Allium, the show-stopper in spring gardens!
Now is the time to get your hands on some of the best "architectural" flowering bulbs for your garden!
What are Allium Bulbs?
Alliums are bulbs or plants in the onion family. Edible alliums include onions, shallots, leeks, garlic, and chives. The more ornamental alliums include Giant Allium, Drumstick Allium and many more that you may see pop up in gardens in late spring to early summer.
Where to Plant
Allium bulbs thrive in full sun, but they can tolerate partial sun. Make sure the soil is well-drained before planting allium bulbs. Too wet of soil will cause the bulbs to rot prior to blooming next season.
Depending on the final height of your allium variety, these bulbs can be planted in the border to the background. Varieties like Ivory Queen that only get a few inches tall look great in the landscape border, while Globemaster Allium or other Giant Allium look best near the back of landscape plantings. And, if your landcape is often devastated by deer, alliums are a great deer resistant bulb to plant.
How should ornamental alliums be planted?
Good soil preparation is the very first step. Make sure it is loose and porous to make the planting easier (and because good drainage is necessary for all types of bulbs). When amending soil, make sure to amend the soil 2-3" below the bulbs, as well. This will allow for proper root formation and will provide a sturdy, healthy plant in the spring. To get the most out of your bulbs, it is best to add bone meal or bulb food when planting.
The planting depth of alliums will depend on their size: a good rule of thumb is that the depth should be 2-3x the diameter of the bulb. Since allium bulbs are one of the larger spring flowering bulbs, they are one of the deeper bulbs to plant. Make sure to plant with the "hairy" side down. This will ensure the bulbs roots come in good contact with the soil and that the stem can easily break through the ground next spring. Spacing will depend on the density you are looking for in your planting. Larger alliums are best spaced at least a foot apart when planting. Due to the large flower size, planting closer together would make the flowers touch.
After placing in the soil, cover with remaining soil (or amended soil in clay areas). Make sure to water your planting in thoroughly.
Best Tip for a Tidy Garden
To hide foliage after blooming, try planting intermixed with summer flowering perennials or within foliage plants.