Photo: Claire Sutton
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.