Looking for a low-maintenance plant to fill up your garden and beautify it? The alyssum plant automatically comes to mind. Not only is it easy to grow, but it also has a dense display of scented flowers. In case, you don’t have much sun in your garden, you’ll want to know if alyssum will grow in shade.
Alyssum can grow in areas of partial shade but not full shade. Alyssum needs the sun for photosynthesis to power growth and flowering. If given too much shade and not enough sun, alyssum plants will die!
Do Alyssums Need Shade?
Alyssums do need some shade in extremely hot climates, alyssums could suffer from sunburn and dehydration.
In hot tropical weather, the plants could do with shade in the hottest part of the day and in the afternoon. This should not be mistaken that the plant needs to be in full shade, it can do with part shade and part sun.
Also, in certain cases of drought, alyssum will not do well with excessive amounts of time in the sun. In this case, shade is crucial for the plants to survive.
Can Alyssum Grow in Full Shade?
No, alyssum cannot grow in full shade and it is not a good idea to try it.
Placing them in such a location would lead to a rapid decline in the plant’s health and well-being. It won’t be long until it dies if left in such a spot!
The reason for this is that alyssum like all green plants relies on photosynthesis to make energy. But, the key to this process is sunlight. So, without sunlight, there will not be any resources being generated through photosynthesis.
That said, even in winter or if you are growing alyssum indoors, you still have to provide them with their daily sunlight requirement. This is to ensure they stay alive during the cold season.
Signs of Not Enough Shade for Alyssum
All gardeners state that alyssum plants need lots of sun to power grow, flowering, and seed production. However, there come times when sun exposure is just too much! Instead of being beneficial, it becomes dangerous to the plant.
With excessive sun, you could be providing too little shade to your alyssum. So, here are the signs of not enough shade:
- Scorched leaf tips
- Discolored leaves
- Wilting and dropping of foliage
- Dried up flower buds and seed pods
You must act fast upon discovering such symptoms in your alyssum plants. Immediately move them into a shadier area that has much less sun exposure!
But at the same time, you don’t want to give your alyssum too much shade! These plants need their fair share of the sun as well.
Signs Of Too Much Shade
So how can we tell that your alyssum is not getting enough sun? There are many symptoms that we can look out for, such as leggy growth, unusually small leaves, pale green or yellow leaves, slow flowering, or no flowering at all. Let us look at each of these problems in depth.
1. Leggy Growth
The term leggy growth is used to describe stems that have become elongated and reach towards the source of light. This is the most common sign of too much shade. The distance between the leaves is known as an internode. The greater the distance between each internode, the more likely it is that the alyssum needs more sun.
2. Abnormal Leaf Growth
Apart from the extended stems plants can have very small leaves as compared to the older growth. This is yet another indication of inadequate sunlight. With enough sun, leaves will return to their usual size and grow to their full capacity.
Your alyssum might also be shedding older leaves, this is because the plant is lacking nutrients obtained by the sun. Hence, the plant drops its leaves to conserve energy and resources.
3. Abnormal Leaf Color
Is your plant a vibrant green color or rather a green going onto a yellow? This color change is another clear indication that your plant is not getting enough light to manufacture chlorophyll.
Chlorophyll is the pigment that makes a plant green. With sunlight, alyssum plants will automatically start to synthesize food through the process of photosynthesis. So give your alyssum adequate sun.
4. Slow Growth
While all plants have a period of slow or no growth, this is usually in the winter months. Come spring and summer, all plants are putting on a show with eye-popping flowers and new foliage. If your plant is not doing this, lack of sun could be the reason. It may be time to move your alyssum to a sunnier location.
Note: Just because plants become dormant in winter does not mean they do not need the sun. Actually, they use sunlight to store energy.
5. Few To No Flowers
Sunlight can affect the plant’s ability to flower and produce seeds. Alyssum and all other plants require more sunlight to produce flowers. The more sun they get, the more they flower. Plants that are not flowering or flower sparsely need more light.
Seeing as alyssum are most popular for their flowers, you might want to do everything you can to make sure they flower well.
6. Damp or Wet Conditions
With excessive shade, the soil and air will not heat up much, leaving behind a lot of moisture. This results in an overly wet environment that does not suit alyssum plants at all! These plants are used to these conditions as they come from hot and dry island conditions. Damp environments will compromise your alyssum plants.
How Many Hours Of Sun Do Alyssum Need?
Alyssum plants need about 6 to 8 hours of sun on a daily basis. Full sun is best although, in very hot temperatures, the plants can do with a bit of protection from the extreme heat of the sun in the afternoon.
On the other hand, if you reside in a climate of mild weather, your plant will not suffer from heat and might need more than the normal measure of 6 to 8 hours of sunlight. This is because the sun is not so strong and its rays aren’t powerful.
Why Do Alyssums Need More Sun Than Shade?
You will immediately notice that alyssum thrives in full sun. Why they need the sun, is why all plants need the sun, to photosynthesize and manufacture food. This will ultimately power all activities the plants need to complete their life cycle.
1. Cannot Tolerate Damp/Wet Soil
If there is one thing that alyssum plants dislike and cannot tolerate, it is damp and saturated soil. Excess water sitting around the plant’s roots can lead to root rot. Even water collecting in the leaves of the plant makes it increasingly susceptible to crown rot.
This is why shade won’t do. Sun will heat up the soil and evaporate water from the soil and from the plants.
Wet and humid conditions will induce fungal and bacterial populations. Both of which will result in diseases. Severe cases will result in your alyssum having poor health and possibly even dying!
Not leaving enough space between alyssum plants will also contribute to the chances of diseases arising.
Alyssum thrives in sunny conditions with the best spot being in full sun to partial shade. But, that doesn’t mean the plant can’t get overwhelmed by the sun!
In severe weather conditions involving heat waves and drought, alyssum needs more shade than usual. Also, when sun exposure is high, these plants are better off with afternoon shade when sunlight is brightest.
Although alyssum will need shade in such cases, alyssum cannot grow in full shade! Alyssum likes full sun with partial shade coverage in the hottest part of the day.
Yes, alyssum can come back every year. It is a self-seeding plant that will automatically drop seeds once its flowers are spent. Thus, when the right climatic conditions arise the following year, these seeds will germinate and grow into new plants. In this way, alyssum is quite invasive. If you don’t want them to spread, you must stop them from dropping seeds.
Alyssum is unique as it can act as an annual or a perennial plant. It just depends on the weather and climate you experience in your growing zone. In mild winter areas it is a short-living perennial, In very cold winter areas it acts as an annual plant.
The Mediterranean is the original place where alyssum plants grow and call home. However, they are also found in Asia, Europe, and the USA, where in some states they have been declared an invasive species. On the coastline of the Mediterranean countries, the alyssum can be found in the sand dunes and on the beaches. The soil there is well-draining, rich in organic matter, and there is full sun, but the weather is not overly hot, and winters are mild.