Tips for Growing Alliums

Alliums—also known as ornamental onions—are often overlooked as a garden plant, but can make a dramatic statement when you plant them in your yard. Try out one of these varieties for a unique flower that will return year after year.

The allium, a member of the onion family, is an unmistakable perennial with large, spherical flowers. Despite its showy blooms and easy care, alliums are often underutilized. Here's how to grow these beautiful bulbs in your garden, along with several varieties to know.

See more about allium.

Growing Tips

Allium
Allium bulbs resemble onions.

Plant allium bulbs in the fall as you would any other bulb. Don't be alarmed when they don't bloom right away: They're early summer-flowering plants. Alliums should be planted in part to full sun in well-draining soil. Allow foliage to die down before trimming. These plants usually naturalize easily and will return bigger and more vibrant each year. The allium is hardy, too–deer resistant and tolerant to drought.  

Types of Allium

Allium 'Purple Sensation'
Allium aflatunense ‘Purple Sensation’

Alliums come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from tiny 1-inch round heads to flowers nearly 1 foot across and varying heights up to 6 feet tall. Colors include shades of blue, pink, purple, white, and yellow. Allium giganteum,  'Globemaster' and Allium aflatunense  'Purple Sensation' are popular varieties for their large flowers.

More notable varieties of eye-catching allium include:

  • Allium senescens subsp. montanum var. glaucum : Perfect for rock gardens and borders.
  • Allium moly : Produces bunches of bright, star-shaped yellow blooms.
  • Allium rosenbachianum : Offers 4-inch-wide globes of purple flowers.
  • Allium 'Mount Everest': Bears tennis-ball sized clusters of white petals.

Uses for Allium

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This bouquet uses fresh-cut garden flowers, including alliums.

Alliums make excellent cut flowers that last up to two weeks. Rather than deadheading this bulb, many choose to leave the dried flower standing for visual interest. You can also use them in a dried arrangement or spray paint the seed heads to display as garden ornaments.

See more flower arranging tips.

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