Alliums are gorgeous looking and unique plants that are a gardener and pollinator’s best friend.
October 12 2022
Alliums are gorgeous looking and unique plants that are a gardener and pollinator’s best friend. Available in a variety of colors and sizes, their vibrant spherical flower heads stand out in the garden. They even offer multi-season interest with their seed heads, making a stunning display all summer, fall, and winter. Regardless of the landscape, alliums are the perfect plant to add flair to a garden.
The allium family includes food items such as garlic, chives, and onions, but many people grow ornamental varieties for their beautiful flowers and benefits to the garden’s ecosystem. Their round, puffball flowers in varying shades of white, pink, and purple are a favorite of bees and butterflies and provide a primary food source from late spring to early fall. In addition, allium has been shown to repel pests such as rabbits and deer.
When and where to plant alliums
Alliums are hardy in USDA zones 3 through 9, making them suitable for many parts of the United States. They are easy to grow and require little maintenance. Plant them in a sunny spot in the garden in early to mid-fall and watch them burst with color from late spring to fall. Although they prefer well-drained soil, they can tolerate dry conditions once established.
How to plant and care for Alliums
In the fall, plant allium bulbs 2 to 4 inches deep—depending on the size of the bulb—into the ground, where they will spend the winter growing strong roots. According to garden expert Stephanie Rose of Garden Therapy, “It’s best to group the bulbs together, with groups of 12-25 small bulbs or 3-6 large bulbs that look the most attractive in the garden.”
Cultivation of succession to extend flowering
With a variety of different alliums, there are many different cultivars to choose from, making them ideal for cascading plantings. Gardeners use this planting technique to mix cultivars and varieties for staggered blooms all season. By planting allium varieties in succession, gardeners are able to provide essential food for pollinators and create an ever-changing display in the landscape from spring to fall. Some examples include:
Spring Pants – Golden Onion “Jinin”, Giant Onion, Temploid Onion
- Summer Bloomers – Blue Globe Onion, Stars of Persia, Drumstick Allium
- Late summer/early fall – Japanese onion, round onion, “hair” onion
With so many unique varieties to choose from, gardeners can create a garden full of color and texture from spring through fall while creating a beneficial backyard ecosystem.
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