Get alliums going now
Why not try a few new varieties of these easy-to-grow beauties?
There’s still time to get lots of lovely allium bulbs in the ground or in pots – if you haven’t had time to plant them or missed a few, it’s best not to save bulbs until next time. Always plant bulbs as soon as you can, even if it’s a month or two after you first bought them. Left for another year they may dry out or rot.
Alliums are one of those plants that give bold, beautiful blooms for high impact and want little in return – they’re low maintenance and as easy as pie to plant in pots or borders. Basically, in the ground they need to be planted 10-15cm (4-6in) deep and the same apart in very well-drained soil in full sun. In containers, plant one bulb width apart in deep pots, 10-15cm deep (4-6in).
You may have your favourite bold, bright alliums – perhaps the ever-popular ‘Purple Sensation’, ‘Globemaster’ or A. cristophii, but why not try a varied mix? There are so many different shapes and sizes. Dainty, small-bulbed alliums are more demure but no less beautiful than their tall, eye-popping border cousins. A. oreophilum and A. unifolium come in light pink and stand about 30cm (1ft) tall, while golden garlic ( A. moly) complements these with a similar form in bright yellow. If blue’s more your colour, A. caeruleum is twice as tall in cornflower blue, while ‘Red Mohican’ forms burgundy flower tufts, standing 1m (3ft 3in) tall. Short, dumpy A. karataviense, at 25cm (10in) tall, has white-pink globe flowers, perfect for a pot. And last but not least, try the tall variety ‘Hair’, which has sprouts of wiry, madcap green ‘hairs’ as flowers! One for an unusual vase display.
They’re a large, diverse group of plants, so experiment with a few more unusual family members this year!
Cornflower blue Allium caeruleum complements purple and pink varieties