Growing Peonies & Allium In Your Garden

Tips for growing peonies & allium from a DIY gardener. Learn from my mistakes and get beautiful blooms that will take your garden to the next level!

closeup of allium globemaster

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. I am, however, someone who continually tries to make her garden a happy place and something that’s beautiful. I have made many mistakes, but I have learned from them and with each one, my garden gets better. 

Today I’m talking about a new addition to my garden, allium, and I’ll be sharing an update on my peonies. Both of these plants have incredible blooms and are very easy to grow.

allium globemaster

Allium, pronounced [al – ee – uhm,] is a show-stopping addition to any garden. Last fall, 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 are large, round, and the prettiest shade of lavender. 

allium globemaster in garden

Tips for planting and growing allium:

  • I think it would be better to plant these allium bulbs in the back of your garden. They would 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 spent. I am going to move mine to the back of my garden, right in front of the fence. 
  • Allium ‘Globemaster’ is big. 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 the 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:

growing peonies in garden

Growing Peonies

My peonies did well this year. They even survived a terrible hail storm, which as you can see by the photo above, the dianthus did not. One day the dianthus was blooming and vibrant, the next it was completely smashed. 

garden with white trellis

The dark pink peonies are ‘Kansas’ and the small bushes in front are a soft pink cultivar called ‘Elk Grove.’ The soft pink bushes were new last year, so there are just a couple of buds that have not opened yet. My dark pink peonies are getting a bit leggy, and the blooms, although beautiful, were all on the top. I did a little research and discovered that the legginess comes from placing the plants too close together. Another one of those mistakes I talked about at the beginning of this post!

growing peonies along fence

Anyway, I have to decide by fall if I want to move them or not. I may just remove the center plant (there are three) and place it somewhere else. That would at least give me a better chance at having two healthy plants as opposed to losing all three.

*The clematis growing on the trellis is ‘Viola.’ I will share pictures if and when it ever blooms!

growing peonies in a garden

One thing I was very happy about this year was that the peonies did not bloom all at once. They took their time and about six blooms opened at a time. I was able to cut the blooms in stages, which enabled me to have fresh flowers inside for a few weeks.

growing peonies dark pink kansas

Growing peonies and allium is easy, and I highly recommend both. I am going to order some ‘Purple Sensation’ allium bulbs for fall planting, so I will have a smaller cultivar that I can cut and bring inside. My yard and gardens are still very much a work in progress. Our patio project was finally started, but is going slowly because we have had so much rain. I’ll be back to share more on that when it gets a bit further along.

You might also like:
Tips and Tricks for Arranging Peonies

*Affiliate links included. Click HERE for my disclosure statement.

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Thank you again for your friendship and for spending part of your day with me. See you soon…

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36 Comments

  1. Naomi Shelton says:

    Peonies are one of my favorite flowers, Ann. Yours are such a beautiful deep pink. I have three bushes planted along my driveway but they are not getting enough sun now that the trees planted next to them have matured. Come Fall I will be moving them to the back yard around my deck where there is plenty of sun. I’ve never grown allium but I may just try this year after learning how easy it is from you. I think I might like the shorter ones better than the really tall ones. But who knows—whatever’s on sale, probably!

    Thanks for sharing you gardening tips. I’ll look forward to more. Stay safe and well.

  2. Your peonies are oh my just so beautiful!!

  3. Mary Kaiser says:

    Oh my goodness they are so beautiful. I live in Michigan and mine are not in bloom yet. I planted them the year before and last year they we so beautiful like yours this year. I am not sure what I am going to end up with this year as the deer came and ate all the tops off when they were just coming up. Last year after the purple heads were done with the color I made a cardboard shield and I went out with spray paint and painted just the heads. They were beautiful, and stayed looking beautiful while I was waiting for the foliage to turn brown to clip the foliage off. I used red white and blue spray paint on just the heads. My neighbors loved them and thought that they were made of metal and that I put them in for the 4th of July. I wish I had taken a picture of them so you could see how beautiful they were. I did not get any spray paint on any thing because of the cardboard shield I made to hold up so the spray paint just went on the head of the flower.

  4. Both of these blooms are just gorgeous! I really don’t have this kind of a garden yet but plan to one day. I think I will look into getting some for the fall planting. Thanks for your help and Happy Gardening!

  5. Margie Shaw says:

    I have the allium you have. I also have one that is very short, large leaves & has blooms about 6″ high & is white. It’s cute. I have used the spent blooms to harvest seed & put in a silk flower arrangement. I may try to spray them with silver for Christmas.

  6. Sandi Magle says:

    I love when people share any part of their gardens. I think I may have to try some alliums. When I was a silk floral designer, I often used them in more contemporary arrangements. They certainly could be a real centerpiece in a garden. Gorgeous photos!

  7. Ann,
    Your allium is beautiful!
    I planted 12 bulbs two years ago.
    The first year, I had six green plants and then the foliage died with no blossoms.
    This Spring, I had two green plants and the same thing happened.
    I’m thinking the soil needs amending, or I need to try a better bulb company.
    Thank you for sharing your gorgeous peony blossom photos.
    Ours held two blossoms this year!
    I’m looking forward to what spring may bring!
    Pat

  8. I grew Alliums for the first time this year too. They are beautiful and easy. Also the deer never touched them, which is not easy to find in a plant!

  9. Ann,
    I love the new white trellis you added to the garden! It really draws the eye in to focus on the Clematis vine and brings attention to your lovely Peonies. I hope to plant both in the Fall.
    Thanks again for everything you do!
    XO

  10. wisceeeggg says:

    Allium is marvelously hearty.
    I removed some from a place I no longer desired them and just tossed the bulbs into a heap of garden refuse in the tall, untended grass area in the side yard and the next spring they were blooming, where they landed! It was the same place I discarded hostas, that are now thriving as well.🙂

  11. Dianne Gingrich says:

    Your flowerbeds look great. We have the allium too, and lots of peonies that will be opening up this week!

  12. We had a next door neighbor over 30 years ago who had spectacular allium in her yard. I tried growing them awhile back, but the bed was taken over by an invasive plant. Maybe it’s time to try them again. your peonies are so pretty, one of my favorite flowers to cut and bring inside.

  13. What a lovely you garden you have created! I saw a photo of alliums which inspires me and you might like, too. The alliums were planted in a garden bed that was a circle of boxwood so you see a sea of allium heads above a solid circle of evergreen … lovely!

    Best wishes,
    Sonya

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Oh that would be beautiful…what a good idea. And I adore boxwood!

  14. You can leave the seed heads to dry for arrangements.

  15. lorri rauscher says:

    Ann did you know that when you replant your peonies, they will not flower for a few years. They look lovely and all but do not get the buds that turn into flowers. That is what I found out when replanting my peonies. So I am patiently waiting for the flowers.. hopefully next year. To be a gardener… patience is a must…but oh the joy when you get beautiful blooms. :)

  16. I love both. I split a very old light bright pink peony this spring ÷4. It was large enough clumps that they still kept their buds with some just opening up. I also bought one a couple years back but punk and white. Can’t wait to see them.

    Alliums are great and the fact they can be planted with just about anything and offer some deer and rabbit protection is great.

  17. I enjoyed your comment about not being a Master Gardener … it’s all a learning process. A real Master Gardener I know told me you’re only a Master Gardener of your own garden. I’m not sure when even that happens!

  18. Cookie eddings says:

    Ann–Your yard/garden is beautiful, neat, & orderly just like your home. I love to get your posts.
    I just wish I had a decorative bone in me, but alas, it’s just not to be. I’ve seen those very unusual tall flowers in yards, & now I know what they are called. I mixed up the vinegar, salt, & Dawn but have yet to put it in the sprayer. I learn so much from you & I appreciate it ever so much.

  19. Mary Kaiser says:

    I always put a tomato cage over my peonies and as they grow up I make sure the stems are through the center so when they get ready to bloom and it rains they won’t fall over. It works really well and you can’t see the cage once the leaves all fill out. I also planted allium bulbs this year and they were beautiful. I can appreciate the fact that I planted them in the fall and with prayer and faith they bloomed beautiful this year. I also will have a blank spot in my garden once the stems turn brown and I can cut them off. I think I will try to put a few annuals around them to fill in till I can get some low growing flowers next year. Your garden is beautiful.

  20. You may not consider yourself a master gardener, but I very much enjoy all of your gardening posts! You’re so experienced, yet relatable. :) Thanks for sharing, have a lovely day!

  21. Your garden is lovely. I love the weathervane idea! Thank you for sharing.

  22. When you bring your peony flowers in, how do you deal with the ants? Thank you for all of your wonderful tips. They’re much easier for me to use than the sometimes confusing and contradictory gardening sites. Too much info!

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Jackie! I have never had a problem with ants after the buds have opened. There are tons of ants when the plants are in bud, but they seem to disappear once the blooms happen. I always turn the blooms upside down and give them a good shake just to make sure.

  23. Sharon Gotham says:

    Ann, your article came up in my news feed this morning. I am forever increasing my knowledge of flowers. I have several Peonies throughout my yard and the dark pink one always blooms well before the pale pink/ white ones do, weird. I also have a red one that has different leaves, than a traditional peony, they are more delicate and fringed. You shouldn’t “lose” your peony, when you move it…I’ve moved several and all I use in the new hole is peat moss ( I prefer fall for transplanting time) I LOVE your Allium’s!! I tried a small version, a couple of years ago, but they didn’t do well where I had put them…because of your post I think I’ll try a handful of a bigger version. I did plant 300 bulbs of Mountain Bells last fall and have a 30% grow from them, I’m hoping next year they’ll be more, it’s funny because there were yellow, white, and purple mixed and I see mostly yellow, a few white, and no purple, cry, cry, Lol…anyway thank you, I enjoyed your article very much! I’m in zone 3 thru 5, yes temperamental climate.

  24. Lovely blog with valued perspectives and experiences.

    Peonies with top heavy blooms ( the compound flowers), typically need some support.. Thinning out the bushes to give them more growing space and light may not solve there natural habit.. Planting a variety with single petals will be a good alternative.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Sam…thank you! I used some supports this year and it was very helpful. Another reader suggested tomato cages which is also a good idea. I need to do some research and find a cultivar that doesn’t have compound flowers!

  25. Pat Stoughton says:

    I’ve tried clematis twice. The greenery grew so nice, nestled in the trellis. Never bloomed. I changed places after the first year of nothing. Then the second year of nothing? Gone. Someone I know has them and they are glorious. lol

  26. Rebecca Crumpton says:

    Did you know you can cut a peony bud and refrigerate and it have it bloom later? It is a good way to save buds and have flowers for a special occasion later.

  27. Martha Ribbens says:

    My garden was on our cities walking tour a couple of years ago. The alliums were done blooming but still had dried stems. Rather than cutting them, I took a can of spray paint and a paper plate to hold behind them and painted them all purple. I fooled some long time gardeners with that trick.

  28. Mary Alice says:

    Beautiful ! What planting zone do you live in? The foliage on the the allium and even the stalk of the flower remind me of agapanthus, which do very well in our planting zone. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      I am in Northwest Ohio which is zone 6. It’s a bit of a mixed bag. We get hard, long freezes as well as some very hot temps in the summer.

  29. I too have made many mistakes within my gardens, but that is how we learn. As long as the results make us happy, that is what counts. Where did you order your allium bulbs from? Those are very pretty.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Karen…the bulbs are from White Flower Farm. The direct link is in the post. They really are beautiful!