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Growing Allium

Growing Allium

Millenium Allium




Allium, or Ornamental Onion, is a hardy perennial bulb. There are multiple forms grown for their attractive flowers in garden borders, as specimen plants, and for cut and dry flowers. Some types are good for rock gardens and for naturalizing. Most are hardy in zones 4 to 8. Their starry "fireworks" flower umbels are often large and provide color and attraction on plants ranging from dwarf to tall. Plants flower in late spring or early summer. Seed heads make interesting dry cut flowers.

How To Plant

Allium bulbs are usually planted in fall, but some types can be spring planted. Place the bulbs pointed end up, planting small bulbs 3 to 5 inches deep and large bulbs 6 to 8 inches deep. Space the bulbs at least as far apart as the diameter of the flowers.


Alliums are low-maintenance, easy-to-grow plants that are drought-tolerant and require well-drained soil. They tolerate light shade, but stems may need support in shady conditions. Raised beds can improve drainage, as can amending soil with organic matter. After plants flower, do not remove leaves until they naturally die. This allows bulbs to "recharge" with nutrients for overwintering.

Fertilizer Recommendations

Ornamental onions are moderate feeders and benefit from fertilization once a year in spring when growth resumes. Espoma Bulb-Tone (3-5-3), an organic fertilizer, is a good fertilizer for bulbs.

Common Problems

Ornamental Onion is generally free from pest and disease problems. Deer and rodents do not eat the bulbs. Thrips will sometimes feed on the leaves and flowers. Thrips can be controlled with insecticidal soap or neem oil.

Alternative Products

Other early summer blooming hardy perennials include Iris and Peony.

Complimentary Products

Ornamental onions combine well in the landscape with spring blooming bulbs like Daffodil, Galanthus (Snowdrops), Leucojum (Snowflake), Tulips. It is also a good compliment for Ornamental Grasses.

Product Recommendations

John & Bob's Soil Optimizer can be used as an amendment to improve soil.

Allium Facts

Ornamental Allium is related to chives, garlic, and edible onions. The flowers are attractive to beneficial pollinating insects and the onion scent of the plants can help to repel pests from other plants growing nearby.

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