Ornamental Allium bulbs are a part of the diverse genus with include both flowering types for the garden and the well known edible species, both types are available for sale online.
Although they sometime referred to as ‘ornamental onions’ it is more correct to call them ‘ornamental alliums’, all leeks, garlic and onions are alliums. But all Alliums are not onions.
The ornamental alliums smell a little like their cousins, however they are grown for the flowers, many are very colorful, and some of the flowers are large and imposing. The best varieties have stunning flowers, usually on very upright stems.
They fit well into the perennial border and have made many an appearance at flower shows, including the Chelsea Flower Show.
Grown in the garden border mainly for the long lasting flowers which appear in late spring to summer depending on zone and variety these wonderful bulbs vary greatly in both colour and plant size.
As these plants give off the traditional ‘garlic’ or ‘onion’ sulphur smell they also tend to deter rodents, even deer tend to shy away from then, however I would not call them ‘deer proof’.
Allium giganteum, allium ‘drumstick’ and allium ‘globemaster’ are two of the more popular ornamental allium bulbs for the garden or growing in containers.
These are an easy bulb in warmer zones and in colder areas you can still grow them but may need to give them some winter protection. Bulb size differs greatly so no set depth can be given.
The best time to plant alliums is in Fall, however in colder zones you could hold them back until early spring.
Plant the larger allium bulbs around 6 inches deep, smaller ones at around 2-3 inches. Most alliums require a well drained humus rich soil, a sunny position is best. To much moisture during dormancy can damage the bulbs.
- Plant in spring
- Water in with a liquid seaweed fertilizer
- Ensure a well drained soil
- Keep moist but not wet
- Keep frost free
Leave foliage to die back naturally so that energy is put into the bulbs for the next season. Deadhead flowers to prevent self seeding.
With many different species and cultivars we have provided a list of the best and most ‘Garden worthy varieties’.
Our TOP TEN ornamental alliums are :
- Allium sphaerocephalum is the well known ‘drumstick allium’ lovely red to purple flowers at around 1 inch in diameter.
- Allium aflatunense has pink flowers at around 3 inches while the smaller growing
- Allium ‘moly’ has lovely golden flowers, only around 8 inches tall.
- Allium caeruleum is a blue flowering species, reaching around 2ft in height, 2 inch heads and flowers in early summer.
- Allium Cristophii is another tall species reaching around 2 ft tall, starry pink round flowers. Very easy to grow.
- Allium karataviense is a species grown for the foliage as well as the flowwers. Broad green leaves with an attractive pink flower, low growing to around 1ft. One of our favorite varieties.
- Allium atropurpureum is another ‘Drumstick’ type, very deep maroon flowers give this one a little character. Easy care in a sunny position.
- The hybrid, ‘Mount Everest’ is a tall white flowering form that looks great when planted in a clump.
- Allium giganteum, a very tall large flowering variety that does not multiply as well as many others. In fact it is usually grown them from seed, however from seed to flower will take around 5 years.
- Allium ‘globemaster’
Most alliums are easy to grow from divisions, larger clumps of bulbs can be divided at the end of winter, or during the fall. Some are very slow to multiply and are often grown from seed.
If you are the patient type bulbs can also be grown from seed. However the hybrids may not come true from seed.
Allium bulbs are available for sale from the following nurseries
BALI-HAI MAIL ORDER NURSERY – phone: 00442828885289
42, Largy Road city: Carnlough, Ballymena
Co.Antrim postcode: BT44 0EZ
Agapanthus, Phormiums, Rhodohypoxis, Trilliums and many more cottage garden perennials shipping worldwide.
DIGGING DOG NURSERY – phone (707) 937-1130
PO Box 471 Albion CA 95410
A spectacular selection of hard to find perennials, ornamental grasses, shrubs, trees and vines for your garden. Includes: allium christophii, allium hollandicum, allium schubertii, allium sphaerocephalon