White and purple alliums

Allium bulbs bring eye-catching height and structure to the summer border
Image: Allium ‘Big Impact Mixed’ from Thompson & Morgan

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

Group of bright purple allium flowers

Allium ‘Lavender Bubbles’ flowers in late summer attracting bees
Image: Allium ‘Lavender Bubbles’ from Thompson & Morgan

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

Flower head of allium 'Christophii'

Allium ‘Christophii’ has large, eye-catching, lilac blooms
Image: Allium ‘Christophii’ from Thompson & Morgan

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

Gardener measuring allium bulbs with height

Lee uses a ruler to make sure each allium bulb is three times its depth into the soil
Image: Garden Ninja

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

White allium flowers

For something different, grow statuesque white alliums
Image: Allium stipitatum ‘Mount Everest’ from Thompson & Morgan

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

Group of Allium sphaerocephalon flowers turning from green to red

Allium sphaerocephalon flowers gradually fade from acid green to cherry red
Image: @flourish_with_flowers_

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

Allium borders in Hidcote

Allium ‘Lollipop’ brings the borders at Hidcote to life in May
Image: @thehackneygardener

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

Garden bed with older allium flower heads and leaves

Clearing away allium leaves improves airflow and keeps formal areas looking tidy
Image: @skurrayfield_gardener

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

Dried allium flower heads

Allium seed heads provide structure and interest
Image: @the_little_end_cottage

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

Closeup of allium schubertii head

Allium ‘Schubertii’ has huge blooms perfect for cutting
Image: Allium ‘Schubertii’ from T&M

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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