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Alliums for Your Garden

Alliums, or ornamental onions, are one of most underused garden bulbs, but they're one of the most impactful. Here are some of the most popular varieties, and tips on growing allium bulbs for beautiful allium flowers.

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Ornamental onions or alliums are one of the most underused flowering bulbs. Despite the unmistakable drama they bring to gardens, many people still don't know about allium. Like most bulbs, you plant alliums in fall, but while most tulips and daffodils flower in spring, alliums don't bloom until early summer. Alliums range from petite varieties like this, to giant, showy, purple specimens like Allium giganteum, Globemaster and Purple Sensation. These large varieties are real attention getters. Plant alliums in part to full sun with good drainage and let the foliage die down on its own before trimming it off. Most kinds naturalize easily coming back each year bigger and more beautiful. It's customary to deadhead spring bulbs, but allium is one that you might want to make an exception for. The unique form of the flower heads stands out long after the color is gone, bringing eye-catching shapes to your garden. Allium blooms are outstanding cut flowers too, lasting up to 2 weeks in vase, finishing their bloom and forming seedpods before they finally fade. To add a little pizzazz to your garden, paint allium seed heads and use them as garden ornaments. Choose a color of your liking, spray, let dry, then place them anywhere you like.