Alliums are those gorgeous flowering perennials in the spring garden with the big, round purple flower heads on tall, green stems. Planted from bulbs in fall, they are easy to grow, attract bees and butterflies, and (bonus) deer and rabbits don’t like them.
This is part of my Best Flowering Plants for a Cottage-Style Garden series.
I love alliums. Just as the early spring tulips and daffodils are finishing up, it’s allium time.
There’s nothing quite like these tall, bold flowering plants with their giant purple flower heads.
As winter fades out, there are few food sources available, and the bees go wild for them, marking the transition to the warm growing season.
Alliums are bulb plants. Planted in fall, they will flower in spring, and provide blooms for several years to come.
The bulbs will gradually multiply, and the original bulbs will gradually weaken or die off.
At some point you may need to divide the bulbs to give the babies adequate growing space.
Allium flowers also produce seeds, which may sprout in the garden as well.
I’ve certainly found that alliums spread around my garden (which I love), but I’m not entirely sure if it was by seed or bulb, or, more specifically, from squirrels digging them up and moving them.
Allium Facts & Growing Tips
|Cultivars||Between 200-900, depending on how it they are categorized; the taxonomy of allium is poorly understood|
|Origin||Northern hemisphere, Asia, Africa, South and Central America|
|Type||Herbaceous geophyte perennial with true bulbs|
|USDA Zones||3 to 8|
|Height||5-150 cm (up to 60 inches: 5 feet tall)|
|Light||Full sun to partial shade|
|Flower times||Late spring to early summer|
|Colours||Light to dark purple, some are reddish-purple|
|Fertilizer||Check your plant labels|
|Attracts||Bees and butterflies|
|Avoided by||Deer and rabbits|
|Propagation||Plant bulbs in fall, after first frost but before ground freezes|
|Planting Depth||3x the height of the bulb|
|After Blooming||Allow foliage to die off naturally as it provides fuel for next year’s growth. Cut off finished blooms to encourage new flowers or allow to dry: they are pretty in the garden but can spread seeds (I’ve not found this to be a problem).|
|Divide bulbs||Before or after flowering|
|Toxicity||None known: in the onion family; some are edible, others are not|
|Trivia | Uses||The word allium is Latin for garlic. Allium sativum means ‘cultivated garlic‘. Some alliums are edible; some are strictly ornamental. The pungency of edible alliums is determined by the sulfate content of the soil: the more there is, the stronger the flavor.|
Find Your Frost Dates & Hardiness Zone
- Plant Hardiness Zones | United States | Canada
These are listed on seed packets and plant tags to guide your choices.
- Average Frost Dates | Use this calculator at Almanac.com. Enter your city and state or province to find your first and last frost dates and number of frost-free days.
DIY Garden Art Alliums
This craft project is made from recycled items including old nails and a softball. Follow the tutorial to make decorative alliums for your garden.
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛