Room alissum - “pillows” of flowers and honey aroma
The lush blooming clouds of alissum look inimitable in the spring garden. This is one of the easiest to grow pillow plants that bloom without much care. And for sure - one of the most fragrant. A charming honey cloud above alissum lace can be enjoyed not only in parks and gardens. After all, even those who do not have their own garden can grow alissums and houses - and not only on balconies. Changing its character a little, alissum, however, remains a non-capricious plant and quite hardy. But you still have to take care of him carefully.
Indoor alissum - plant description
Despite the fact that alissums have long been retrained into another genus of plants - lobularia - their old name is still the most popular. It is not even overshadowed by modest folk nicknames, from the “alyssum” completely unsuitable for such a lush plant to the “mason” that directly indicates love for the light soils.
Alyssum, or marine lobularia (Lobularia maritima, Alyssum maritimum) - these are very beautiful cushioned, abundantly flowering perennials, which in the garden culture are most often grown as annuals, but are quite capable of wintering in the open ground in a mild climate or stored indoors.
The rapid degeneration of alissums is the main reason that plants are discarded. But the status of one of the easiest plants to reproduce was not accidental. It is so easy to grow new plants that replacing the bushes is not difficult.
In room culture, with proper care and maintenance conditions, alissum can be grown as an annual, but when kept cool for the winter, it can act as a perennial, glad for 2-3 years.
The bushes of alissums are very dense, they consist of hundreds of direct densely leafy shoots. They expand like pillows and it is they that resemble them - sprawling, voluminous, very bright.
On windy places and when landing on the slopes, shoots can lie down, bend, creating the effect of a “combed” bush. This property is used in rooms when planting in mixed compositions and growing in flowerpots with legs, when alissums seem to flow from the edges of the pots. The maximum height of alissums is limited to 30 cm, indoor plants are often much more compact.
The leaves of alissums are lanceolate, in some species - lanceolate-ovate, with a pointed tip. They sit on the shoots very densely. Small, dark green, most often with a light bluish bloom and a fringe, which can be either almost invisible or quite fluffy on young leaves, they seem to attract light and create a dark saturated background for abundant flowering. In a potted form, foliage is no less a decoration of a plant than its flowering.
Inflorescences of alissums are racemose, very dense, apical. Due to the number and density of shoots, they merge into a single continuous hat over the greenery. It is difficult to consider individual flowers on alissum - small, almost inconspicuous, they amaze with simplicity and elegance.
The flowers are regular, with four petals sitting crosswise, for the most part they look festive, elegant and almost wedding. Snow-white alissums give the impression of white foam or lace, but for colored species and varieties this effect is characteristic to the same extent. In the pots, curly, as if blooming clouds, seem especially spectacular and elegant.
The color scheme of indoor alissums repeats the garden. They can be snow-white, and pink, and purple, and quite dark purple. Light alissums seem to repel sunlight on window sills, but purple ones calm, refresh, and move apart space.
Alissums bloom at the beginning, and with late sowing - in the middle of summer and delight until the end of the brightest and hottest time of the year. Even in rooms, they rarely change habits and bloom in traditional times. If flowering stops, then the bushes can always be cut, triggering a second wave.
Aroma is the main pride of alissums. They literally wrap the space around them in a train of surprisingly sweet, sugary-bitter and honey aroma. Alyssum smells more intense during the day.
Types and varieties of indoor alissums
Despite the fact that sea alissum remains the most popular plant species for indoor culture, you can transfer other types of alissums to pots - alissum rocky. Ironically, this plant, according to botanical classifications, is also far from alissum, but rock aurinia (Aurinia saxatilisold name Alyssum saxatile).
This is a very beautiful shrub, somewhat higher, often developing in the form of an almost spherical pillow with broad-lanceolate, larger leaves with a grayish color. Its main advantages remain winter greenery and a dazzling yellow color of flowers, which create a charming lace above the greenery and sit in loose inflorescences.
Alissum sea has many very interesting varieties that differ in shades of color. Typically, the name of the variety already indicates the shade of future flowering or the nature of growth - from the particular bushy dwarf variety 'Tiny Tim' to the pink-apricot 'New Apricot', the snow-white 'Snow Crystal', the pink-salmon 'Salmon', the watercolor-creamy 'Paletta ', purple' Oriental Night ', purple' Violet Konigin ', candy pink' Easter Bonnet Pink 'and dark raspberry' Easter Deep Rose '.
Growing conditions for indoor alissum
Like all garden plants, alissum moves to rooms reluctantly, requiring certain conditions. He prefers a stable cool and cold wintering, extremely demanding on lighting. But there is nothing impossible in the list of requirements of this plant.
Alissums in indoor format can be grown as annual plants, replaced with new bushes (keeping mother plants for spring or growing new seedlings from seeds) or as perennials with a winter dormant period and several prunings per year. Alyssums will still not please for decades, but they can hold out for several seasons.
Lighting and placement
Alyssum requires the brightest lighting. Plants can be affected by the midday sun, but it’s still better to expose them in the brightest places in the house. In the room, alissum cannot be used to decorate the interior; they can find comfortable lighting only on the windowsill. If there is no opportunity to provide them with optimal lighting, it is better to move them for the summer to a balcony or a loggia, a veranda, a terrace, a garden.
Alyssums grow well on western, partly southern windows and southern windows.
Alyssums grow equally well both as a potted groundcover with spreading shoots, and as an ampel plant, which can be used for hanging planters and cascades, decorating shelving and multi-level compositions. They cope well with the role of "substrate" for large tree and shrubs.
Alyssums feel great in the kitchen and in spacious rooms, where there are not enough bright seasonal accents. They perfectly complement plants in greenhouses, while maintaining optimal lighting.
When placing an alissum, it is worth thinking about their aroma: the rooms in which they rest are not too suitable for a plant with such an intensely sweet aroma. Fortunately, alissum is not a nocturnal flower.
Plants perfectly cope with the role of aromatization of space in rooms, create a festive atmosphere, set a special mood, but nevertheless it is better to choose a placement for them carefully. When deciding to bring alissums into the interior or onto the balcony, it is worth checking to see if their smell is pleasant to everyone at home.
Temperature and ventilation
Alyssums are thermophilic plants that during the period of active growth feel better at temperatures above 18 degrees Celsius. They are not afraid of heat, but the more stable and softer the temperature, the longer alissums will bloom.
Room temperatures are more suitable for alissums throughout the entire period of active growth, from the beginning of spring to the end of autumn. During the period of abundant flowering, it is best to lower the temperatures to 18 degrees and set alissums in the coolest place at home, if this is, of course, possible.
When the temperature rises to 25 degrees, an increase in air humidity is necessarily introduced into the care program. But all the same, high temperatures will affect the duration of flowering alissums.
If they want to give the bushes a try to bloom again next year, they should arrange for them as cool a winter as possible. Alissums are well preserved at a temperature of about 5 degrees. The maximum allowable wintering rates are 10 degrees.
Even if the plant does not grow actively and loses its decorativeness, spring shoots can be used to quickly root a new generation of indoor alissums. Despite the fact that alissums are able to withstand negative temperatures, indoor plants should not be subjected to such stress.
Alyssums are one of the plants that do not like disturbances in the free circulation of air around the bushes. It is better to expose the plants at a certain distance from the walls and other crops, so that the air evenly penetrates around the perimeter of the bushes.
Alyssums adore airing and grow very poorly without it, but strong drafts with a temperature difference are also contraindicated for them. When setting out for the summer on the balcony or in the garden, it is better to take care of choosing a protected place.
Indoor alissums at any time can change their status and easily move to balconies, and even to open soil.
Care for alissum at home
Protecting alissums from waterlogging with fairly frequent irrigation is the main difficulty that can be encountered in growing alissums in a new format. They are very sensitive to lack of nutrients, and to overfeeding, extremely poorly react to the lack of scraps and sanitary cleaning.
Alyssum can be advised to those who like to constantly "communicate" with plants and surround them with care. It is better to grow them as a room culture only with the experience of transferring other pilots to the rooms.
Watering and humidity
Alissums in potted format require even more accurate watering than garden ones. They fully inherit their drought tolerance and will not suffer if the substrate dries completely for a short time. But they are vulnerable to waterlogging and dampness. Too plentiful, frequent watering, stagnation of water lead to the death of the plant.
When watering alissums, it is worth letting the substrate dry at least half. During flowering, watering can be changed by drying the soil in the upper layer. It is better not to allow stagnant water. Drought shortens flowering time. But the sluggish appearance of the shoots should not scare: usually after watering, the plant quickly restores turgor.
Alyssums in the summer quite actively use moisture reserves and may require daily watering. The degree of drying of the substrate should be checked more often.
At rest, if alissums are preserved as perennial plants, watering is slowly reduced, allowing the substrate to dry out almost completely and focusing on the temperature of the content.
For indoor alissum, only boiled, melt, rain or filtered water is suitable.
Watering for alissum should be done very carefully. Wet greens and shoots in indoor conditions will quickly lead to a loss of decorative plants.
Humidity is not important for alissums. But not when keeping them in the heat. In the summer months, you need to take care of additional water procedures, compensating for uncomfortable temperatures by misting, installing pallets and containers with moistened decorative materials. In the fall, winter and early spring, any wetting measures should not be taken.
Fertilizing and fertilizer composition
Despite its abundant flowering and dependence on soil quality, indoor alissum does not like too active dressing. For him, fertilizers are applied in liquid form, along with water for irrigation, in half concentration compared to the manufacturer's recommendations.
The optimal frequency of feeding - 1 time in 3 or 4 weeks. More active top dressing can be carried out at the beginning of flowering, more rare - before it begins and from the second half of summer.
Feeding for alissums is carried out only from the beginning of active growth until the end of flowering.
For alissums, universal full mineral fertilizers are suitable. In indoor conditions, organic fertilizers for the plant will only benefit. But you should choose high-quality preparations with controlled characteristics from the number of biological fertilizers and humus mixtures. During the flowering period, the composition of fertilizers can be replaced by starting to use fertilizers for beautifully flowering crops.
Trimming and forming alissum
Alyssums look the better the more regularly remove fading inflorescences. After all, a sloppy appearance with the effect of a continuous coating of lace flowers spoils the overall impression too much.
Pinching the tops of shoots at an early stage of development allows you to accelerate the thickening and growth of the plant. On alissum, you can spend several haircuts during the summer, especially if indoor plants bloom less profusely. They not only recover well, but also bloom quite quickly.
The standard trim level for this houseplant is 1/3 of the height. Removing damaged or drying out shoots, dry leaves allows you to maintain the bushes in a neat form. And the removal of the lateral, most spreading shoots around the perimeter of the bush stimulates more magnificent flowering of the bulk of the branches on the bushes.
If alissums are kept for the winter, the bushes are pruned more severely in the early spring, after transplanting, leaving short stumps or 1/3 of the height to stimulate their renewal.
Transplant, containers and substrate
The need for transplantation of alissums directly depends on the quality of their cultivation. If alissums are stored as perennials, then the plants are transplanted at the first sign of the beginning of growth in the spring, carefully transferring to new containers after pruning.
If the plants are kept for spring cuttings or will be replaced with new bushes, considering them as summer plants, then there is no need for transplanting and it is enough to observe the rules when planting seedlings and rooted cuttings in constant containers. One of the characteristics of alissums is that they tolerate the transplant well even with flowering ones, but only if they are carefully transshipped.
This garden-indoor plant is completely undemanding to the soil. It is enough to choose a universal, water- and breathable substrate, consisting of several components and necessarily including turf soil and sand.
Alyssums love perlite, vermiculite and other disintegrating additives, which are best to be added to any, even the highest quality substrate. The optimum pH for alissum is from 5.5 to 6.5.
Alyssums can be grown in automatic irrigation systems or with the addition of a hydrogel to create stable moisture. For hydroponics, they are not too suitable. But the rest demonstrate amazing adaptability to alternative methods of cultivation.
Alyssums do not really like deep containers, preferring to grow in well-drained containers with a width exceeding the height.A very high layer of drainage is laid at the bottom of the tanks, mainly from pebbles, shards, gravel or large expanded clay.
When transplanting alissums, it is important to ensure that the previous level of penetration is maintained. The plant does not like dropping shoots and can quickly die from rot during inaccurate watering. It is advisable not to destroy the earthen lump during transplantation and keep it intact. Otherwise, there are no tricks in planting a plant. It is enough to take care of high-quality irrigation and maintenance in "average" conditions after planting and transplanting.
Diseases, pests and problems in growing alissum
Alyssums are far from always easy to grow in rooms. At the slightest violation of stable humidity, the plant can lose buds, and the wrong selection of top dressings leads to excessive build-up of green mass or to too sloppy appearance and poor growth of pillows.
Alyssums very often suffer from rot, which threaten them not only with improper watering, but also with inaccurate watering and water getting on the stems. They can become infected with powdery mildew, rust, leaf mosaic, and late blight, especially when kept outdoors.
In case of rot damage, you can try to save the bushes with the help of a quick correction of conditions and the use of fungicides. In other cases, it is easier to replace the bushes with new plants than to fight diseases.
Pests in this culture in the room format are extremely rare. Indoor alissums are the favorites of mealybugs. But insect problems are threatened by plants only in infected collections when they are adjacent to already diseased plants.
This is one of the easiest plants to breed. Alissums are propagated by seed, do not require any tricks, standard sowing is quite suitable for them. The ease of germination can be judged by the fact that alissums very often give self-seeding in open soil.
Sowing alissum seeds is best done together with the first year-olds - in the third decade of February or the first decade of March, if possible, to organize constant illumination - in January.
Sowing is carried out in medium-sized and shallow containers with drainage holes, scattering seeds as little as possible. The soil should be nutritious and loose. It is pre-moistened by scattering seeds on a flat surface and covering them with only a few millimeters of substrate or sand.
Under a film or glass, in good lighting and at a stable temperature above 20 degrees, seedlings appear very quickly. Dive is carried out on several seedlings in one pot, after the release of the 4th – 5th leaf. The sooner the bushes begin to form, the better. Simple pinching allows plants to quickly create dense cushions.
Alyssums can be propagated vegetatively. If the bushes persist until spring, then young shoots can be used for cuttings. Plants will develop very quickly and create beautiful pillows earlier than competitors grown from seeds.
The rooting of alissum cuttings can be carried out in water, sand or substrate, without a cap. Plants are also planted several in a single container, observing the general rules of transplantation.