Friday, March 25, 2011


ALLIUMS, or ORNAMENTAL ONIONS, produce starry or bell-like flowers in clusters, called umbels, on the top of hollow, leafless stalks.  They are one of the first bulbs to start producing their lush foliage.  The leaves are grassy, or strap-like, and if you get up close and smell them, they smell like an onion. Alliums comprise anywhere from 400 to 700 species, that bloom at various times of the season.  In this post I'm talking about the Spring- to early-summer alliums.  The 'giganteum' allium has big, wide, strap-like, bright green leaves.  It flowers with a huge 5-7" ball of purple starry flowers.  It can grow as tall as 3-5 feet.  The bulbs are very expensive, and I've heard, although I haven't experienced this yet, they can be short-lived in the garden.  I've had mine for 5 years with no problems--so we'll have to see.  Other Alliums I have that are nice are Purple Sensation, White Jade Eyes, and Blue Persian, and these are more long-lived.  If they become too crowded, divide them after they are through blooming.  Leave their yellowing foliage--it's what feeds the bulbs for next year's blooms.  I've planted my alliums among iris,  daylilies, peonies, and poppies.  (These perennials will hide the yellowing folliage later on in the season).  Another big plus for Alliums is that their blooms are very long-lasting in the garden, and they are very wonderful to use in floral 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.


  1. This is my first year having giant allium (their leaves taken so much space!) and 2nd year for the purple sensation and jade eyes. Do the giant allium come back every year the same size or it will be smaller? The ones I have for the 2nd year look so much more crowded than last year. How often do you devide them?

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  3. I divide mine frequently--sometimes every year. You're right--their foliage takes up so much room--and it starts looking yellowed early--even when the plant hasn't even bloomed fully. I "prune" the foliage--meaning I pull out all the little blades that will take years to get big--they increased so rapidly--but not all those will be big--in fact, sometimes they won't even develop a stalk for the flower. I also try to plant them where all that yellowing foliage can be hidden--it's so unsightly. The blooms won't get smaller unless you let all those little bulbs grow-- After the foliage has completely yellowed and you can remove them, I remove all those little bulblets. I've seen bulbs as large as a baseball.

    1. Good to know they don't become smaller!You don't think if you put the bulblets somewhere else it will grow bigger? What plants you use to hide the yellow leaves? I planted right on the edge to my drive way, not knowing its foliage will go yellow. I might need to replant them and put some other plants around them as you said. Let me know if you have some good suggestions:-)