Allium or Alice in Wonderland


Beautiful textured balls and a hard graceful stem — well, who would have thought that a familiar onion could be so charming! True, not ordinary, but decorative … And not even onions, but garlic? Ugh, some confusion…

Indeed, if you start to understand, then the allium has a characteristic pungent odor at the break.

And its leaves are more reminiscent of garlic leaves, however, like a hard stem. And here is the root system of the bulb.

Yes, and they call the allium just an onion, albeit a decorative one, but the name itself came (as it is supposed) from the Latin Allium (garlic).

Be that as it may, a decorative onion for a garden is a valuable culture for its perfect shape: a perfectly regular ball (up to 25 cm in diameter!) On a long (sometimes very long), thin and hard stem. The colors are cold, but bright: white, pale pink, dark crimson, purple, blue, purple. But there are also warm exceptions: yellow and salad. Height from 15 cm to 1.5 meters.

Allium, in my opinion, has only one drawback: the leaves, which are unpresentable during the flowering period, and you want to cover them with something or even cut them off. The latter is not recommended (except for a beautiful photo), the leaves are masked with low perennials.


Allium gigantic (Allium giganteum).

  • Growth area: center and south of Central Asia, north of the Middle East.
  • Flowering period: May June.
  • Color spectrum: all shades of purple.
  • Height: 80-150 cm
  • Growing conditions: sun, heat, lack of waterlogging and wind, requires shelter for the winter.
  • Peculiarities: tall perennial with wide and edible (while young) leaves, inflorescences-balls up to 20 cm in diameter, very dense.

Allium Christoph (Allium Christophii)

  • Growth area: the lower belt of the mountains of Central Asia.
  • Flowering period: June.
  • Color spectrum: purple and white.
  • Height: 15-40 cm.
  • Growing conditions: fertile well drained soils.
  • Peculiarities: perennial with leaves. equal in length to the peduncle, the diameter of the inflorescences of balls is up to 20 cm.

Allium Karatavsky (Allium carataviense)

  • Growth area: foothills of Altai and Western Tien Shan.
  • Flowering period: July.
  • Color spectrum: Ivory
  • Height: 10-25 cm.
  • Growing conditions: warm sunny places.
  • Peculiarities: undersized perennial with «glass» flower balls and very wide (like for onions) leaves.

Allium Moli (Allium moly), golden garlic

  • Growth area: Southwestern Europe.
  • Flowering period: June
  • Color spectrum: yellow
  • Height: 15-30 cm.
  • Growing conditions: well drained soil, drought tolerant.
  • Peculiarities: decorative perennial for rockeries and alpine hills, diameter of inflorescences-umbrellas up to 7 cm, edible bulbs.

Allium roundhead (Allium sphaerocephalon)

  • Growth area: Europe, North Africa, Western Asia.
  • Flowering period: July August.
  • Color spectrum: pink-purple hues.
  • Height: from 30 to 80 cm.
  • Growing conditions: any drained soil, sunny areas.
  • Peculiarities: highly decorative perennial, egg-shaped buds, later rounded, up to 3.5 cm in diameter.

Allium city-loving (Allium oreophilum)

  • Growth area: alpine, subalpine belt of the mountains of the Caucasus, Central Asia and China.
  • Flowering period: the end of May-June, in general, about a month.
  • Color spectrum: pink-lilac shades of different saturation.
  • Height: 20-25 cm
  • Growing conditions: rocky sandy soils, sunny places.
  • Peculiarities: perennial with an inflorescence in the form of a hemisphere, diameter up to 10 cm, the photo shows the Miami variety.

Allium blue (Allium caeruleum)

  • Growth area: steppes and foothills of Central Asia.
  • Flowering period: depends on your location, in general it is 2-3 weeks in one of the summer months.
  • Color spectrum: cornflower shades.
  • Height: 25-95 cm.
  • Growing conditions: tolerates drought well, grows on poor soils with an acidic reaction.
  • Peculiarities: perennial, inflorescence diameter up to 4 cm, bulbs are edible.

Allium Bulgarian (Allium bulgaricum)

  • Growth area: Apennine peninsula.
  • Flowering period: all summer.
  • Color spectrum: white, pink.
  • Height: up to 120 cm.
  • Growing conditions: loose fertile soils.
  • Peculiarities: perennial with large flowers drooping from their own weight, requires shelter for the winter.

Allium Schubert (Allium Schubertii)

  • Growth area: Western Asia.
  • Flowering period: May June.
  • Color spectrum: pale lilac.
  • Height: up to 35 cm
  • Growing conditions: in nature — sands and gravelly slopes of the mountains, in the garden well-drained soils, sunny places, rock gardens and rockeries.
  • Peculiarities: highly decorative perennial, the diameter of the inflorescences reaches 25 cm, this is with a peduncle height of 10 to 20 cm.

Allium vine Heir (Allium vineal Hair)

  • Growth area: onion hybrid.
  • Flowering period: June August.
  • Color spectrum: buds the color of grapes and long gray hairs resembling hair.
  • Height: 50-70 cm.
  • Growing conditions: suitable for planting in containers, sun, well-drained soil, moderate watering.
  • Peculiarities: perennial with an exotic form of inflorescences, represented by a variety of varieties.


Allium loves lit areas, in the shade and even in partial shade it will be quite difficult for him to bloom.


Decorative bow is universal.

It is planted in mixborders, on alpine hills, as borders, large arrays, elements of a herb garden, foreground in front of evergreens and as a meadow flower.

Wherever you put the allium, it will definitely not be left without attention.

Varieties for «gourmets» (Heir, Schubert) are best identified near the gazebo or bench, where you can slowly enjoy their exquisite outlines.


In terms of shape, the bow balls enhance the effect of the spherical crowns. boxwoodprivet and tui.

The combination of high allium + finest feather grass is just perfect. Thin threads fluttering in the wind, like a sea wave, swing white and purple «buoys» of allium on their crest.

Bright colors of poppies, gaillardia, yarrow, rudbeckia — a worthy background for alliums of all stripes.

And the motley white-green company of white turf is very suitable for a decorative bow, canaries or variegated varieties of euonymus.


Ornamental onions are propagated by seeds, «kids» and bulbs. Pros and cons of each method below.

Reproduction by seeds can be complicated by two points: stratification and non-preservation of varietal characteristics. Some types of ornamental onions prefer pre-winter sowing in open ground. Keeping them in the refrigerator may not give a positive effect.

Moreover, grown plants may not retain varietal characteristics (only species) and will bloom not even the next year, but after two or three or four. It all depends on the type.

With «children» the same story: until they reach a certain age in the ground — do not wait for flowers. Again, depends on the species. But for varietal characteristics, you can be calm. Sooner or later you will get exactly what you wanted.

The most reliable way to get a crop of flowers next year is to plant «adult» bulbs in September.

Allium transplantation can be done at the end of flowering: when the leaves and stem are already dry, the bulb is dug up, dried, and stored in a dry room until September. And in the fall, a new place is determined for her, where she can live without a transplant for 4-5 years.

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