The Alpine Alyssum (Alyssum Serpyllifolium) Care Guide


The Alpine Alyssum, otherwise known as the Alyssum Serpyllifolium or Canadian Serviceberry, Canadian Service-berry, Serviceberry, Juneberry, Grape Pear, Shadblow, Shadbush, Junebush, Amelanchier botryapium, Amelanchier intermedia, Amelanchier oblongifolia, is a somewhat well known shrub plant native to the Northeast, and the Southeast of the United States.

Best known for its low maintenance and moderate growth, this shrub will likely liven up your house (or garden) with its gray-green colored leaves. But, only if you learn how to take proper care of it for it to thrive.

Fortunately, taking care of your Alpine Alyssum is not too difficult – as long as you follow our guidelines in this Alpine Alyssum Care Guide. Now let’s get started.

The basic care guidelines you need to remember for your Alpine Alyssum are the following:

  • Water: The Alpine Alyssum needs evenly spread moist soil – try to avoid letting the soil dry out.
  • Light: Keep your Alyssum Serpyllifolium in an environment where it can receive partial to full sun on a daily basis. 
  • Soil: Make sure to keep the Alpine Alyssum in soil with moist but well-draining to well draining properties, so ideally, one that is made of sand, loam, and clay.

And as with many other plants, these are the only three care factors you need to remember to make sure your Alpine Alyssum is, for the most part, healthy and well to survive.

Alyssum serpyllifolium plant

Scientific / Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the Alpine Alyssum belongs to the Rosaceae family, the genus Amelanchier and the species Canadensis, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Alyssum Serpyllifolium (al-ISS-um ser-pil-ly-FOH-lee-um).

As with other Amelanchier’s, the Alpine Alyssum is a herbaceous plant, which means it will die back to the ground every year. 

Growing Region

The Alpine Alyssum is a plant native to the Eastern North America. This is why the Alyssum Serpyllifolium is used to growing in specific regions such as the states in Northeast, and the Southeast of the United States.

Knowing your plant’s native region is very useful, as it can give you tips on which environment is best for your Alpine Alyssum. If you keep it in mind, you can try to replicate these conditions at home, and you’ll likely end with a healthier plant.

With this in mind, the Alyssum Serpyllifolium will be most used to the heat zones in the 1 – 7 region, as the plant hardiness level falls between 3a, 3b, 4b, 4a, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7b, 7a, 8a and the ideal climate zone is between 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6.

Growth and Size

Growth

In terms of size and growth, the Alpine Alyssum is a relatively moderate grower, which makes things somewhat easy for any plant enthusiast.

Size

But, what size of Alpine Alyssum are we talking about? What can you expect in terms of height, spread and spacing? Let’s dig in…

The Alyssum Serpyllifolium can grow up to 25′ – 30′ (7.5m – 9m) in 25′ – 30′ (7.5m – 9m) and 15′ – 20′ (4.5m – 6m) in 15′ – 20′ (4.5m – 6m). 

These dimensions make the Alpine Alyssum a relatively large shrub compared to others, so it’s best to keep this fact in mind since it will affect where you want to keep yours at home.

This is why experts recommend keeping an area of approximately 180″ – 240″ (450cm – 600cm) free so the Alpine Alyssum can spread to its best extent.

Water

In terms of watering, the Alpine Alyssum is a fairly complicated plant to take care of.

This is mostly because it has a not so straightforward watering schedule and somewhat irregular watering needs.

Specifically, most experts agree that the Alyssum Serpyllifolium needs evenly spread moist soil – try to avoid letting the soil dry out.

Which is why it is considered a plant with relatively average needs in terms of water. 

Alyssum serpyllifolium care

Watering

As a rule of thumb, you should remember to keep your Alpine Alyssum in soil with moist but well-draining to well draining characteristics, as these will guarantee the right conditions for your plant to grow and thrive. 

When you consider this, this is why you should aim to choose soil that has good drainage, moist, and occasionally wet properties to keep the right moisture levels at all times. 

However, in our experience, the best solution to knowing the right amount of water for your Alpine Alyssum is with the ‘thumb’ technique. Basically, you insert your finger into the soil, and based if you feel the soil moist or dry, you determine if it needs any water, which is the most appropriate way to go about watering your leafy friend.

Soil Mix

As mentioned earlier, the Alpine Alyssum prefers to have soil with good drainage, moist, and occasionally wet properties at all times, reason why you need to make the soil mix out of sand, loam, and clay.

This is why most experts agree that the Alpine Alyssum requires soil with clay, loam (silt), and sand, which will give you the right conditions it needs.

In addition to this, expert gardeners recommend having preferably neutral to acid soil.

Light and Exposure

In terms of light & exposure, the Alpine Alyssum requires partial to full sun in order for it to thrive under the right conditions. 

Most experts agree that this shrub will do well as long as you keep it in partial to full sun, and it will be able to grow properly.

Specifically, we recommend that you place your Alyssum Serpyllifolium in from little to partial shade (only 2-6 hours of direct sunlight a day), to dappled or moderate shade (under other plant’s canopy), to full and direct sun (more than 6 hours of direct sunlight per day).

Season

Being a herbaceous plant, the Alpine Alyssum will die back to the ground every year. 

But, you can expect it to have its ‘prime-time’ during the spring (mid, late), the summer (early, mid, late), the fall, and during the winter.

Flowers

You can expect your Alpine Alyssum to flower around the spring months from April to June (spring).

In particular, this shrub is well known for its showy flowers around the plant enthusiast community.

The Alpine Alyssum produces some beautiful yellow, or pink and white flowers around this time of year.

Foliage

The leaves from the Alpine Alyssum have a beautiful gray-green color during most of the year.

In particular, they have a simple arrangement with a alternate organization in its leaves.

You can expect the leaves from your Alyssum Serpyllifolium to be around (1-3 inches) in size.

Alyssum serpyllifolium and bees

Attracts, Tolerance and Resistance

The Alpine Alyssum is well known for being able to attract birds, so keep that in mind when choosing your plant, as you’ll likely end up finding one or another in your garden.

Additionally, it has a special tolerance for clay soil, so don’t worry if any of these come along, your Alyssum Serpyllifolium will be fine.

Garden

How should you then organize your garden to include your new Alpine Alyssum? Here are some recommendations by expert gardeners.

Other owners consider that they complement well most gardens of informal and cottage, city and courtyard, and in prairie and meadow styles. 

In particular, the Alpine Alyssum’s best location within your garden is in hedges and screens, banks and slopes, and in ponds and streams, others use it for landscaping in a mass planting, border, container, or a rock garden.

Conclusion

So that’s it! These are the main plant care requirements that you need to keep in mind in order to have a healthy Alpine Alyssum in your garden or home.

Sebastian Moncada

I’m also a plant enthusiast and researcher. I’ve been privileged to have lived my whole life around the wilderness of Colombia and I’m happy to share everything I learn along the way. “Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience” – Emerson.

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