Plant Profile: Alliums

The drumstick alliums, which are ornamental onions, are in bloom right now.  These herbaceous perennials have pretty, almost round, purple blooms which appear in early to midsummer.  

Alliums are in the onion genus and includes onions, chives, garlic, scallions and leek.

The flowers first appear green and seem to take forever to open.  They grow best in full sun in well drained soil.  A bonus to growing drumstick allium is that deer and rabbits don’t nibble on them.

allium buds from craftygardener.ca

In the spring a grassy like clump will grow.  The stems are round and grow quite tall.  The round buds form at the end of the stem.

drumstick alliums from craftygardener.ca

Drumstick alliums grow from little onion bulbs.  These can be purchased and planted in the fall for blooms the following summer.  Plant them about 4 to 5 cm deep in the ground.  These little onions form readily once the bloom has finished and drop to the ground to self sow.  One year I collected a lot of them and potted them up.  Over the winter I sank the pots into the ground to simulate actually being in the ground.

allium bulbs from craftygardener.ca
allium bulbs from craftygardener.ca

The following spring I lifted the pots out of the ground and they started to grow right in the pots.

drumstick allium blooms from craftygardener.ca

The blooms look lovely interspersed with other blooms of different colour.

drumstickallium4a

In the front diamond garden there is a colourful showing of drumstick allium, coreopsis,  shasta daisy, rudbekia and  rose campion.

drumstickallium1a 

This is a clump got very floppy once the blooms opened so I gave it a little support with an old tomato cage.  You can see the leaves starting to die off as the plant blooms and the colour will fade as the days go on.  This is a natural occurrence and nothing to worry about.  Next year it will start to grow all over again.

garden line

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7 Responses

  1. Myrtle

    I must get some this fall, be great to more colour, we have a couple of rabbits along with the squirrels and chippies to deal with also. I planted a Lavender plant this year, love the colour.

    I hope you ae having better weather than we are!

    • Crafty Gardener

      Weather has been wet, wet, wet Myrt. It seems we hardly go a day without getting rain these days. Saturday looks, good, will get my laundry done then.

  2. Joy

    Hi Linda … my allium Purple Sensation all bloom in Spring .. I do leave their skeletons though because I find them so pretty. Now you have me thinking I should have some summer flowering ones because these are so pretty !
    Did you have that crazy temperature swing from 37 degrees to 13 degrees that we had this week here in Kingston ? .. that was WILD ! It has been raining today so I don’t have to worry too much about the pots or the garden .. we are so lucky compared to out west .. that climate is a scary mess.

    • Crafty Gardener

      These are drumstick allium, a mid to smaller size. The produce lots of little bulbs and you can transplant them to other parts of the garden. The weather has been most unusual, from steaming hot, to pouring rain and downright chilly in between. Hopefully there will be a dry day over the weekend to enjoy the garden.

  3. Linda

    I love Aliums but unfortunately I never seem to have much luck with them in my garden, my rudbekia are full of buds but no flowers as yet. Your garden is looking very pretty. Have a great weekend.

    • Crafty Gardener

      I planted these allium years ago and they just keep coming back and spreading around. I’ve got some rudbekia blooms and also the purple coneflower are budding and the beebalm is is full bloom, but very floppy from all the rain we’ve been having.

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