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Mr Middleton’s Guide to Growing Alliums


The genus Allium (the Latin means "garlic") includes many fine garden plants that grow from bulbs . Allium flowers form dense balls of colour at the top of strong stems, and they make excellent displays in the garden or as cut flowers. Allium flowers range from purple, burgundy, lilac, silvery amethyst, pink, blue, to yellow and white. Some varieties have scented blooms, but their perfume is usually pleasant and not the least oniony. The scent of the bulbs and leaves, however, may remind you of onions.

Most Alliums grow best in full sun, with at least 6–8 hours of direct sun a day. Those we offer require well-drained soil and are longest lived in locations where the soil is on the dry side during summer dormancy.

Plant Alliums more shallowly than comparably sized bulbs, just 1–2 times the diameter of the bulb deep. Alliums prefer well-drained, fertile soil. Feed in autumn with seaweed and again in spring .

The leaf tips of many varieties, especially the tall ones, begin to brown before flowering time therefore it’s best to plant among perennials plants where the new spring growth will cover the dying leaves . Remove the spent flowers (except from varieties that are sterile, such as 'Globemaster') if you wish to prevent them from go to seed and taking the goodness out of the bulb.

Pests/Diseases: Alliums have few problems except when planted too shallowly or in wet soil.

Companions: Place Alliums behind heavy-foliage plants such as Peonies and Iris. Good for bedding, and in mixed borders. Flower heads are good for drying.

Dividing/Transplanting: Alliums rarely need transplanting or dividing, but this can be done when the bulbs are dormant.