I Love Tall Alliums

May 21, 2021 | Love This!

Name:  Allium species and hybrids

Type of Plant:  A bulb that produces round flowers on the tops of tall stems in the late-spring or early-summer. There are several species and hybrids available. Some have open, lacy flowers and others have full, globes of flowers. Stems vary from 2’ tall up to 6’ tall!

Why I Love/Hate this plant:  I love these in the late-spring garden because they add height in a time when most perennials are short. The white or purple flowers blend beautifully with other plants that are in flower at this time of year, and they dance in the breeze on long, strong stems. As the flowers go by, the combination of the remaining purple or white flowers with the developing green seeds is also beautiful, and even the dried stem with its fireworks explosion of seeds is beautiful.

These make great cutting flowers for tall, dramatic arrangements and the dried seed-heads are lovely when placed in bottles indoors.

A Word to the Wise: Don’t worry if your Allium plant seems to be dying before the blooms open. The foliage of most alliums starts to wilt just as the flower stem is coming up, and this is natural. Plant these Allium behind early perennials such as Nepeta to hide the browning leaves.

Buy Allium bulbs in the fall and plant them in October for a great show of flowers the following May and June.

Buds opening on round Allium flower

Even the opening buds are interesting on tall allium flowers.

The four foot tall alliums sway in the breezes, looking like a flower dance in the garden.

These allium in P. Allen Smith’s garden at Moss Mountain show how they are attractive in all stages, from peak bloom to going-by.

Place Allium behind perennials that will hide their declining foliage when these bulbs are in bloom. In this photo, the green ones are really the seed-heads of the white allium that flower first. I love how the green and purple look together.

This shows how the foliage naturally looks when the flowers are in bloom. This is why the best Allium plantings are in and among perennials.

There are many types of Alliums. The short ones in the foreground of this shot are Allium schubertii. They have almost finished flowering in this photo, taken at Moss Mountain Farm in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Even as they finish flowering, the Allium flowers are beautiful.

2 Comments

  1. Mary bancroft

    The bulbs are difficult to remove as they work there way deep in the soil after planting. Making them difficult to move. After. Any suggestions?

    Reply
    • CL Fornari

      Why would you need to move them? If you have to transplant, just dig deeply with a shovel in the fall.

      Reply

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