late blight, especially when kept outdoors.
If damaged by rot, you can try to save the bushes by quickly correcting the conditions and applying fungicides. In other cases, it is easier to replace the bushes with new plants than to fight diseases.
Pests on this culture in a room format are extremely rare. Indoor alissums are the favorites of mealybugs. But insect problems threaten plants only in infected collections when they are adjacent to already diseased plants.
Reproduction of the alissum
It is one of the easiest plants to propagate. Alyssums are propagated by seeds, do not require any tricks, standard sowing is quite suitable for them. The ease of germination can be judged by the fact that alissums very often self-seeding in open soil.
Sowing seeds of alissum is best done together with the first annuals – in the third decade of February or the first decade of March, if possible, organize constant supplementary lighting – in January.
Sowing is carried out in medium-sized and shallow containers with drainage holes, scattering seeds as rarely as possible. The soil should be nutritious and loose. It is pre-moistened by scattering seeds over a leveled surface and covering them with only a few millimeters of substrate or sand.
Under film or glass, in good lighting and at a stable temperature above 20 degrees, shoots appear very quickly. The dive is carried out by several seedlings in one pot, after the release of the 4th-5th leaf. The sooner the bushes begin to form, the better. A simple pinch allows the plants to create dense cushions faster.
Alissums can be propagated vegetatively. If the bushes persist until spring, then young shoots can be used for cuttings. Plants will develop very quickly and will create beautiful pillows earlier than competitors grown from seeds.
Rooting of alissum cuttings can be carried out in water, sand or substrate, without a hood. Plants are also planted in several pieces in one container, following the general transplantation rules.