No matter how many green companions you have, there will always be room for another charming ornamental in your plant family. Aurinia Saxatilis, commonly known as Basket-of-Gold makes a great addition to any plant collection. Keep reading if you want to become more familiar with your future companion – Aurinia saxatilis a.k.a. Basket-of-Gold.
Aurinia saxatilis (syn. Alyssum saxatile) is an attractive, yellow-blooming species of flowering plants in the Brassicaceae family. This ornamental flower is native to several areas of Asia and Europe. It thrives in meadows, fields, or rocky and mountainous habitats.
Prized for their hypnotic clusters and easy-going style, Basket-of-Gold plants have gained a special place in the hearts of many gardeners worldwide. And if you think that these flowers are the only member of their gang, you could not be further from the truth!
Basket-of-Gold plants come with slightly different cultivars to choose from, varying mostly in size, flower tints, or foliage colour and texture. Some of these varieties are ‘Citrinum’, ‘Compactum’, ‘Dudley Nevill Variegated’, and ‘Gold Dust’.
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About Basket-of-Gold Plants
- In cultivation, Aurinia saxatilis goes by many common names including Basket-of-Gold, Yellow alyssum, Gold Dust, Goldentuft, Madwort, Golden alyssum, or Rock madwort. Some of these names reflect its resemblance to the Alyssum species.
- Due to their showy and abundant clusters of yellow blossoms, Aurinia saxatilis plants won the prestigious Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society.
- Basket-of-Gold plants are very versatile, making for great landscape decoration additions to both indoor and outdoor settings. They look absolutely gorgeous in rock gardens, cottage gardens, edging garden beds, mass planting, border fronts, large containers, and also as ground covers.
- Their flowers contain large amounts of nectar, being a significant source of nutrients for beneficial insects. In general, bees and some Lepidoptera species such as butterflies and moths pollinate them. Likewise, these plants are a popular attraction for wildlife.
- Aurinia saxatilis plants have no toxic effects on people or animals if touched or consumed. You can grow these buddies wherever you want without worrying about the safety of your curious kids or furry friends.
- Basket-of-Gold plants will best show all their splendour as companions for other charming species of flowering plants. The most common companions are Bleeding Heart, Creeping Phlox, Evergreen Candytuft, Grape Hyacinth, Heartleaf Bergenia, Red Valerian, Rock Cress, Star of Bethlehem, and Tulipa ‘Bright Gem’.
Basket-of-Gold Plants Features: An Overviegarden beds
- These ornamentals belong to the Aurinia genus that contains exactly 10 accepted species of flowering plants. They are the representative species of this small genus.
- Basket-of-Gold plants are herbaceous and evergreen flowering perennials. These low-growing, spreading species can reach about 4 to 12 inches (10-41 cm) in height and 12 to 20 inches (31-51 cm) in width.
- These plants have woody roots. Their mat-forming foliage consists of spatulate basal leaves of up to 5 inches (13 cm) in length and smaller, linear-oblanceolate upper leaves that appear on tall, slender, greenish stems.
- The leaves come in vibrant shades of grey-green and may also feature hairs on some cultivars. They provide both summer and autumn interest when the flowers are no longer present to attract all eyes.
- During their blooming period, from mid-spring through early summer, Yellow alyssum plants produce masses of abundant clusters of tiny, shiny, bright golden-yellow flowers. Their blossoms can last between 4 and 6 weeks.
- Once their flowering season has come to an end, Basket-of-Gold plants replace their blooms with fruits. They bear dry fruits of 0.1 to 0.35 inches (2.5-9 mm) in length that split open when ripe. These plants may self-seed and become invasive pretty easily.
Growing Basket-of-Gold Plants
If you dream about having that iconic eye-catching abundance of flowers, you should pay a little attention to how much light your Basket-of-Gold plants receive. As a general rule, these plants will exhibit the best blooming out there under full sunlight exposure.
However, they can also withstand some partial shade to full shade sometimes, especially in hot climates. In case you live in a region with harsh summers, provide your plants with some shade in the afternoon.
Yellow alyssum flowers are typically hardy in the USDA zones 3 to 7. Although these stunning plants have some tolerance to cold temperatures, they will not appreciate hot and humid weather. In southern regions, most gardeners prefer to grow these plants as annuals to avoid stressing them over the long term.
When it comes to pests and fungal diseases, Basket-of-Gold plants are very resistant to most problems and do not fall prey too easily. But! Even if you are growing your plants in proper environmental conditions, some pests like aphids may still bother them once in a while.
These intruders usually show their presence on the foliage of your plants and, in severe cases, they eat small parts of the leaves and stems. If you notice any suspect sign, you must handpick the aphids and apply neem oil on the foliage until the last sign of infestation has passed.
Planting Basket-of-Gold Plants
If you live in a cooler area, the ideal time to plant your Basket-of-Gold species is in spring once the last danger of frost has passed away. Planting your flowers at this exact moment will help them settle in their new home faster and easier.
In regions with warm weather, especially during the winter months, you can plant the new specimens in spring or in autumn for optimal results.
In terms of soils, Basket-of-Gold plants can grow just fine in various types as long as they come with very good drainage. These flowers will thrive in average to sandy soils, but they can also tolerate shallow or rocky substrates.
Make sure you avoid heavy clay or other similar growing mediums to protect your plants from soggy conditions and prevent root rot.
Unless you are growing your Basket-of-Gold plants in very poor soil, they will not require supplemental fertilizers to perform well. In fact, too much fertilizing will cause your plants to grow somewhat untidy and also produce fewer flowers. But you can provide your plants, if they grow in poor soil, with compost or a low-dose organic fertilizer once every year in autumn.
As time goes by, your Yellow alyssum flowers may start to grow a bit chaotic, resulting in overall leggy specimens. You can help your plants to look neat again by cutting them back by one-third to one-half once their flowering period has ended. This process will not only revigorate your buddies, but it will also promote healthy reblooming.
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- Cycle: Perennial
- Light Requirements: Full Sun
- Plant Height: 8"-12"
- Plant Spacing: 18 - 24"
- Season: Perennial
- Height: 6-12 Inches
- Bloom Season: Spring/Summer
- Environment: Sun/Partial Shade
- Soil Type: Moist well-drained, pH 5.6-7.5
Watering Basket-of-Gold Plants
One of the most common issues while growing and caring for Basket-of-Gold plants is usually over-watering. Because these flowers do well in dry soil and do not need frequent watering to thrive, it is best to resist the temptation of spoiling them with too many drinks. They are fairly tolerant of drought for prolonged periods, so you will have to intervene only if you live in a region with few to no rainfalls.
However, your new and young Basket-of-Gold specimens will ask for more water than mature, established ones. But once these plants have settled in their new home, their watering routine will be nothing but a piece of cake.
No matter how old your plants are, it is always wise to check their soil in-between waterings. When the growing medium has dried out entirely, your Basket-of-Gold flowers are more than ready to receive a nice touch of water.
Propagating Basket-of-Gold Plants
In general, Basket-of-Gold plants will naturally self-seed and propagate by themselves with no extra effort on your part. But since you probably want to keep this process under control, you can collect the seeds yourself and sow them wherever you feel like it.
Their seeds will germinate better if you collect them in autumn, then sow them in pots in a cold frame. Make sure you provide the seeds with lots of light and regular watering to maintain the soil constantly damp. With proper care, you will have many new, healthy, and cute Basket-of-Gold seedlings until next spring.
Another effective method to make more of these fabulous flowers is to divide them in the fall. Once your Yellow alyssum plants have ended their blooming season, you can dig them out of the soil and do your thing. Divide their roots into two or three parts, then replant each section into its permanent location.
Because everything is better when shared with others, why not surprising your family members or friends with some Basket-of-Gold babies? Especially when they are looking so adorable! If you successfully propagate your plants, do not forget to transplant some of them in pots and gift them to your loved ones!
Give Aurinia saxatilis a.k.a. Basket-of-Gold a chance and you will not encounter any problems along the way! All you have to do for these superb flowers is to provide them with proper lighting conditions and temperatures, well-draining soils, and a bit of water every now and then. And if you pay attention to the right details, these low-demanding plants will reward you with lovely, golden-yellow blossoms every spring.
Are you growing Basket-of-Gold in your garden? Share your experience in the comment section!