The mass of gardeners and florists gives preference to ground cover plants. And among them, in turn, for an extraordinary charm, they allocate alissum. You need to find out what is characteristic of it and what are the subtleties in handling this plant in order to get the optimal result.
The conversation about the Snow Carpet alissum is worth starting with the fact that it is one of the most commonly used ground cover crops. A characteristic feature of the plant is its unpretentiousness and ease of care. In the vast majority of cases, alissum flowers are white in color. But there are also pink, yellow and purple varieties. There is another subtlety: the often-held opinion that alissum and lobularia are one and the same is obviously wrong.
An in-depth botanical study showed that these are different species, and the external similarity between them is largely random. However, for everyday cultivation, this difference does not play a special role. It is curious that garden cabbage is the species closest to alissum. Moreover, the flower cannot boast of culinary qualities and is used only for decoration purposes.
Alyssums reach a relatively small height and bloom for only one year.
The shoots of this culture are durable. Already in July they are lignified. The leaves are relatively small, up to a maximum of 0.02 m long. They are characterized by an elongated shape and alternate placement on the stem. Each leaf is slightly pubescent and has a gray-green color.
Flowers contain 4 petals. They are grouped into racemose inflorescences. The plant turns out to be an excellent honey plant and significantly increases pollination of neighboring plantings. Despite the very small (0.08-0.1 m) bush height, the only alissum plant covers an area of up to 0.25 square meters. m
Therefore, even with a distance of 0.4 m, an inextricable flower carpet is formed; but even after the death of the flowers, the alissum will not lose its attractiveness. The fact is that new inflorescences will be formed continuously until the onset of cold weather. If seedlings are used, and autumn is warm enough, alissum blooms quietly from late May to the first decade of November.
Culture can develop on the earth, regardless of its fertility. Even on stony ground, it almost does not lose its characteristic charm.
But still, the best choice is light soil with a loose structure.
How to plant?
Take seeds for planting in the store is not necessary. "Snow carpet" allows you to collect planting material in each season for the next year. Varietal characteristics will remain for a long time. Nevertheless, every 5 or 6 years it is better to change the culture (to conduct crop rotation), combining this with the updating of planting material. This is the only way to save flowers from degradation.
You will have to collect seeds at a strictly defined time. Important: they must be removed even if they will not use this material. Otherwise, alissum will multiply randomly, self-seeding. Harvest time comes in September. Postponing it to October and beyond is impractical.
A common mistake is tearing the boxes one by one. This is simply impractical. It would be much better to spread strong matter or agrofibre under the bushes, and then grind the inflorescences manually in their usual place. Harvested seeds are dried, keeping them in a well-ventilated place. It’s best to put the seeds in bags of cloth, providing an air temperature of 18 to 20 degrees and a relative humidity of up to 70%.
Doing something else is not required. Note: alissum seeds are very low in density. For 1 g they sometimes account for up to 1000 pieces. Therefore, for the collection and landing it is best to choose the quietest days.
"Snow carpet" is recommended to plant first on seedlings.
When landing, you should follow a number of useful recommendations.
- Only in warm regions can you take a chance and try to land a culture directly in the ground. Flowering should occur in late May, and planting on seedlings is carried out 45 to 50 days earlier. If alissum is planted in open land, flowering will begin at a later date. Seed germination lasts up to 3 years. Seedlings of “Snow Carpet” are planted in deep containers so that there is at least 0.1 m of soil.
- The best option has long been recognized as an individual landing on plastic containers. The soil is picked up easier and carefully loosen it. For alissum, aeration of the roots is extremely important. The composition of the soil is selected at its discretion. At the same time, they try to have a neutral or slight alkaline reaction.
- Even very acidic soils can be used, but only after liming. Important: it is better to disinfect any soil by evaporation in a water bath. An alternative is to freeze the soil in the freezer. This procedure will take several days to wait. The laying of seeds deep in the ground is not welcome - they sprout poorly without sunlight.
- The earth must be moistened in advance with water. Planting material is distributed evenly. Then it is slightly crushed. After waiting 2-4 hours, planting is again watered with warm water. The container is kept under the film at a temperature of 18 degrees in bright sunlight.
- It is better if in the dark hours the seedlings will be highlighted with LED phytolamps. It is recommended to water the earth, avoiding its overdrying. You can wait for the sprouts to emerge after about 7 days. Every week, seedlings are fed. Begin to do this, focusing on the appearance of leaves. Optimum feeding is nitroammophos with a reduced nitrogen fraction or nitroammophosque of the B series.
- It is necessary to dive seedlings of alissum after the appearance of three real leaves. Between seedlings in a new container leave a gap of at least 0.05 m. Transplantation into open ground is made about a week before flowering. Alissum can be planted only in open places where there is not even the slightest shadow.
- The recommended scheme is 20x20 cm. Wells in depth should reach 0.03-0.05 plus the height of the root coma. The newly planted alissum is rammed and watered abundantly. Immediately after this, all side shoots are cut off.
How to care?
Leaving when growing alissum from seedlings does not differ from the same procedure when breeding it with seeds. Be sure to irrigate the land and feed it. Removing the protective net is advisable when the plant rises to 0.05-0.07 m. A systematic thinning plays a very important role, without which the flower bed cannot be formed correctly.
Between the largest plants leave a gap of at least 0.15-0.2 m, the same gap is made between the rows.
Alyssum is extremely resistant to drought. During the heat, a lack of water often leads to the discharge of both blooming flowers and buds. But excessive irrigation is also not recommended, because stagnation of water is very harmful. Abundant watering is carried out only when they are confident in the high permeability of the soil. The frequency of irrigation is selected, taking into account the condition of the land.
Water is needed for the “Snow Carpet” when the soil has dried 0.03-0.05 m deep. Usually this situation occurs every 4 or 5 days. You can water the plant only with warm, settled water. If there is no urgent need, water the alissum in the evening. Each time after this, loosen the earth by 0.05 m and mulch it.
Adult alissum is not recommended to be fed organics. The optimal choice is complex mineral compositions, the same as for seedlings. Top dressing is laid 4 times during the flowering season. The first top dressing is timed to its beginning.
The best option is the basal laying of fertilizers.
Alissum will have to be trimmed regularly, otherwise it will not form new inflorescences. At the same time get rid of dried out sick shoots. The reaction to their removal is detected very quickly. Only a few days will have to wait for the formation of new shoots and flower buds. You can help the flower as much as possible by combining trimming and top dressing in time.
Diseases and Pests
Alyssum almost never gets sick. It contains a significant amount of alkaloids and flavonoids that suppress pathological organisms. However, fungal infections are a danger. A particular risk is associated with late blight infection. The use of copper-containing products helps fight it.
Powdery mildew helps spraying with a one percent Bordeaux mixture. Cruciferous flea and whitewash are the main pests of alissum. They fight them, spraying the plant with a mixture:
- diluted in water vinegar;
- infusion of chamomile;
- some soap.
Use in landscape design
Alyssum "Snow Carpet" is a frequent guest in a flower bed of a summer cottage or near a house. Features of the development of the plant allow its use in the format of a tapeworm. Then you have to make out a "spot" of at least 0.5 m in diameter.
This culture is appropriate in any rockeries and rock gardens, including in the neighborhood of marigolds and phlox. A frequent design trick is planting an alissum near a large stone.
You can find the plant also in the mixborder and in the discount. It will be perfectly combined with large crops and flowers of the onion family. Alyssum can be highlighted or surrounded by perennials - depending on personal taste.
The “snow carpet” also looks good in a balcony planter. And in the ornamental garden, they usually try to place it along the tracks.
Tips for growing alissum see below.