Posts Tagged ‘allium’

Still time for alliums

October 26th, 2018 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Allium christophii

When we think about spring bulbs we think of daffodils and tulips and crocuses – all the old favourites. But what about alliums? They tend to be forgotten. In fact, I forgot about them myself, this year, and will finally be planting mine this morning.

It’s true, alliums tend to flower a little later than other spring bulbs, in May and June. Some flower later still, in July or even August, but they still need planting now. And while all bring us masses of tiny flowers gathered into flower heads at the tops of their stems, those flower heads come in large and medium and small.

The largest and most dramatic flower heads belong to Allium schubertii, with 30cm flower heads like exploding fireworks on stems 50cm high. They even have a sweet fragrance, and can be cut for dramatic flower arrangements and for drying.

Less wildly exuberant in its look, but with dramatic 20cm flower heads packed with purple stars, is A. christophii. Lovely planted amongst low penstemons such as ‘Carillo Purple’, as its flower heads turn to straw they break away and roll around the borders, lodging unpredictably amongst border plants.

More like drumsticks, the taller ‘Purple Sensation’ makes smaller heads on 70cm stems, ideal growing through early summer perennials, they look amazing amongst lupins!

Finally, perhaps my favourite, with the smallest flowers in the darkest purple on tall 50-60cm stems at the latest season – and at the best bargain price: A. sphaerocephalon. At £5.95 for fifty bulbs, I’m going to plant them in a row for cutting and also amongst my shasta daisies. I have some new yellow flowered varieties on trial – sounds like a good combination to me. Get your order in today.