What Do Allium Sprouts Look Like

Members of the onion family include alliums. The relationship becomes clear as soon as you cut a stem or break a leaf. These late spring and early summer flowers offer a stately yet carefree appearance in the garden.

Each floret in an allium flower head is grouped together. The flowers in this flower cluster might be white, yellow, pink, purple, or blue, and their overall shape can be rounded, oval, or cascading. Alliums come in a variety of heights, some measuring only 5 inches tall and others rising to a height of 4 feet. Every variety of allium gives the garden its own unique look and charm.

Start With a Better Bulb

A side-by-side comparison of two allium bulbs reveals obvious variances in quality. Larger bulbs (as seen in the image on the far left) have more food energy stored within them and will grow stronger plants with larger flowers. You can always enjoy the biggest, brightest blooms because Longfield Gardens offers top-quality allium bulbs.

How soon do allium bulbs begin to sprout?

After the foliage and blooms have faded, you can lift, divide, and replant clumps of older plants if they are getting too crowded.

There are numerous allium species that generate offsets, or young plants. You can lift the bulbs and separate the offsets when flowering is over and the leaves have stopped growing. Either directly plant them in their ultimate locations, or let them grow outdoors in pots with grittier compost.

Some alliums (including Allium roseum, Allium sphaerocephalon, and Allium vineale) generate aerial bulbils in the flower head instead of flowers. These bulbils can be delicately taken out and divided. Planting the bulbils in wet, well-draining compost that is spaced 2.5 cm (1 in) apart and covered with a 1 cm (3/8 in) layer of compost is possible. They will not achieve blossoming size for a few of years.

Alliums can be propagated by seed, however hybrids won’t ‘come true’ (i.e., they can differ in color and shape from the parents) with this technique. Ripe seeds should be sown as soon as possible. Put the seeds into grit-filled compost trays and top with 5 mm of grit. Put the containers in a shaded area of the yard. Alternately, keep seeds chilled and plant them in the spring at about 13C. (55F). Most seeds ought to germinate in about a month. It will grow to flowering size over a number of years.

Identification by Leaf Type

It is Allium tuberosum if the flat, crown-originating leaves are present (garlic chives).

It is Allium schoenoprasum if the leaves have a hollow center, are spherical, and grow from the plant’s crown (chives).

Allium sativum is the plant if the stem is clearly visible and the leaves grow from the stem (garlic).

Identification by Flowers

It is Allium tuberosum if the flowers are white and bloom in the late summer at a height of two feet or more (garlic chives). The many flowers are distinct from one another and are plainly discernible.

It is Allium schoenoprasum if the flowers are mauve and bloom in late spring or early summer (chives). In order to prevent individual flowers from standing out from one another, it typically flowers at a height of 1 to 1.5 feet.

At a height of four feet, the flower head is Allium sativum if it produces little bulbs instead of flowers (garlic).

Note 1: Allium schoenoprasum (chives), which often have mauve flowers, can also produce white blooms. There is also a small version of this plant, which blooms at a height of less than one foot.

Note 2: Flowering height is not a reliable technique to identify a plant because it depends on the soil and temperature.

How long does it take for alliums to grow from seeds?

Alliums, which include onions, leeks, shallots, chives, and garlic, were once only considered to be vegetables, but today’s taller species with their enormous spherical flowerheads are among the most prominent members of the architectural plant community. Their stiff lollipop-shaped heads are ideal for counterbalancing tall, poker-shaped flowers, softer flowing grasses, and sharp vertical leaves, while their rich color—typically purple—looks stunning either in contrast to warm reds, yellows, and oranges or mixed with cooler tones of lilac, blue, and white.

Alliums can reach heights of up to 200 cm, with flowerheads ranging in size from small pompoms to enormous spheres of star-shaped blooms. For rock gardens at the front of the border, the little types work great. Garlic and chives grow well in these conditions, and they have the added benefit of confusing aphids and other bothersome insects so they go for food elsewhere. To ward against pests, surround other veggies and delicate plants like roses with these smelly plants.

Alliums are attractive not just when they are fully bloomed; the fallen flowerheads can also be left on the plant to dry and add architectural interest in the fall and winter. Hard frost will make the globes, especially those of Allium christophii, look gorgeous. For an eye-catching interior arrangement, you may also cut the flowers fresh and combine them with iris and thousand-flowered Gypsophilla.

Growing guide

Alliums prefer a warm, sunny location with healthy, rich soil. They can live in a more sandy area, but they will need to be well mulched if they want the truly magnificent huge heads. Since they are perennial bulbous plants, you can either plant them as potted plants year-round or as bulbs in the fall, putting them up to 15 cm deep. The plants will quickly take root and typically bloom the following year. Being bulbous also means that plants will eventually generate small offsets around the parent, forming large clumps.


Any very big clumps can be separated into smaller portions in the late summer and replanted. Additionally, offset bulbils can be used to propagate new plants (newly formed, little bulbs). The majority of bulbils develop underground around the initial bulb. These can be carefully broken off and buried 1 cm deep in grittier compost. Aerial bulbils are produced by the Allium sphaerocephalon variation and emerge from the flowerhead. The same procedure as above can be used to plant these.

A content allium will freely self-seed. You can gather the seeds from the plant before they fall if you like to control where your new plants will sprout up (as opposed to leaving it up to chance and chaos). As soon as the heads (and stems) start to turn brown, remove them. Place in a paper bag so you can catch the seeds as the pods split open. The seeds can be kept in the bag in a cold location until the following spring, or they can be sown straight into the soil where you want them to grow. It can take up to a year for some alliums to germinate, so patience is essential.

Pest alert

Alliums are typically healthy plants, yet during a humid time they might get white rot and downy mildew. Since they belong to the onion family, they may experience onion fly attacks. Yellowing leaves are a typical early sign, and as white maggots eat away at the roots, the plant will abruptly collapse. Because the maggots are so deeply embedded in the soil and even in the bulb itself, this pest is particularly challenging to eradicate. Dig up any afflicted plants to get rid of onion flies so that the maggots can’t develop into adults, pupate, and create more grubs.

Variety guide

The most well-known flowering allium is undoubtedly A. giganteum, which grows up to 1.8m and produces 10-15cm-diameter spherical heads of purplish-pink flowers. Despite their size, almost never do they need to be staked. It looks lovely placed beside another monster, the grass Stipa gigantean, in the back of a border as a focus point. Another choice is the 80cm tall cultivar “Globemaster,” which grows best between shrubs in a sunny border and adds a dash of deep violet to the season with its enormous 15cm wide spherical flowerheads. Allium sphaerocephalon, which has stunning two-tone maroon and green flowerheads, may be the prettiest member of the clan. When combined with grasses or other globe-headed flowers like Echinops and Eryngium, it makes a stunning border plant.

The rich rosy-purple flowers of Allium hollandicum ‘Purple Sensation’ make it a charming addition to a sunny border. It will reach a height of 1 m. It looks especially beautiful when planted with fennel with feathery leaves. A. karataviense is ideal for the rock garden because it only grows to a height of 25 cm. Large, delicate pink blooms with unique leaves with dark crimson edges adorn the plant. Another option for a rock garden or for growing in a pot on the patio is the variety “Ivory Queen,” which is even shorter at 20cm tall and thrives in dry soil in a sunny location.

Crocus tip

Many of the taller alliums’ foliage will already be starting to die back by the time the blooms bloom, but if they are surrounded by perennials with appealing foliage (such herbaceous geraniums), these unkempt leaves can be covered.

Container plants

Alliums prefer a sunny location with well-drained soil, but if they are planted in pots, they must not be allowed to dry out in the spring as this can prevent the flower buds from opening.

Are allium bulbs formed from the seeds?

The growing requirements for these relatives of common onions are the same whether you are growing alliums for their eye-catching, globular flowers, like the Star of Persia (Allium christophii or A. albopilosum), or for their flavorful, pungent bulbs, like leeks (A. ameloprasum) or chives (A. schoenoprasum). Depending on the variety, both types of alliums can be grown in USDA hardiness zones 3 to 11, producing edible bulbs or blossoms in the spring, summer, or fall before withering away in the winter and regrowing the following year.

How do alliums seem before they bloom?

Consider your garden space when choose which alliums to cultivate. Will you be bulk-planting in pots or growing in drifts through the border? as a component of a structured planting plan for prairies? Additionally, it’s crucial to consider the color of your alliums. Although most allium blossoms are purple, some are also blue, white, yellow, and pink in color. Also take into account the size of your allium—both the size of the flowers and the plant’s overall height. Allium flowers can range in size from a few centimeters to over 20 cm (8 in) in diameter, and their eights can also differ greatly.

Planting large, tall alliums singly or in drifts works nicely for varieties like “Purple Rain” and “Globemaster.” Allium christophii and other shorter variants grow well in containers. In prairie planting designs, drumstick alliums like Allium sphaerocephalon look fantastic.

Where to plant alliums

Alliums thrive in a sunny location with excellent soil drainage. They don’t care what kind of soil it is. Plant higher-growing cultivars in the back of a border and lower-growing varieties up front. Although alliums do well in containers, their strappy foliage can become ugly after flowering.

The leaves of alliums develop before the flowers do. As a result, they are frequently better suited to the center of a border where the faded foliage would be hidden and the flowers will put on a display. Plant alliums among attractive grasses and perennials to hide the fading foliage.

Grow alliums in broad drifts through the border or let them naturally grow in your lawn for a striking show.

How to plant alliums

Plant allium bulbs in the fall, at least four times their size deep (at least 15cm deep). It is preferable to plant them deeply rather than superficially.

There is no need to water them in if the soil is damp. Poor soils should be fertilized with a balanced fertilizer in the spring as growth begins to show.

Why won’t my alliums grow?

Although alliums can suffer in a drought, they do best in well-draining soil (it is a good idea to add some grit when planting bulbs to ensure proper soil drainage around the bulbs).

In the Spring and Summer, the allium may not flower or give a meager show of flowers if conditions are too dry.

Alliums store energy for the following year’s blossoms in their bulbs during the fall, thus persistent dry weather during this time might also hinder a strong flower show.

The most of the year, alliums require little maintenance, but if there is a severe drought in the spring, summer, or fall, give the soil a good soak once a week to make sure the bulbs can access the moisture when needed.

Watering shouldn’t be done in the winter because the bulb is dormant and too much moisture can cause decay.

Alliums in pots are typically more vulnerable to drought than bulbs placed along garden borders. In order to encourage flowering in the spring, water the bulbs once a week consistently if there has been dry weather.

Key Takeaways:

  • Alliums typically fail to bloom because the bulb is immature, planted too shallowly, or planted at the incorrect time of year. Alliums can also be prevented from flowering by drought, lack of sunlight, and soggy soil.
  • To have enough energy to flower, alliums need to be planted in stony, well-draining soil and be grown in full sun.
  • Manure-amended soil and soil that has received nitrogen fertilizer frequently encourage the growth of foliage at the expense of flowering plants.
  • In the late Summer and early Fall, pruning the foliage too soon while it is still green can stop the allium from providing the bulb with nutrition, moisture, and energy for the upcoming flowering season. Once the foliage becomes brown, only trim it back.

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).