Allium

These flowering onions look exotic floating above the other plants.

deep purple allium flower

Photo: Claire Sutton

Try the ‘drumstick', a dark purple, which blooms in July and naturalizes well.

Alliums are members of the onion family, and the bulbs are planted in the fall and extend the bloom spring-bulb season. The most spectacular is Allium giganteum with tall stiff stems tapped with globes, averaging 5 inches in diameter.

These flowering onions look exotic floating above the other plants. Colors range from white, through lavender to dark purple.

In Your Garden

Plant a ribbon of these bulbs in the center of a perennial bed or put them around hostas, ferns or daylilies to provide exclamation points. The large globes are made up of tiny florets arranged in a similar pattern to the seeds of a dandelion puff.

Designers have used this globe pattern to make spectacular round water fountains that you may have seen and admired. A rounded shape, composed of sparkling water jets or colorful flowers, has great architectural appeal.

Allium is the Latin word for garlic, so any allium plant has a pungent taste that deer and rodents avoid. The smaller alliums bloom later than the giants.

Try the ‘drumstick’, a dark purple, which blooms in July and naturalizes well, or Allium ‘Moly Jeannine’, which throws up 2 inch umbels of bright yellow florets in May.

There are so many to choose from, and the more you have the more you will want.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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