Alyssum is a tender perennial commonly grown as an ornamental annual in most gardening zones of North America. USDA zones 9-11 can grow Alyssum year-round as a perennial. The winter care for this plant is easy and does not require much time to keep Alyssum blooming throughout the winter months.
Protecting Alyssum in Winter
Annual-grown Alyssum does not require any winter protection. The plants will die back with the first frost of the fall. They can then be composted or thrown away. The cooler fall weather will spur the plants into another flush of vigorous growth in the zones where Alyssum is perennial. No protection will be necessary for zones 9-11. If an unusual frost is predicted, simply cover the plants and pots with an old sheet or length of horticultural fleece for temporary protection. Remove the covering the next day when temperatures exceed 45 degrees F.
Cutting Back Alyssum For Winter
Alyssum will need shearing back for the fall and winter growing seasons. In zones 9-11, Alyssum does not go dormant, and this shearing back helps keep it tidy for the next few months. Cut back the top growth by half to spur fresh foliage and flowers. Fertilize with a slow-release granular fertilizer formulated for blooming plants and water the soil well. Within 2-3 weeks, the plants will be fully recovered and rejuvenated.
Watering Alyssum in Winter
Perennial-growing Alyssum will need watering through the winter while the temperatures are above 45 F. The soil's evaporation rate will be much slower in the winter than the summer. If watering with drip irrigation or soaker hoses on timers, fall is the time to reevaluate the settings. Allowing more days between watering will help keep the soil from getting waterlogged.
Growing Alyssum Indoors
Alyssum doesn't make a good houseplant. The air inside is typically too warm and dry to grow annuals or tender perennials. Seeds can be saved at the end of summer and then started indoors for propagating spring plants. Start seeds 2 months before the last predicted frost date. Give seedlings full sun and plenty of warmth until they can be planted outside after the last frost.
Steps To Care For Alyssum in Winter
Alyssums growing in zones 9-11 are tender perennials and make an excellent ground cover. They are especially useful in the garden for attracting pollinators and other beneficial insects.
Step 1 - Shear back the top growth by half.
Step 2 - Water and fertilize the plant well.
Step 3 - Do not overwater in the winter when the cooler weather means slower evaporation.
Step 4 - Saved seeds can be started indoors 8 weeks before the last frost date for your garden zone.
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Author Robbin Small - Published 12-16-2022