Companion planting has been practiced for decades. Not just in the garden but in farm fields as well. It has many benefits to your garden and to the plants growing within it. But, what are the best Companion Plants For Alyssum?
The best companion plants for alyssum are lettuce, tomato, roses, potatoes, carrots, peas, peppers, and swiss chard.
You should avoid planting sunflowers, ferns, and water-loving plants along with Alyssum.
Good Companion Plants For Alyssum
When it comes to partnering alyssum plants in the garden, they usually turn out to be the heroes. Alyssum holds many positive characteristics that help out the other plant. They mostly offer protection and even act as a distraction to oncoming pests, and sacrifice themselves!
Planting alyssum with Lettuce might sound strange, but the sweet flowers of the alyssum attract tiny parasitic wasps that feed on the aphids. The wasps use the lettuce to develop their young too, this reduces the aphid numbers dramatically while assuring a better harvest of lettuce.
The Alyssum works well with the tomato in that its spreading nature keeps the soil under the tomato plant from drying out. It also attracts beneficial insects and pollinators to the tomato plant. This is essential seeing as tomato fruits develop from pollinated flowers.
Alyssum and roses make a good pair as the alyssum attracts ladybugs and other beneficial insects that feast on the aphids. These small insects are known to infest rose bushes quite severely! In turn, this may impact unopened rose buds, turning them into awkward shapes and possibly even reducing their blooming time span.
Aside from looking pretty and giving a splash of color, the alyssum plant helps to protect potatoes from White Grubs, Wireworms, Potato Beetles, and leafhoppers when grown together.
Alyssum also keeps the soil moist and it discourages weeds too. This may make harvesting your potatoes or spotting them easier than if weeds were growing erratically.
Growing alyssum alongside carrots helps to keep away pests that lay their eggs in the soil. Not to mention alyssum takes up space that weeds would otherwise occupy. Weeds would be bad news as they would starve carrots of nutrients and other resources, leading to under-developed carrots!
Alyssum draws in pollinators and green lacewings which are highly attracted to their small and sweet-smelling flowers. These lacewings first feed on nectar in the alyssum flowers.
After this, they spread to your aphid-infested pea plants and voraciously devour aphids. They apparently eat more aphids than ladybugs and will multiply very rapidly!
At the same time, peas help alyssum by providing a decent supply of Nitrogen. Peas are legumes, a group of plants popular for cycling Nitrogen back into the ground and making the soil more fertile.
Parasitic wasps, syrphid flies, tachinid flies, ladybugs, and lacewing all frequent the alyssum for nectar. These friendly insects eat pests such as whiteflies, Aphids, and Thrips.
While other beneficial insects lay their eggs inside the pests like hornworms, fruit worms, and budworms. Alyssum can also be planted under the pepper to enhance biological control.
8. Swiss Chard
Swiss chard and alyssum make a good partnership, the alyssum attracts hoverflies which helps to keep the aphid population down. The alyssum can be planted scattered in between the swiss chards to offer the best protection.
Bad Companion Plants for Alyssum
We have looked at what plants can be planted together with alyssum, but some plants should not be planted alongside Alyssum. Here are the worst companion plants for alyssum flower beds.
There aren’t really many if any good companion plants for sunflowers, it certainly doesn’t do well with alyssum plants. These plants release compounds that are otherwise toxic to most plants.
These plants are termed allelopathic. This means they release a chemical through their roots that suppress the neighboring plants, retards their growth, and possibly even kills them. We doubt alyssum will thrive with sunflowers as companion plants.
Most types of ferns have the same thing in common, they prefer constant moisture with less sun than shade. These conditions are the exact opposite of what alyssum plants need, making ferns some of the worst companion plants for alyssum.
3. All Water Loving Plants
Alyssum does not tolerate wet or waterlogged soil well, it usually brings about rotting of the submerged plant parts. Water-loving plants will make for bad alyssum companion plants.
Examples of water-loving plants are:
- Elephant’s Ear
- Swamp Sunflower
- Blue Vervain
Why Does Alyssum Make a Good Companion Plant?
Alyssum doesn’t just make a suitable companion plant because it keeps up appearances. However, it may surprise you but alyssum actually makes a great companion plant for a host of other reasons. To some, alyssum may just seem like nothing to look at, but there is more than what meets the eye!
#1- Invites Pollinators
Being a flowering plant, alyssum produces stems densely covered with small flowers. These flowers aren’t just colored brightly, they are also sweetly scented. These two factors are responsible for attracting pollinating insects, particularly bees, honey bees, bumblebees, butterflies, and hoverflies.
If you have fruit trees or other flowering plants, having these insects in the garden is vital! They travel from one flower to another, carrying pollen on their legs and bodies which will be transferred to the next flower. In fruit trees, fruiting won’t occur without pollen.
#2- Attracts Aphids Away from Other Plants
A variety of pests may infest your garden, one particularly notorious garden pest being aphids. Having aphids affect your most prized plants such as roses or hibiscus plants is far from ideal as they could affect flowering and possibly even stunt the plants.
This is where alyssum plants save the day. These plants will attract the bulk of the aphids in your garden away from your more important plants.
#3- Invites Pest Eating Insects
Alyssum attracts aphids, but they have a ‘trick up their sleeves’ so to say! In addition to attracting aphids, these plants also appeal to other predatory insects that feed on aphids. A particular one is a hoverfly that feeds on aphids even in its larval form.
Other insects known to feed on aphids are ladybugs, soldier beetles, lacewings, and parasitic wasps. If the concentration is right, there is no reason why these insects won’t find your alyssum plant unappealing!
#4- Suppresses Weeds
Another troublesome aspect of gardening is dealing with annoying weeds. Many gardeners also say that alyssum helps to cover bare ground and thus deter the growth of weeds.
This comes as a relief for garden owners who would much rather have colorful alyssum plants instead of weeds. You usually have to remove weeds manually and if left alone, they compete with your plants for valuable resources. All in all, weeds strip your plants of what they need to grow and flower well.
#5- Conceals Beneficial Insects
You will be glad to know that alyssum also acts as the best refuge for other insects that have a positive effect on the garden. Examples are spiders which eat ants, and beetles which eat aphids and possibly ants as well, depending on the type of beetle.
This comes in handy if your garden has a large population of aphids. Naturally, ants will persist in areas with a high density of aphids because they act as a source of food for them.
What Are Companion Plants?
In gardening, companion planting is the practice of planting different crops or ornamental plants together for the benefit of the plants.
Growing certain plants together helps to discourage pests, attract beneficial insects, and pollinators, and helps plants achieve healthier growth. Plants can help deter animals in some instances.
This relationship can be one-sided or work both ways. It truly depends on the combination of plants you have picked out.
Advantages Of Companion Planting
Why should you choose to carry out companion planting using alyssum? Alyssum has so much to offer, here are some of the benefits of alyssum companion planting:
- Utilizes garden space
- Naturally uses plants as a form of pest deterrent by inviting predatory insects
- An organic method of recycling nutrients
- Provides an opportunity to grow tall and low-growing plants efficiently together
- Growing a variety of plants will improve garden biodiversity
- Companion planting can be linked to reducing soil erosion and excessive use of nutrients
- This practice makes the garden look more appealing, balancing greenery and color while keeping the garden scented
Disadvantages Of Companion Plants
There are a few cases where companion planting won’t do your garden much good! Alyssum does offer a lot, but sometimes it just isn’t enough. These are a few negatives to look out for.
- Sometimes one difference between the alyssum and the other plant’s ideal growing conditions can mean that one plant will suffer more than the other
- Not all plants may pair well with alyssum if they use more resources than the alyssum
- Resources may be consumed rapidly, making both plants suffer without them
- Having a wide array of plants in one flower bed can be expensive and complicated if you want to cater to all of their needs
- Some plants release toxic materials into the soil. An example is a sunflower which releases Terpenes and various Phenolic compounds
If you are wondering which plant to put your alyssum next to, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Alyssum doesn’t have many plants that benefit it but alyssum makes a great companion to many flowering plants and vegetables.
Best companion plants for alyssum include:
- Swiss Chard
Alyssum makes the best companion plant because:
- Invite pollinating insects to assist in flowering and fruit formation
- Attract aphids away from other garden plants
- Invite predatory insects
- Suppress weeds growing in open spaces
- Conceal beneficial weeds
When growing alyssum in pots, you should plant other flowering annuals with it. These plants will usually die at the same time of the year while keeping the container looking very colorful during their flowering season. Examples are Petunias, Trailing Lobelia, and Daffodils.
Alyssum seeds should be planted 2 inches (5 cm) away from other seeds/plants or 6 inches (15 cm) apart from other plants when the seeds have grown slightly to develop stems and leaves.