AlliumsThis week, my plant of the week is the Allium.

Alliums are loved by garden designers, for their shape and colour. They work well in both formal and informal settings, their shape giving definition to a plant grouping. As bulbs, they are easy to grow and trouble free. Alliums bridge the gap between spring and summer

They usually have wonderful spherical shaped flower clusters loved by bees, often purple, as pictured, with attractive seed heads that can last into autumn, providing texture in the flower bed.

Alliums are onion family, a family that includes:

  • wild garlic (Ramsons) Allium ursinum
  • chives Allium schoenoprasum
  • edible onions and garlic
  • the ornamental alliums like those pictured, such as Allium ‘Purple Sensation’.

Less common Alliums

Less common ornamental alliums include the yellow Allium flavum; Allium cristophii, with its large, less densely packed spherical umbel of flowers, making it a good choice to add texture to the garden; Allium caeruleum, which has star shaped blue flowers arranged in a sphere; the beautiful, delicate white flowered Allium neapolitanum.

NectaroscordumAllium sphaerocephalon is also a very attractive, with wiry stems and smaller, reddish purple flowers. It is good to use where an informal look is wanted.

Nectaroscordum, (pictured), with it’s slightly droopy flower heads, loved by bees, is also good for an informal garden. It readily self seeds and has a pungent onion smell. It used to be considered an Allium, but now is a separate, but related plant.

Plant Allium bulbs in autumn, for an early summer showing that is easy and trouble free.

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