Ornamental Onion Allium is a Flower Garden Stunner

purple alliums blooming in shady garden
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Ornamental Onion Allium is a Flower Garden Stunner

Allium Gives Your Garden Whimsy

Does your garden take itself too seriously? The answer to a garden that needs a little playfulness could very well be to grow some onions. Not the sort of onions that you eat but flowering ornamental onion plants called allium.

“Allium” refers to the entire onion genus, which is one of the largest plant genera.

It includes onions, chives, garlic, shallots, and leeks. When gardeners talk about growing allium bulbs or flowers, though, it is usually the ornamental sort that they are referring to. These drought-resistant bulbs bloom, usually in early summer, with fun, colorful round inflorescences that look almost like balloons or something out of a children’s book (these inflorescences are actually “umbels,” meaning that the flower stalks are all the same length and stem from a single point).

These whimsical blooms are sure to get curious comments from the neighbors. They also last wonderfully in both fresh and dried arrangements, so they’re great for adding an unusual touch indoors, too. The classic ball-shaped Allium blooms range from the smaller ‘Purple Sensation,’ which carries flowerheads of around three inches, to the huge, 9-inch balls of the giant allium pictured above.