Hundreds of small, star shaped, mauve-pink flowers unfurl to form a tight floral sphere that is an impressive 15cm across. The tall stems Allium giganteum grow to around 120cm tall and it is this height that can be used to create memorable floral displays, adding a whole other dimension to the garden.
Allium giganteum blooms open midsummer, from around late November, early December. The flower is handsome from the get go and lasts for around seven or eight weeks. The attractive heads begin green then, as the buds open, the purple shines through. The show doesn’t stop there though, even as the bloom turns golden brown they shine in the garden. They also make excellent cut flowers.
Alliums are tough, hardy, and beautiful too! They are members of the onion family and when the foliage is bruised, or crushed it smells just like onions.
Plant Alliums into well drained soil in a sunny position. The soil drainage is important as the bulbs rot easily if left in bog. Adding some lime and compost to the soil will give them a good start in the garden.
They will need at least six hours of sun and a warm spot in the garden to thrive. As the stems of Allium giganteum are tall, you should shelter them from strong winds because while they are strong there is only so much they can do and let’s face it they are expensive so it is best to get the most out of them. Why are they expensive? Because they are slow to multiply. You could get lucky and they will self seed so it is worth leaving the seed heads on (or allowing them to ripen before collecting it for March planting). But keep in mind seeds take five or six years to grow into flowering size bulbs.
Plant to a depth of around 10-15cm or twice the diameter of the bulb. Once planted, the bulbs are best left to naturalise. This means you can relax and leave them in the ground year after year and just enjoy flowers as they rise. To help them on the way, add a well balanced fertiliser in autumn. Don’t forget to mark their position (we use wooden kebab sticks just out of the ground) as you don’t want to put a spade through one!
Our Tip: Plant amongst summer perennials that emerge mid to late spring and will keep the fading foliage hidden. As with most Alliums, the leaves begin yellow as the blooms take off. It is also a good idea to protect new foliage from slugs and snails (it emerges in spring). Also you want to keep them relatively dry during summer dormancy or ensure sharp drainage.
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