Looking for a bit of dramatic flair for the garden? With their striking globular, oval or spherical blooms resting atop sturdy stems, alliums more than fill that bill. Allium is a genus of flowering plants that includes hundreds of species, including cultivated onion, garlic, scallion, shallot, leek, and chives.
Alliums are some of the best bulbs for continuous color throughout the seasons, with varieties that let you create an ongoing show of hues from early spring through late fall. Both flower and foliage are fragrant, attracting helpful pollinators like bees and butterflies, but are also naturally deer and rabbit resistant. Flower color ranges from pristine white, to sunny yellow, rosy pink and a variety of rich purples.
Alliums are very easy to grow. They’re fine in average soil, but need good drainage since the large bulbs can easily rot with too much water. They’re happy with full to partial sun, and have great versatility in the garden, as container plants, border edgings, cut and dried flowers, and mass plantings. They’ll return each year with virtually no maintenance. If you do notice a decrease in blooms after a few years, you can divide them to reinvigorate their flowering. Plant alliums in the fall, at a depth about 3x the size of the width of the bulb.
Here’s a breakdown of some allium varieties from early spring through fall that will keep your garden in color throughout the seasons.
SPRING ALLIUM VARIETIES
“Jeannine” Golden Onion – Showy, bright yellow 2″-3″ diameter flower heads with attractive flat bladed blue-green foliage.
Giant Onion – Star shaped, tiny lilac-purple flowers, forming a 5”-6” wide globe, growing up to 5-6 feet tall on thick, sturdy stems.
Turkestan Onion – Globe-shaped clusters of pink flowers with broad, deeply-veined, dark green to purple leaves.
Tumbleweed Onion – Giant spheres of rosy-purple flowers. Each flower head can contain up to 50 small, star-shaped flowers on pedicels of varying lengths. Grows 1’-2’ high.
SUMMER ALLIUM VARIETIES
Nodding Onion – Open clusters of pink-purple, droplet-shaped blooms, on drooping, arching 2’ tall stems with blue-green foliage. Highly adaptable from full sun to deep shade.
Blue Globe Onion – Dense clusters of brilliant blue, spherical-shaped flower heads up to 1” wide, with a growth height habit 14”-16” high.
Star of Persia – Huge 10” wide rosy-pink flowers in an orbital shape with gray-green foliage, this plant reaches a height of 16”-20” tall.
Drumstick Allium – Oval-shaped blooms, 1”-2” wide in rich, ruby red, with a growth height of 20”-24.”
FALL ALLIUM VARIETIES
“Hair” Allium – Whimsical, 2” blooms with reddish-purple hearts and protruding hair-like, greenish yellow flowers, grows 18”-24” tall.
Circle Onion – Pink or yellow chive-like flowers look stunning against flat, twisting blue-green leaves. Blooms are 1”-2” and plant height is 18”-20.”
Japanese Onion – Rosy-pink, globe-shaped flowers bloom on foot-tall stems. Impervious to frost and snow.
For more brilliant bulb options, contact us here at Farmside Landscape and Design.
Main image photo credit: Monrovia