Early Spring Alyssum

ALS White
White

Blue Ribbon Alyssum flies under the radar today, but this plant was all the rage several generations ago. It provides a low and very dense carpet of color. One of its common names is actually carpet of snow—because white is the predominant version.

In truth, white is only one of the many shades available. We actually like Alyssums because they are very cold tolerant and offer such a wide range of bright, cheery colors. They withstand a hard frost and still keep their flowers, so they’re good plants to put in the ground even when a chance of snow or frost is in the forecast.

ALS Rose
Deep Rose

Alyssum deserves merit because in the early spring it offers an alternative to Pansies and Violas, and complements them as well. You can place Alyssum along the front border, or arrange it in a ring with the Pansies in the center.

Set the canvas with Alyssum—plants spread out easily to fill those in-between spaces. Once you have carpeted an area with white Alyssum, place some taller bulbs to pop up through for that Ice Cream Garden look.

ALS Violet
Violet

Blooms just keep coming all spring, all summer and all autumn long. Only in the heat of high summer will they slow down, but even then the plants continue to flower.

There are many series of Alyssum to choose from but the Blue Ribbon Easter Bonnet series is the best of the batch because it has the best habit and the earliest blooms. Look to it for the classic white carpet, but consider the darker hues (Violet, Deep Rose) as well, for added interest.