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How to Grow Ornamental Alliums

Did you know that onions, garlic and chives have cousins that are real lookers? These beauty queens and their edible relatives are in the Allium genus and one family trait they all share is ease of care. In spite of their dazzling appearance there is nothing to growing ornamental alliums.

There are many species and varieties of ornamental alliums. The tall, upright varieties with ball-shaped clusters of flowers are very dramatic. The shorter varieties are well suited for the front of a border or in a rock garden. Many alliums will re-seed and naturalize readily and can be delightfully fragrant. Color choices include pink, rose, violet, red, blue and yellow. My two must have alliums are A. schubertii and A. giganteum.

Allium Hardy, sun loving and easy to grow alliums thrive in deep, rich, well drained soil. Depending on the species or variety you select you will plant either a bulb or a rhizome. Plant bulbs in fall about 2 - 4 inches deep. Plant rhizomes at or just below the soil surface in spring. If you live in a hardiness zone below zone 5, alliums need protection from winter cold. In fall dig and store the bulbs or grow alliums in containers you can move to a sheltered area during winter. Keep the roots dry when they are dormant. All alliums die to the ground after blooming even in mild climates but their attractive dried flower heads persist in the garden or can be cut for indoor display.

Ornamental alliums are gorgeous in the garden without a lot of fuss. They make great fresh cut flowers or dried. With all their charms it's easy to understand why they are super stars.