Alliums give the late spring, early summer garden a punch like nothing else.
Over the years I have grown every variety I can lay my hands on.
Here are some of my favourites
Allium ‘Early Emperor’
Allium ‘Violet Beauty’
Allium ‘Purple Sensation’
If you have room for only one variety then it has to be Purple Sensation!
When I first fell in love with this plant genus at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show they cost a fortune, happily this is no longer so and you can pick up packs of bulbs for as little as £1.
If you have the room, plant at least 15 bulbs together. But be careful to space wider than the bulb suggests to cater for the size of the flower heads, about 10-15cm apart for Purple Sensation.
Allium ‘Cristophii’ bridges the gap between the earlier ‘Purple Sensation’ and the late ‘Globemaster’. The heads look just like a sparkler! In recent years prices have come right down and this is now a very affordable bulb. This looks great planted with Allium ‘Gladiator’ which is a good alternative to ‘Globemaster’.
- My next best Allium is the ‘Globemaster’, flowering much later in early July it is a whopper. Truly magnificent!
They are more expensive, but you need less of them, just 3 planted among the fading heads of ‘Purple Sensation’ will still give you a wow! Even now I keep adding topping up 3 more slowly each year. Plant 30cm apart.
Last to bloom in July /August is Sphaerocephalon
Not only purple Alliums also come in White, the best Whites are Allium ‘Mount Everest’ and Allium ‘Nigrum’
Allium Mount Everest
Alliums are a worthwhile investment and careful planting will make them perennial bulking up year on year.
On heavy soil add a layer of grit in the bottom to the planting hole, they won’t like sitting in wet waterlogged soil.
My soil is quite poor so I give all my spring-flowering bulbs a high potash feed in the early spring.
Bulbs should be planted in autumn at a depth of about four times the diameter of the bulb.
Don’t forget to space wider than normal depending on the variety to accommodate the flower head size which can be huge!
They look wonderful planted with Foxgloves which also disguise the leaves which, by the time the bulb flowers can look a little scruffy.
The Best of the Rest
Allium caeruleum is a blue allium, with flowers in June and July.
Allium hollandicum aflatuense, this smoky mauve Allium is brilliant mixed with the deeper colour of Allium Purple Sensation
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