Hundreds of small, star shaped, flowers unfurl to form a sensational, tight floral sphere. The tall stems of Allium giganteum grow to around 120cm tall and it is this commanding height that can be used to create memorable floral displays, adding a whole other dimension to the garden. If you can bare to cut them they will last an age in a vase.
The 15cm balls of blooms open midsummer, (November to early December – ‘Purple Rain’ opens first and Drumsticks after).
The flower is handsome from the get go and the display lasts for around six to 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 and the dried seed heads make cute Christmas decorations.
Alliums are tough, hardy, and beautiful too! As members of the onion family, their bruised, or crushed foliage smells just like onions.
Plant Alliums into well drained soil in a sunny position. The drainage is important as the bulbs rot easily if left in soggy soils. 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 be sheltered 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 the bulbs are slow to multiply, they rarely set seed and if they do they then take around five years to flower.
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 each summer. To help them on the way, add a well balanced fertiliser when they are flowering. As they fade, 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 they will keep the fading foliage hidden. The leaves grow around three to four weeks before the flowers then, as with most Alliums, they begin yellow as the blooms take off. Once yellowed you can easily tug the leaves away.
It is a good idea to protect the new foliage from slugs and snails when it emerges in spring. One last thing, they like to be relatively dry during summer dormancy or require sharp drainage.
Supplied as: Bulb