Growing Allium From Bulbs In Your Garden

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Tips for growing allium from a DIY gardener. How get beautiful blooms that will take your garden to the next level!

allium globemaster blooming in garden on sutton place 2024

When I write gardening posts like this one, I always feel that I should begin with a disclaimer. I am not a master gardener. In fact, I’m not an expert in anything related to gardening. When we lived on Sutton Place, I continually tried to make my garden a happy place, and something that was beautiful. I made many mistakes, but I learned from them, and with each passing year, my garden became more like I had always pictured it in my mind.

allium globemaster in garden on sutton place 2024

Today I’m talking about one of my favorite additions to my garden. A few years before we moved from the Sutton Place house, I ordered eight allium bulbs, and got them in the ground just before it froze. I was worried the blooms would not appear, but I wasn’t disappointed. As you can see from the images above and below, the blooms were large, round, and the prettiest shade of lavender. 

allium plants in garden 2024

What Is Allium?

  • Allium, pronounced [al – ee – uhm,] is a show-stopping addition to any garden.
  • There are many cultivars, and they vary in size. The flower heads range from very small to as large as a softball. They are drought tolerant, they love pollinators, and they make the prettiest cut flowers.
  • Allium has perfect round blooms that look like globes, and are comprised of tiny little florets. The purple flowers, in full bloom by late spring or early summer, attract bees and butterflies.
  • Chives, garlic, and onions belong to the allium family, so when when you are planting your bulbs, they leave off a lovely scent.
allium globemaster in bloom on sutton place garden 2024

How To Plant Allium Bulbs

  • Allium bulbs should be planted in mid fall, and definitely before it frosts or freezes. They thrive in US Hardiness Zones 3 to 9.
  • Allium love full sun, so make sure you pick a spot that gets at least 8 hours of sun per day.
  • When you order or buy bulbs, they always come with planting instructions. Just follow those, and you can’t go wrong.
  • Generally, allium bulbs should be planted at a depth of 6-8 inches, at least 10 inches apart, and in well-drained soil. The bulbs have a flat bottom and a top that’s pointed, so place the bulb in your hole with the pointed end up.
speedwell and allium millenium on sutton place 2024

Tips for placing and growing allium

  • The best place to plant allium bulbs is in the back of your garden. They make a beautiful backdrop, and when they fade, you won’t have an empty spot in the front of your garden. 
  • Allium bulbs can be moved after the foliage is completely spent.
  • I chose Allium ‘Globemaster’ for the garden on Sutton Place because it the booms are big and impressive. I don’t know if it’s the biggest cultivar, but it’s surely at the top of the list. It’s very tall and the stems are extremely thick. I did not cut mine because the blooms were just too beautiful. 
  • When we moved to the Sugar Maple house, I wanted allium, but chose the smaller cultivar ‘Millenium.’ It’s a very reliable perennial, with blooms that last for weeks.
  • When allium blooms are spent and the foliage is dried up, it can all be cleared away. Don’t remove the foliage until it is completely brown.
  • Deer, chipmunks, and other critters avoid allium, so if that’s an issue, this plant is for you. 
  • Some other options:
allium millenium 2024

Where To Get Allium Bulbs

Allium bulbs can be purchased in garden centers, home improvement stores, and online. I ordered my from White Flower Farm, and I love the way they look. The bulbs were very healthy, clear instructions were included, and they were delivered at the correct time for planting.

allium millenium and speedwell on sutton place 2024

What To Plant With Allium

Along our front curved walkway, I chose to plant Speedwell alternately with allium. The colors complement each other, and as the plants grow and fill in, they will all blend together. Other good choices are:

  • Hosta: their large, lush foliage contrasts nicely with the round blooms of allium.
  • Daylilies: long, slender leaves and bright flowers are a nice contrast to allium.
  • Salvia: the spiky flowers of salvia create an interesting contrast with the rounded allium blooms.
  • Lavender: Both plants enjoy similar growing conditions, and the purple hues of both flowers look lovely together.
  • Echinacea (Coneflower): The vibrant colors and sturdy stems of coneflowers work well with the tall allium blooms.
  • Coreopsis: one of my favorite perennials, the bright yellow daisy-like flowers of coreopsis are a wonderful contrast to the large and structured allium blooms.
garden tools with bow element

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  1. Thank you for the new content you post. Some bloggers put content on that is old and not theirs. I’m thinking of not following some of those.

  2. Love your post. I am not I gardener but I do try! My yard has a lot of shade. Do you have plants that are in shade that bloom? Would love some tips for shade plants that flower!