Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Ornamental Garlic – One Surprising Bulb For Your Cutting Garden

Allium aflatunense

Lots of flowers are great for cut flower arrangements, but one of the most surprising is ornamental garlic, also known as Allium. I’m sure you’ve seen them in magazines. Remember those big, bold, purple globes dressing up the featured homes of the rich and famous? That’s what I’m talking about.

The bulbs are planted in fall for late spring or early summer flowering. They’re simply stunning in large vases. Sometimes they’re displayed alone, three or more stems together making dramatic decorative statements. Not only are they eye-popping, they often last much longer than other flowers. They’re easy to grow, too.

Let's go over the basics. Allium has average water needs, so you’ll need to water them if you don’t get enough rainfall. However, the site should be well-drained. Allium is very heat tolerant, but you mustn’t let it wilt. It needs full sun to partial shade. Allium is hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 -10. Only in zones 3 and 4 do they require mulch to get through the winter. If you plant them in containers where the bulbs are more exposed, bring the containers indoors to store in a cool, dark place over winter.

Think about the variety and the size of the bulb to ensure they are spaced correctly, and planted at the proper depth. The depth to the bottom of the planting hole should be 2 to 3 times the height of the bulb. Therefore, a 2" bulb should be planted 4” to 6" deep, a 3" bulb planted 6” to 9" deep, etc... If planting several bulbs, space the holes 4" to 12" apart depending upon the varieties' sizes. Place the bulb in the hole with the pointed end up and cover it with the soil. Water it well. Spread mulch over the planting area if you'd like. Do not allow synthetic fertilizer to touch the bulb.

There are around 400 varieties to choose, but I’ve narrowed the selection to only include my favorites. Of course, I like the tall ones best. The shorter ones like Allium moly and Allium ‘Mount Everest’ are mighty nice, but have short stems. They look best actually grown in containers.

So, check them out at They’re not shipped until September, but you’d better order early while the selection is best.

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