Great Design Plant: Ornamental Allium


Alliums. Credit: Pixabay

Plant in the Fall for a “Wow” Spring and Summer

There’s no instant gratification when you plant Alliums, but if you can exercise patience, you’ll be totally rewarded in the spring or summer to early fall when you get to enjoy these remarkable flowers. Alliums are a group of plants in the onion family (but do not smell like onions) and are specifically grown for their ornamental characteristics.

Two Kinds

Allium Bulbs are planted in fall.  They are perennial plants that flower in early summer and their foliage dies back and the plants go dormant until the next spring.  Alliums that grow from bulbs may produce the most dramatic flowers but herbaceous alliums have their own appeal,

Herbaceous Alliums are perennial plants with fibrous roots and their foliage remains attractive throughout the season, and standout in any garden.  Herbaceous Alliums flower later than the bulb types, in mid to late summer.  These plants resemble chives in their growth habit with dense clumps of foliage that stay green and lush all season.  Their flowers can be 2 to 2″ in diameter.


The blooms of these plants are mostly globes on thin, straight stems, of various sizes.   Some are only 6 inches tall producing dainty flowers, while others can stretch to 3 to 4 feet tall with their huge, dense flower heads.  All varieties make excellent cut flowers and when the seed heads dry, they continue to add garden interest.  Some folks like to use the dried seed pods for decoration.   Their blooms are long lasting and an added feature, their seed pods make great Christmas decorations.


Plant them in the fall and and pick a location where the soil drains well.  Alliums grow best in full sun, though most types will also tolerate partial shade.


For the bulb variety, don’t cut back all the leaves when you pick the flowers and don’t be quick to remove all the browning foliage on your bulbs until every leaf is dead. The leaves assist in photosynthesis that helps create food for the bulb to aid in next year’s flower.

Now’s the time to get Alliums planted and treat you and your home to some spring color next year.

Contact Whitehouse Landscaping if you have any landscaping needs or we can answer any of your landscaping questions.