Many hundreds of Allium species exist, but only a modest few have made a name for themselves as garden plants. This text describes the most significant ones. The genus, Allium also includes important plants used for human consumption such as onions, leeks, shallots and the familiar cooking herb, chives. The natural distribution of these species is limited to the temperate regions of Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The ornamental onions distinguish themselves by their great diversity in color, inflorescence and flowering height. Many species bloom in early summer - just after the spring-flowering period and just before the exuberant full bloom of summer. When slightly bruised, the bulbs, leaves and stems of these plants give off a definite onion scent. Although this has been considered a problem when using ornamental onions as cut flowers, the odor quickly disperses after the stems have been immersed in water for a few moments. Naturally, only the tall and middle-tall species are used as cut flowers. Several species require a bit of special treatment, but will remain beautiful for a long time, even as dried flowers. All species can be used in the border. Certain small species are just perfect for a rock garden, and several lend themselves to naturalizing.
4 inch (10 cm)
4 inch (10 cm)
Approx. 12 inch (30 cm)
Easy to grow
1. Select an area with full sun
2. Dig a hole 4 inches (10 cm) deep
3. Place the bulb in the hole, with pointed side up
4. Space bulbs 4 inches (10 cm) apart
5. Cover with soil and water thoroughly
Plant in groups of 10 or more, in well-drained soil. Bulbs will benefit from a handful of compost added to the planting holes.
Planting time zone
Hardiness Zone 3-9