Alphabetical Plant Listing

Alliums (Ornamental Onions)

Ornamental Onion (Allium)


Alliums are plants of exquisite beauty that deserve a place in perennial gardens. Easy to grow and undemanding, these very ornamental bulbs distinguish themselves by their great diversity in color, inflorescence, flowering height and bloom times. Many species bloom in early summer - just after the spring-flowering period and just before the exuberant full bloom of summer.

  • Several hundreds of Allium species exist, but only a modest few have made a name for themselves as garden plants. The name Allium comes from the ancient Romans and means ’onion’ or ’leek’. This name was taken over by Linnaeus for the entire genus. Ancient books mention the fact that onions were already being cultivated 8000 years before Christ, so this adds up to a period of about 10,000 years! 
  • Alliums create a transition bridging the flowering periods of the real spring-flowering bulbs with that of the summer flowering bulbs. What’s more, the earliest-flowering alliums can be combined with tulips, hyacinths and narcissi, while the ones flowering latest can be planted with gladioli and dahlias. These later-flowering alliums are therefore quite useful for combining with the frequently brightly-colored annual plants.
  • Alliums make excellent cut flowers for fresh or dried bouquets.
  • Alliums attract bees and butterflies but are relatively resistant to deer, chipmunks, and rabbits.
  • Alliums are virtually pest and disease free! There are no serious diseases or insect pests that bother them.
  • All Allium species will grow in most any soil, as long as it is well-drained. A sunny location is best for most species, but a few also grow beautifully in full or partial shade.
  • Alliums should be planted in the fall.

Guide Information

Hardiness 4 - 10
Heat Zones 1 - 9
Climate Zones 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Bulbs
Plant Family Alliums
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Late)
Summer (Early)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Dried Arrangements, Cut Flowers, Fragrant, Showy
Tolerance Deer, Drought, Rabbit
Attracts Butterflies
Landscaping Ideas Beds and Borders, Patio and Containers
Garden Styles Formal Garden, Informal and Cottage

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

Hardiness 4 - 10
Heat Zones 1 - 9
Climate Zones 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Bulbs
Plant Family Alliums
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Late)
Summer (Early)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Dried Arrangements, Cut Flowers, Fragrant, Showy
Tolerance Deer, Drought, Rabbit
Attracts Butterflies
Landscaping Ideas Beds and Borders, Patio and Containers
Garden Styles Formal Garden, Informal and Cottage
Not sure which Alliums to pick?
Compare All Alliums
Great Plant Combination
Ideas with Alliums
Guides with Alliums

Find your Hardiness Zone

Find your Climate Zone

Find your Heat Zone

Join Gardenia.net

Create a membership account to save your garden designs and to view them on any device.

Becoming a contributing member of Gardenia is easy and can be done in just a few minutes. If you provide us with your name, email address and the payment of a modest $25 annual membership fee, you will become a full member, enabling you to design and save up to 25 of your garden design ideas.

Join now and start creating your dream garden!

Create a New Collection

Optional. For your reference.


Move Selected Plants to a Different Collection


Delete Collection

This field is required.