Why Sweet Alyssum Pairs So Nicely With Hibiscus In The Garden

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Why Sweet Alyssum Pairs So Nicely With Hibiscus In The Garden

Companion planting is a simple and efficient way to make the most out of the available space and soil conditions in your garden. By grouping plants with similar needs and complementary traits, you can reduce pests and weed growth, attract more pollinators, and enhance the beauty of your garden. A great example of companion planting is the combination of perennial hibiscus and sweet alyssum.

Both sweet alyssum and hibiscus come in large varieties that can spread up to four feet. While hibiscus has larger, showier flowers, they give off little to no fragrance. On the other hand, sweet alyssum produces simple flowers with a sweet and fragrant aroma. Together, hibiscus can provide the visual interest that sweet alyssum lacks, while sweet alyssum can make up for the pleasant scent that hibiscus lacks. Use this guide to learn how to grow these two flowers together and maximize the strengths of each.

How to plant hibiscus and sweet alyssum together

Sweet alyssum

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When it comes to growing conditions, hibiscus and sweet alyssum agree on most aspects. Both plants prefer moist soil with good drainage. Both flowers can survive in partial shade but prefer full sunlight. Once you’ve located a sunny area to plant your hibiscus and alyssum seedlings in, be prepared to wait. While both plants should be planted well before the heat of summer sets in, both will take their time to bloom (especially hibiscus).

Once your hibiscus and sweet alyssum flowers do emerge, they will last until late into the season when fall frost becomes a guarantee. Sweet alyssum’s low profile and tendency to spread makes it a wonderful groundcover for hibiscus, basically serving as a fragrant, attractive mulch that will help retain heat and moisture while suppressing the growth of weeds. Consider planting a variety of white and cream hibiscus and sweet alyssum flowers to complement each other in a clean, bright, and sophisticated arrangement.

How to care for hibiscus and sweet alyssum together

Woman waters flowers

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Since hibiscus and sweet alyssum prefer very similar growing conditions, caring for the two of them together is rather simple. Once they have been planted in an ideal area, it all comes down to watering, feeding, and pruning. Hibiscus does enjoy receiving a bit more water than drought-resistant plants like sweet alyssum, so you may need to remind yourself to only meet its minimum water needs to prevent overwatering your sweet alyssum. This will likely mean watering just once each week when the plants are fully established.

Both hibiscus and sweet alyssum will need to be fed an extended-release fertilizer each spring. Each plant will also benefit from semi-aggressive pruning. For hibiscus, this means removing the tips of each branch to encourage fuller growth. For sweet alyssum, pruning comes in the form of deadheading consistently to make way for more flowers. All in all, these two make nearly perfect companion plants that will have your garden the talk of the town in no time.

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Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.