Awesome Allium Combos

Plant Combinations, Flowerbeds Ideas, Spring Borders, Summer Borders

  • Allium combinations, Allium companions, Allium planting Companions, Plant Alliums with, Allium planting combinations

Over the past ten years, the number of Allium varieties has exploded. Where a decade ago only ten varieties dominated the ornamental onion scene, today there are more than a score. It’s enough to bring tears to your eyes. Distant cousins of garlics, Alliums are sometimes called ornamental garlic or flowering onion. While these names convey the Allium’s bulbous nature and slightly strong scent, they fall short in communicating the exuberant good looks of this sexy, sophisticated plant group.

Following are some inspired Allium and perennial combinations, some of them created by Dutch master landscape artist and designer Piet Oudolf. His plant combinations demonstrate his skill in selecting season-spanning plant partnerships that bring ebbs and flows of interest to the garden over long seasons. His forte is selecting individually-interesting plants that, when planted together, create exquisite combinations that surprise and delight via their interplay of foliage, form and flower color, with height, texture, movement, bloom and after-bloom aspects taken into account.

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Allium and Salvia (Sage)

Round-headed leek (Allium sphaerocephalon), feather grass (Stipa barbata) and Russian sage (Perovskia abrotanoides)Allium sphaerocephalon (Drumstick Allium), Stipa barbata (Feather Grass), Perovskia abrotanoides (Russian sage)
  • Planted in loose clusters of five, seven or more (Alliums are truly a case where more is more!), Alliums add drama to the garden all season, first with exotic flowers in May, June and July and, in many cases, later with interesting dried seed heads.
  • Alliums thrive in sandy, even rocky, soil where they receive full or partial sun. Spaced generously, Alliums will naturalize and multiply in compatible climate zones (most varieties are hardy in USDA zones 5 – 8, others in zones 3 - 7).
  • Best known are the taller Alliums with their long, sturdy stems 2-3 ft. tall (60–90 cm) and signature dense purple puffball flower umbels. Their ball-shaped flower heads come in a range of sizes: essentially large, larger and enormous (or, to better visualize using sporting imagery, think ping-pong ball, softball and nearly-soccer!). Popping up from flowerbeds like so many out-stretched ostrich necks, the taller Alliums excel in the garden as elegant vertical accents with architectural interest. These are the Alliums florists are fond of.
Allium Lucy Ball, Penstemon Digitalis, Chanticleer garden

Allium, Penstemon digitalis (Beardtongue)

allium, camassia Blue Danube

Allium, Camassia leichtinii (Quamash)

  • There are also dozens of lesser-known, more subtle Alliums. These low-growing Alliums reach only 8-14 in. (20-35 cm) and have widely varied forms and flowers. Where purplish shades dominate among the high-flyers, the low growers sport flowers of white, yellow, pink, lavender or ivory with green.
  • Fall is the time to plant Alliums and the season to pick the perennial partners to play up and play off the attributes of each in the garden next summer.
Allium combinations, Allium companions, Allium planting Companions, Plant Alliums with, Allium planting combinations

Allium, Aquilegia (Columbine)

Allium combinations, Allium companions, Allium planting Companions, Plant Alliums with, Allium planting combinations

Allium, Papaver (Poppy)

Allium combinations, Allium companions, Allium planting Companions, Plant Alliums with, Allium planting combinations

Allium, Geranium phaeum (Dusky Cranesbill)

Outstanding Perennial Partners for Alliums


Photos: Botanik Foto, Chanticleer Garden

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.

Guide Information

Plant TypeBulbs
Plant FamilyAlliums

Compare All Alliums

Great Plant Combination Ideas with Alliums

Guides with Alliums


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