Alliums All Season Long

Allium schubertii
Allium schubertii

Once in a while a plant comes along which I fall in love with instantly and I can’t do without – in this case Allium schubertii! It is in the onion family so is unpalatable to deer-hooray! A pink or purple fireworks display, Alliums are under-appreciated perennials that will persist for years in your garden with little care.

 Another allium which is a little bit smaller

Another allium which is a little bit smaller
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Sprayed seed head in garden

 

Alliums are great for long-lasting color in flower, and the seed heads live on for years afterward and can be used for decorating, especially for fairy gardens and Christmas.

Dried allium seed heads sprayed gold and silver
Dried allium seed heads sprayed gold and silver

A showy starburst pink flower 12 to 18 inches wide is its trademark (Schubertii), held only 8 inches high, and then it dries right on the plant to a sturdy seed head. If you don’t pick it by early summer, it will become a tumbleweed in your garden. I find the seed heads everywhere after a windstorm as I have dozens of these plants.

Alliums in my garden
Alliums in my garden

Alliums

Of course, there are lots of alliums out there, but I love the soccer ball size of the Schubertii! The bulbs require good drainage and my alliums must be happy as they come up year after year. Planted by bulb in the fall, alliums are not eaten by squirrels either as they have an oniony taste.

Alliums
Alliums planted with Amsonia

 

A large grouping of a smaller allium
A large grouping of a smaller allium

 

So- hardy, deer, rodent and deer resistant, and no care- why aren’t they more widely planted? Probably because they are pricey. In the fall, you frequently see the 3 to 4 foot tall Globe Master allium which could set you back $10 for a single bulb. The other varieties are a little less expensive, but not as easily available in stores.Allium Schubertii

Allium Schubertii

Bees love alliums
Bees love alliums

For the recent Baltimore Symphony Decorator Show House, I strung a half dozen dried seed heads together and suspended them over the fairy garden in the landscape. I had a lot of comments about this feature and most people had never heard of alliums or ornamental onions. This fall I will be adding to my collection.

Seedheads of allium suspended over fairy garden
Seedheads of allium suspended over fairy garden

PicMonkey Collage

 

Allium

 

 

Alliums intermingle with other flowers nicely
Alliums intermingle with other flowers nicely

8 Replies to “Alliums All Season Long”

  1. This is sure to be a topic of discussion at SMCGarden Club’s Horticulture group on Monday. I’m going to start collecting alliums, too! Any plant that’s deer and rodent resistant, and GORGEOUS, is a winner!! Thanks for the education…Again!

  2. I have some alliums throughout my gardens and just love them. Really enjoy your posts, you are a wonderful designer. Janet Hatter, Silver Fancy Garden Club

  3. Your alliums are just gorgeous, Claire! I always think of fireworks whenever I see an allium! I must remember to plant some allium bulbs this fall. Thanks for the wonderful inspiration! ♡

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