Aurinia saxatilis [aw-RIN-ee-uh sacks-AT-ih-liss], nicknamed Basket-of-Gold for its beautiful yellow blooms, is an evergreen perennial plant from the Brassicaceae family and native to Asia and Europe.
This species is a synonym of the Alyssum Saxatile [al-ISS-um, saks-A-til-ee] plant and considered one of the most robust flowering plants.
Its native habitat is rocky and mountainous, making it ideal for rock gardens and sloping grounds.
Either way, the flowers add a beautiful touch of brightness.
This brightness has been dubbed a number of common names, including the following:
- Goldentuft Alyssum
- Golden Alyssum
- Golden Alison
- Golden-Tuft Madwort
- Rock Madwort
Basket of Gold Care
Size & Growth
The plant is a relatively fast grower and under the right growing conditions, it can reach its full maturity within 2 to 5 years.
This evergreen perennial may reach a height of 4” – 12” inches and have a mound up to 16” – 20” inches across.
The growth consists of a woody base with simple and small green-grey leaves, which get surrounded by a plethora of yellow flowers in the springtime.
Flowering and Fragrance
An abundance of bright yellow flowers is what gives Aurinia saxatilis plants the name Basket of Gold.
Around mid to late spring, the plant starts sprouting yellow flowers, which cover a large area, hiding the green foliage.
The plant blooms racemes or panicles of small yellow or white flowers.
Each flower has four petals, which stay on display for at least 4 to 6 weeks in spring.
Light & Temperature
Basket-of-Gold plants are hardy to USDA Zones 4 through 10.
They can sustain different climates and weather conditions without any implications and still look just as pleasing to the eye.
However, when it gets too hot, some afternoon shade is much appreciated.
Otherwise, the plant loves locations where the sun shines for at least 6 hours during the daytime.
Watering and Feeding
The plant is drought-tolerant and prefers soils on the dry side. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t regularly water the plants.
You just have to make sure you space the watering, so the roots are not drowning in water and moisture.
One of the many good things about the plant includes its virtually indestructible nature.
It can survive in soils with poor fertility, which makes feeding is not necessary.
If you still want to feed the plant, add some complete plant food in early spring. Even though this is not essential, it will give it a boost.
Soil & Transplanting
When it comes to soil, the Basket of Gold prefers average to sandy soil mixtures.
Very heavy soils like clay don’t sit well with the plant and tend to interfere with its growth.
Also, make sure the soil is well-draining. This is crucial as poorly-drained soils stay moist for long periods, which leads to root rot.
When you’re transplanting the plant, make sure the soil is on the dry side.
Space the seedlings or cuttings about 4” inches apart to allow the roots to develop.
This will also encourage a healthy spread of the plant in your gardens.
Grooming and Maintenance
The plant is quite low maintenance, especially when it comes to grooming.
If you don’t mind the carpet-like spread of the plant, you don’t need to shear it.
So you’ll only need to shear if you prefer a more neat and tidy appearance.
If you’re planning on collecting the seeds or want the plant to self-seed, cut back the foliage.
Take to the shears to give the plant some shape and make your garden more aesthetically pleasing.
How to Propagate Alyssum Saxatile
Basket of Gold is propagated in two ways i.e., softwood cutting and with seeds.
The plant is readily propagated by seeds sown in the fall.
- Collect the seeds and sow them in individual pots in a cold frame.
- Once the seeds have germinated and sprouted a few strong shoots, transplant them into their permanent locations.
- Provide the best care for them to allow for roots to establish.
Softwood cuttings should be rooted in the spring.
Place the cuttings directly in soil and keep the soil moist.
Aurinia Saxatilis Pest or Diseases
Fortunately, this beautiful plant is mostly without any serious pest or disease problems.
There might be an occasional aphid attack, but it is dealt with easily.
The easiest way to take care of aphids is by mixing a few tablespoons of dish soap or insecticidal soap in a pint of water and spraying it on the plant.
If this doesn’t work, head to your local gardening center to find a more robust solution.
Other than the above, overwatering is the only other issue.
Potted plants and soil with poor drainage can lead to the plants rotting and dying off.
Basket of Gold Uses
The abundance of bright yellow flowers is hard to ignore when planted in gardens. Staying true to its name, the plant creates a spectacular sea of gold and yellow.
It is often planted in flower borders, garden borders, and garden edging.
Basket of gold also looks incredible when used as ground cover, around banks, slopes, rock gardens, and informal gardens around cottages and bungalows.
The striking yellow flowers of the plant are rich with nectar attracting pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, making it the perfect addition to a pollinator garden.