Alyssum plants are great flowering plants for as long as they last. Having to plant them, again and again, to grow back every year is a tiresome task that everyone wants to avoid!
The good news is that few alyssums who are self-seeding annuals grow new plants every year. The other are perennial plants that die in winter but grow back in the spring.
This tendency for alyssum to grow back every year depends on whether you have an annual or perennial alyssum, conditions, and the climate in your area.
Conditions for Alyssum to Grow Back
In order for alyssum plants to grow back every year, you will have to make sure that all conditions are suitable for optimal growth. These are a few of the conditions that must be ideal for growth.
Alyssum likes the sun as they do originate from the Mediterranean, an area known for high sun exposure. Provide your alyssum seeds or saplings with at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight. They should not receive more shade than the sun!
Alyssum needs adequate water, not too much and not too little! Also, they don’t do well sitting in waterlogged areas. If waterlogging happens, it causes the rotting of various parts of the alyssum plant, especially the roots and stem.
Alyssum doesn’t require the most fertile soil to grow back every year. But, the draining capacity of the soil being used is very important, perhaps the most important soil quality. Water should drain out of the soil rapidly.
– Winter Protection
Your alyssum plants will need winter protection as they are not very hardy in freezing cold temperatures. The best method of protection is bringing them indoors or building a structure around them. In climates with mild winters, alyssum plants will act as perennials and not annuals.
Is Alyssum Perennial or Annual?
A lot of people seem to be confused as to whether the alyssum is annual or a perennial? The answer is both.
The deciding factor is which climate the alyssum is being grown in, to a lesser degree what variety of alyssum you are growing.
- In milder climates with no freezing cold winters, alyssum is a perennial.
- In colder climates with freezing temperatures, alyssum is an annual.
So, the climate you have in your location will decide what your alyssum is and how it will grow back or not in the following years to come.
Differences Between Annuals and Perennials
When it comes to whether alyssum grows back every year depends on its status as an annual or a perennial.
Annuals live for only one growing season (1 year). Flowering plants in this category bloom for the whole season and have colorful and appealing flowers. They produce seeds after flowering, mostly before the fall season.
Perennials live for several years (2 to 4 years) and die back every winter but regrow in the spring. They do not flower as long as annual plants and are not as showy. These plants usually spread best by dividing the plants when they get too bushy.
How Does Alyssum Grow Back Every Year?
Alyssum will not die if it is growing in climates where the weather is warm, and the winters are mild. This is because of the absence of severe cold or freezing temperatures. It will not grow actively in winter, but rather be in a dormant state.
In spring this alyssum plant will put out new growth and will soon flower. These are the characteristics of a perennial plant, or rather a short-lived perennial, as it does not live as long as other perennial plants.
Whereas when alyssum is grown in countries and states with freezing temperatures, the alyssum plant will perish in winter. But, not before it gets a chance to bloom and lay down its seeds. After its death in winter, you will find the seedlings of the old plant growing in spring.
Before dying, annual alyssum plants put all their energy and resources into flowering and producing seeds.
Annual and perennial alyssum both produce seeds, and both will eventually let out their seed. However, the difference is that perennial alyssum plants do not die completely, they die and grow back, while annual alyssum dies off.
This is the reason why alyssums that are perennials are the fastest to grow back year after year. Annual alyssum is set back by having to sprout from seeds, an activity that requires special conditions for it to occur.
Advantages of Self-Seeding Plants
Some people prefer to plant self-seeding plants such as alyssum because they grow back every year. But, that’s not all these plants can offer you and in particular your garden.
Here are some advantages of having self-seeding plants.
- The plant will automatically produce seeds, disperse them, and grow when desirable conditions arise.
- You will be saved from collecting and storing the seed yourself.
- Chances of failure are nil as most of the seeds are expected to germinate.
- As alyssum spreads out over an area they also discourage weeds.
- The plants are already acclimatized to the soil and environmental conditions of that specific area.
- You do not need to be a skilled gardener with self-seeding plants, as they do all the work for you.
- No need to replant the plants every year.
Disadvantages of Self-Seeding Plants
All plants produce seeds, it is a means of reproduction and ensuring their survival. Sometimes for the gardener, it can be a blessing, if you love the plant. Or a curse, if you hate it. There are advantages and disadvantages to having self-seeding plants in your garden, let us look at the cons.
- The seeded plants are not the exact same as the parent plant.
- Thickening of foliage and blooming colors and tendencies are not on par with the parent plant. In fact, they decrease with every generation.
- If your garden is uninhabitable to alyssum, self-seeding plants are as good as useless.
- Alyssum plants could become too invasive as they spread easily and are more drought-hardy than many other garden plants.
- Parent plants with a genetic fault could pass this on to their progeny.
- Alyssum bears many flowers and hence you could find yourself with too many alyssum seeds!
How to Propagate Alyssum from Seed?
It is quite easy growing your own alyssum plants from seeds that you might have collected yourself from your own alyssum plants. Or that you might have bought at a store.
- Ask yourself, will you be sowing your seeds directly into the garden bed or a seedling tray?
- Either way, you will need to prepare a soil mix that needs to be well-draining, and rich. Sow your seeds by scattering the seeds (they are very tiny) over the surface of the soil, pressing them down gently.
- Give the seeds a good soaking, and keep the soil moist, so they don’t dry out. When watering it is a good idea to water with a nozzle spray so the seeds will not be displaced by the water.
- While the seeds are growing, prepare the bed. Placement of your bed should be where the plants receive at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sun every day. The soil must be well-draining and slightly acidic.
- Keep the germinated seeds moist and water carefully.
- Let the seedlings attain a height of 4 cm before transplanting.
- When transplanting your alyssum seedlings keep a space of 7 to 10 cm between the plants to allow for the spread of the plant.
- Water the plants well, so they can take root.
- Continue to pay attention to the plants, and keep a schedule of watering, until they start growing and are established.
Alyssum is an appealing flowering plant to have in the garden all year round. But, this draws the question, do alyssum grow back every year?
The answer is yes, alyssum always grows back every year. If it’s not by seeds (annual alyssum) then the plant itself will grow back to health in spring (perennial alyssum).
You can tell which one you have and if it will grow back the next year by identifying what climate you fall under. Do you have a mild winter or frost winter with freezing temperatures?
Warmer climates have perennial alyssum while colder climates have annual alyssum plants.
Although mature alyssum plants are not cold-hardy and will die with frost conditions. Alyssum seedlings are slightly more hardy but still won’t survive through winter conditions. It is best to provide an extra layer of protection to these plants by bringing them indoors and taking them back out once freezing temperatures have passed.
Alyssum plants are unique since they can be both annuals and perennials. In freezing cold climates, they act as annuals by dropping seeds and then dying. But in warmer climates, they mimic the qualities of short-lived perennials by becoming dormant and then sprouting back in the spring.