How To Care For Allium Bulbs

To add height and beauty to your spring garden, plant some allium bulbs in your October bulb planting. For tall, scattered color throughout your beds next year, scatter them among the bulbs of lilies, crocus, and some of your other favorite spring blooming bulbs. Plant seeds of the candytuft flower and other short perennial flowers once the soil has warmed up to cover the developing alliums’ foliage as it withers away after the show is finished.

In a sunny area, plant the allium bulb three times its height deep in well-draining soil. Alliums can ward off aphids, which frequently enjoy sucking on the sensitive new growth of other spring blooms. Rodents, the peach borer, and even the destructive Japanese beetle are deterred by growing alliums in the garden.

If planted in the appropriate soil and sunlight, allium maintenance is easy. The allium plant simply requires infrequent weeding, fertilizing, and watering. Both rainfall and the use of organic mulch after planting could meet these requirements. Pre-emergence organic weed blocks or mulch may reduce the need for weeding.

Many of your other growing specimens will benefit if you learn how to plant allium bulbs. You will use this gardening tip for years to come: learning how to grow alliums.

How are alliums used after they have flowered?

Post-bloom maintenance for alliums is quite simple. Simply continue to water the plants sparingly until they start to shrivel and turn yellow. At this point, you have the option of either dividing the plants or cutting them all the way to the ground.

Divide allium bulbs every three to four years. Simply use a shovel to dig around the plant and lift the bulbs out. You should see a group of bulbs that you may gently separate with your hands. Replant a few in the same location, and immediately transplant the others to different sites.

It’s considerably simpler to take care of allium bulbs that you don’t wish to divide. When the foliage starts to fade, simply trim it back, and in the fall, mulch the soil with 2 to 3 inches (5-7.5 cm) of material. In the spring, remove the mulch to allow room for fresh growth.

How are allium bulbs cared for?

Alliums are drought-tolerant, thus it’s typically not essential to water plants that are rooted in the ground. Summer irrigation is not preferred by plants since it could lead to bulb rot. Alliums planted in containers will require routine watering, but watch out for soggy compost.


Winter cold can be more damaging to plants in pots. to ensure their winter survival

  • Place containers in a protected area.
  • Place them in the lee of a wall, within a cold frame, or a greenhouse to provide them with some protection from the winter rain.

Do alliums reappear each year?

The foliage of the allium often appears at least a month before the flowers do. Some species’ foliage starts to turn yellow and die off before the flowers are fully open. Plant the bulbs with other plants that will obscure the wilting foliage to help mask it. Alliums do well with hosta, astilbe, and perennial geranium.

When your alliums are blooming, you may anticipate seeing a lot of pollinators. Any type of habitat garden will benefit greatly from the inclusion of these bulbs.

Like their relatives in the vegetable garden, alliums hardly ever have insect or disease problems. Rarely do bothersome rats and deer show any interest.

Most alliums are perennial plants. They will typically bloom again if the species you are planting is winter hardy and the bulbs are suitable to the growing environment in your yard.

Caring for Alliums After They Flower

Allium wasted flower heads can be removed or left in situ once flowering is over. The seed heads are viewed as an intriguing decorative element by many gardeners. Depending on your environment, they may persist far into the beginning of the fall.

Large-headed alliums like Schubertii and Globemaster hardly ever produce viable seeds. Purple Sensation and drumstick alliums will reseed if the conditions are favorable. Simply remove the seed heads after the flowers have faded and before the seeds develop to prevent a carpet of tiny volunteers.

There are herbaceous alliums as well as alliums that grow from bulbs, including varieties like Millennium and Summer Beauty. These plants have a big root system and come back every year to blossom.

Alliums that emerge from bulbs require their foliage in order to generate energy for the blossoms of the next year. Therefore, it’s crucial to let these plants die back organically. The leaves may typically be removed with a simple tug once it has turned yellow and dried. Trim off the wasted blooms from herbaceous alliums with hedge shears or scissors once they have stopped blooming. This will maintain the plants’ clean appearance and might promote a second flush of blossoms.

Can you leave alliums in the ground?

Taller people can need assistance when exposed. After the flowers have faded, let the plant with them until they disintegrate because they make for wonderful winter interest. Some gardeners collect the seedheads and dry them so they can be used as home decor.

Allium bulbs can stay in the garden for multiple seasons. When planting new plants, try to keep in mind where you already put bulbs to prevent damaging those areas.

How to propagate alliums

In a few years, allium bulbs will grow in number. You may occasionally see the white bulbs being pushed out of the ground. Carefully pull the bulbs and gently peel out the offsets in late autumn or very early spring to replant them directly into the ground.

Allium can be grown from seed by leaving the flowerheads on the plant and harvesting the ripe seed to sow right away. Keep in mind that starting alliums from seed requires patience because it takes years to produce a flowering plant.

Growing alliums: pests and problem solving

A fungus called allium white rot prevents the growth of other alliums and onions. Clear and burn the infected plant material, and stay away from growing alliums in the same spot for at least five years, to prevent recurring infections.

Alliums have a tendency to outgrow their surroundings. Learn how to control the amount of alliums growing in a border in this Gardeners’ World video:

How are allium heads preserved?

I have an obsession with ornamental alliums. I keep growing more of them even though I now have around a dozen distinct varieties in my garden. Alliums are not only stunning to look at, but they are also long-blooming, pollinator-friendly, and appear to be immune to disease and pests, even deer.

And if that’s not enough, alliums’ seed heads are yet another reason to adore them. The seed heads of these late spring/early summer flowers can be an equally alluring lure after they have faded. They provide unique forms and textures to the yard and summer flower arrangements and many of them will survive for months. Continue reading to discover how to maximize the use of these eye-catching seed heads.

Use Allium Seed Heads in Fresh Arrangements

While they are still green, the seed heads can be clipped and added to bouquets of fresh flowers. Homegrown bouquets are given a distinct glitter by their color, shape, and texture. For this, Allium Purple Sensation works best.

Leave Seed Heads Right in the Garden

The seed heads can be left in the garden, where people will continue to be intrigued by their unique textures and shapes. The Globemaster and Gladiator alliums, which have sturdy, robust stems, are the ones that I find last the longest. Allium Christophiii’s seed heads, however, also persist for a long time. They may continue to look nice into August in a dry summer.

Paint the Dried Seed Heads

Another choice is to paint the seed heads once they have completely dried. Last year, I dried some Gladiator seed heads and used gold spray paint to embellish them. They emerged with a little bronzer appearance than gold. I might attempt silver paint this year.

The dried seed heads have also been painted glossy white and utilized as wedding decorations by me. The Gladiators are those displayed below.

Here’s a way for drying allium seed heads so you can paint them or just display them inside. When the seed heads are dry but before the seed capsules start to open and release the seeds, they should be painted or treated with a clear fixative. You can maintain the starburst effect and reduce the amount of seeds you need to sweep up by placing the seeds inside the capsules at the end of each “stem.”

The enlarged seed capsules are visible in the photo below, even though the seed head is not yet dry enough to paint.

Visit this post on Gardenista to see some lovely dried alliums (Allium schubertii) hanging from the rafters of an old stone barn in Wiltshire, England.

Mid- to late-fall is the ideal time to plant decorative alliums. Orders are accepted starting in May, and bulbs are shipped from early September through mid-November. The only way to guarantee you’ll get the variety you desire is to place your order early. Our entire collection is available to view HERE.

how do you dry alliums?

Pick off seedheads that are starting to fade and store them for a few months in a cold, dry place, such a shed or cellar. To use as Christmas decorations, I like to dry my seedheads and then spray-paint them silver.

are alliums edible?

Since they are all members of the allium family, onions, leeks, and garlic are often consumed foods. Alliums are theoretically edible, but beware eating any that are designed to be aesthetic garden plants because they may have been chemically treated.

are alliums good for bees?

In the spring, bees and other pollinators are all over our alliums. Our neighborhood beekeeper also claims that the honey doesn’t taste oniony.

do alliums need staking?

Even the tallest alliums won’t need staking since their sturdy stems can hold them if they are planted deeply enough in full sun (so they don’t extend toward the light) and in a sheltered location (so they don’t blow over in the wind).

Does allium just have one bloom?

Do allium plants, such as garlic and onions, have several blooms? My alliums have flowered, and I’m not sure if I should leave them in the ground. Donna A.

SUMMARY: Alliums typically only bloom once per season. Alliums, however, will self-seed so that new plants will reappear the following year if you allow part of the blossoms to mature into seed heads. You must give your alliums additional attention and choose the best strain for your yard if you want them to bloom more than once in a single season.

How to Encourage a Second Bloom From Your Alliums

Allow the leaves to wither and die back naturally on your allium plants to encourage a second round of flowers. It should be simple to gently peel the foliage away from the plant once it has totally died back. To stimulate a second wave of blooming, you can go ahead and trim the spent blossoms using garden shears or hedge trimmers.

The plant needs the leaves to stay on the plant when the foliage withers away since it will be absorbing nutrients from the spent leaves throughout this period. Plant some late-blooming flowers to cover the allium foliage during this period if you believe you’ll find the withered leaves unappealing. Some gardeners find the withered leaves unpleasant. By depriving the plant of the nutrients it requires during its dormant stage, premature removal of the shrunken leaves can hinder the blossoming process in later seasons.

How to Encourage Your Alliums to Return Next Year

There are techniques you may use as well if you want to get your alliums to grow again the following year. Pick a species to cultivate that has been bred to thrive in your particular climate. You should look for allium strains that will thrive in the soil and sunlight conditions of your garden in addition to taking the surrounding region into account. Finally, choose an onion kind that can withstand the winter, and alliums will probably return to decorate your garden the following year.

There are several things you can do to protect your plants when it’s extremely cold outside, even if you choose to cultivate an allium plant that is winter-hardy. Particularly vulnerable to damage from cold temperatures are plants in pots. You can relocate them to a porch, a shed, a cold frame, or another safe area.

Two to three inches of mulch will help plants growing directly in the ground stay warm and have easier access to moisture. Just be careful not to get the mulch on your plants’ foliage. Leave a few-inch border between your mulch and the plants as an alternative. Plant diseases are promoted by allowing them to touch.

You now know that, despite the fact that alliums typically only bloom once, there are techniques to pamper the plants and promote a second bloom. Additionally, you now know how to overwinter your alliums so they will blossom the following season. You’ll soon be reaping a bountiful harvest of chives, onions, and garlic from your garden.