ALLIUM Flowering Garlic

There are dwarf Alliums for the rockery and tall ones for the border or shrubbery. All are easy to grow but have never become popular – perhaps the strong onion smell deters many gardeners. The leaves may be wide, like garlic, or narrow like onions. The flowers, too, may be wide- or narrow-petalled.

VARIETIES: The giant is A. giganteum (4 ft) – lilac flowers in 4 in. ball-like heads. The largest flower-head is borne by A. albopilosum (2 ft) – silvery lilac flowers in 6-9 in. clusters. Good as a cut flower – so is A. aflatunense (2.5 ft) which produces pink-headed drumsticks. Dwarfs include A. moly (9 in, loosely-packed yellow stars) and A. ostrowskianum (9 in., loosely-packed pink stars).

SITE AND SOIL: Any well-drained soil will do – thrives best in full sun.

PLANT DETAILS: Planting time September-October. Planting depth 3 times the height of the bulb.

Spacing: 6 in.-1 ft. Height variable – see above.

Flowering period: June.

PROPAGATION: Divide clumps in autumn every 3 years.

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