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.