Wednesday, September 8, 2010


ALLIUMS are ornamental onions, related to onions, garlic, leeks, and shallots.  You can even smell their oniony aroma when close by, or when their foliage is bruised.  They produce small, starry or bell-like flowers in clusters, called UMBELLS, on top of hollow, unbranched stems.  The clusters can be round and very dense, or loose and graceful.  They can be anywhere from little 1-inch little pompoms, up to huge 7-inch balls.  I have them in white, true blue and shades of purple.  Their foliage emerges early spring--grassy straplike leaves.  Their leaves die back either just before or right after they bloom, which can leave an empty space when you cut them back, so keep this in mind and make sure you have other plants that can fill in their space, or cover up the yellowing leaves.  They grow from bulbs, planted at a depth of about three times the diameter of the bulb.  Plant them pointed end up, like a tulip bulb.  For ones that don't spread, I think they look best planted in clumps, planted close together.  They are very easy to care for--just be patient in cutting back the yellowing foliage too soon, as this provides food for the bulb's next year growth. (This is hard to do, thus, the importance of having another plant, like irises, daylilies, lavenders, pinks, lamb's ears, peonies, and various ground covers that can grow up to hide the yellowing leaves).  If they become crowded, you can easily just dig up the bulbs and plant them around in different areas.  You can do this in spring or fall, anytime after they have flowered, in full sun or part sun.  They grow anywhere from 12' tall, to some of the big ones, that will reach 3-5 feet--my purple Giant Gladiator is 4 feet tall.  I especially like my smaller Persian Blue, and Azure alliums, and my flat head white Jade Eyes.   ALLIUMS are  fun perennials to have--easy-to-grow, pest free, and they add a real personality to your beds.  I also like to use them in arrangements, their vase life is long, and the onion smell does go away after a day when using them in arrangements. 
Susanne Holland Spicker Mother, Grandmother, Homemaker, Gardener, Teacher, Photographer

Passion is defined as the love of, or the object(s) of affection and emotion. I am passionate about family, friends, flowers, food, photography and fabulous music! This blog is dedicated to those loves.

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