The jewel of early summer, allium bulbs deliver height, structure and colour to mark the start of the season. These hardy perennial bulbs are well worth growing for their easy, attractive blooms that get even better as they age. See our collection of articles, YouTube videos and Instagram posts for practical advice on planting alliums. And if you haven’t already ordered a batch, these inspirational garden bloggers are sure to tempt you.
Browse our complete collection of allium bulbs here.
Grow smaller alliums in groups for maximum impact
“Allium bulbs should be planted early to mid-autumn,” says John at his popular gardening blog Pyracantha, and the smaller, delicate varieties look best when they flower in groups. Planting close together en masse gives the greatest colour impact, whilst larger pom poms like ‘Globemaster’ and ‘Schubertii’ need to be planted slightly further apart “to accommodate the bigger heads”. Want more advice on how to plant alliums? Visit John’s article for a wealth of top tips.
Choose tall allium ‘Christophii’ for monumental flower heads
If you’re looking for maximum impact, Nyla from @_thesuburbancottagegarden_ recommends Allium ‘Christophii’. Check out her Insta photos to see the huge, heavy heads rising from her summer border and highlighting her other purple-flowering garden favourites like campian and hardy geraniums. “It’s personally my favourite allium and the dried seed heads ain’t too bad either,” enthuses Nyla.
Plant allium bulbs at three times their own depth
Avoid the dreaded allium flop by planting your bulbs deep, says Lee Burkhill over at his YouTube channel, Garden Ninja. Go at least three times their depth into the ground, he recommends. This is because the hefty bulbs need a good anchor to hold them steady in any wind when the tall flowers reach their full height. See how Lee plants 100 allium bulbs in no time at all in this helpful video.
Add a handful of grit to improve drainage
Over at @homegrown.garden, YouTubing allotmenteer Katrina adds a generous handful of grit to her heavy clay soil when she plants allium bulbs in the autumn. Growing the striking, architectural blooms to use as decorative centrepieces for her wedding, which varieties does she recommend for cutting? Katrina’s favourites include the enormous allium ‘Gladiator’, elegant white ‘Mount Everest’, pretty violet ‘Christophii’ and the flower arranger’s dream – pink ‘Schubertii’.
Some alliums look fantastic in containers
Instagrammer Bex at @flourish_with_flowers_ grows Allium sphaerocephalon in patio containers to get the drama she wants for her summer display. Flowering from about mid-June, later than other varieties, she says, “it has slender wispy stems topped with egg-shaped heads that start off lime-green and then change into a lovely purple at the top.” Bex moves her colourful containers around to enjoy immediate impact exactly where she wants it. Scroll through her inspirational photos to see patio containers overflowing with summer pizzazz!
Use alliums to bridge the gap between tulips and roses
Stina, AKA The Hackney Gardener, always includes alliums in her garden because they bridge the gap between the last tulips and the first roses. “I wouldn’t want to be without them!” she says. Check out her dreamy video of the famous Laburnum Walk at Barnsley Housein the Cotswolds, popping with allium colour in spring. Stina’s Instagram is the perfect place to find allium inspiration along with plenty of fabulous gardening tips.
Cut back browning leaves once your alliums are in flower
“Did you know you can cut back allium foliage while they’re still flowering?” says Wiltshire-based gardener Pauline from @skurrayfield_gardener. Unlike other popular spring flowering bulbs, alliums have already got all the nutrients they need by the time they’re in bloom, so they don’t mind a bit of tidying once the leaves start to turn brown. Pauline prevents her roses from getting swamped and improves the air flow around them by trimming off dead leaves.
Allium seed heads are just as beautiful as the flowers
In July, Instagrammer Jane is enjoying the dried flower heads of her early alliums at the same time as the delicate new blooms of the late-flowering ‘bee magnet’ Allium sphaerocephalon. Her dried seed heads not only bring structure, they’re a favourite with wildlife and later become a vital ingredient in her home’s Christmas decorations. Take a look at her gorgeous Insta page for more inspiration.
Leave allium bulbs in the ground over winter to establish themselves
Don’t dig up your allium plants when flowering finishes! Enjoy the stately seed heads or tidy away top material but make sure you leave the bulbs intact in the ground where they can lie dormant over winter to flower again next year. “They tend to do better when they’re allowed to establish themselves over a number of seasons,” say our experts at the Thompson & Morgan blog. Sounds like a no-brainer to us.
We hope you’ve found allium inspiration from these top bloggers. Stay up to date with our latest products and hottest tips at our Instagram and Twitter. Find more gorgeous ideas and planting help with the articles at our spring flowering bulb hub page.
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