Ornamental Allium

FAMILY: Liliaceae | GENUS: ALLIUM

TYPE
  • Bulbs
  • Perennials
SUN EXPOSURE
  • Full Sun
  • Partial Shade
WATER
  • Regular Water

Plant Details

About 500 species, all from the Northern Hemisphere. Relatives of the edible onion, peerless as cut flowers (fresh or dried), useful in borders; smaller kinds are effective in rock gardens. Plants bear small flowers in clusters (umbels) atop leafless stems that range from 6 inches.5 feet tall or more. Umbels may be tightly or loosely arranged; some look like spheres, others like exploding fireworks. Bloom comes in spring or summer with flowers in white and shades of pink, rose, violet, red, blue, and yellow. Most ornamental alliums are hardy, sun loving, easy to grow; they thrive in deep, rich, sandy loam. Plant bulbs in fall. Lift and divide only after they become crowded.

Leaves of most alliums are narrow and upright, varying in form from grassy to strap shaped; they often begin to die back before flowering starts. Small flowers come in roundish, compact or loose clusters. Some are delightfully fragrant; those with onion odor must be bruised or cut to detect it. All alliums die to the ground after bloom, even in mild climates. Seldom browsed by deer.

allium aflatunense

  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • Blooms in late spring, bearing tennis ball-size clusters of lilac flowers on stems 2 5 feet tall.
  • Resembles Allium giganteum but with smaller flower clusters.
  • Purple Sensation has violet-purple blooms.

allium atropurpureum

  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • Stems to 2 feet tall carry 2 inches clusters of dark purple to nearly black flowers in late spring.

BLUE ALLIUM

allium caeruleum(Allium azureum)

  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • Cornflower blue flowers in dense, round, 2 inches clusters on 1- to 1 feet stems.
  • Late-spring bloom.

allium carinatum pulchellum

  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • Loose, pendent, 2 inches clusters of reddish purple flowers on 1- to 2 feet stems.
  • Blooms in summer.

allium cepa

  • See Onion

star of persia

allium christophii

  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • Distinctive.
  • Very large clusters (612 inches across) of starlike, lavender to deep lilac flowers with metallic sheen.
  • Late-spring bloom.
  • Stems are 1215 inches tall.
  • Leaves to 1 feet long, white and hairy beneath.
  • Dried flower cluster looks like an elegant holiday ornament.

giant allium

allium giganteum

  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • Spectacular softball-size clusters of bright lilac flowers on stems to 35 feet or taller.
  • Late-spring bloom.
  • Leaves 1 feet long, 2 inches wide.

allium 'Globemaster

  • Zones US, MS; USDA 6-7.
  • Popular selection bearing astonishing clusters like a ball on a stick.
  • Clusters are 68 inches across and deep violet in late spring.
  • Stalks stand 212 feet tall.

turkestan allium

allium karataviense

  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • Dense, round, 2- to 3 inches flower clusters in midspring, in colors from pinkish to beige to reddish lilac.
  • Broad, flat, recurved leaves, 25 inches across.

allium 'Millenium

  • Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9.
  • A reliable perennial summer-blooming onion with 10- to 15 inches tall stems topped with golf ball-size pink blooms.

golden garlic

allium moly

  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • Stems 918 inches tall bear open clusters of flowers in bright, shining yellow.
  • Late-spring bloom.

allium neapolitanum

  • Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9.
  • Spreading, 2 inches clusters of large, fragrant, white flowers on 1 feet stems bloom in midspring.
  • Leaves 1 inches wide.
  • Grandiflorum is larger, blooms earlier.
  • A form of 'Grandiflorum' listed as 'Cowanii' is considered superior.
  • Grown commercially as cut flowers.

allium oreophilum(Allium ostrowskianum)

  • Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9.
  • Loose, 1 inches clusters of rose-colored flowers on 8- to 12 inches stems in late spring; two or three gray-green leaves.
  • Good for rock gardens, cutting.

allium porrum

  • See Leek

allium rosenbachianum

  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • Baseball-size clusters of rosy purple blossoms with contrasting white stamens in late spring.

allium sativum

  • See Garlic

allium schubertii

  • Zones MS, LS, CS; USDA 7-9.
  • The mauve starburst of flowers measures 810 inches across, yet remains subtle.
  • Blooming in late spring from 1224 inches tall, it prefers full sun, transitioning to partial shade in warmer areas.

allium scorodoprasum

  • See Garlic

drumsticks, round-headed garlic

allium sphaerocephalum

  • Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9.
  • Tight, dense, spherical, inch-wide, red-purple flower clusters on 2 feet stems in early to midsummer.
  • Spreads freely.

three- cornered leek

allium triquetrum

  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • Heirloom bulb that blooms late spring and early summer when others have finished.
  • A cluster of white bells stand 1418 inches tall.
  • May naturalize in moist soils.

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