How to plant Alliums
Allium are versatile plants that are easy to grow. They have oval or globular blooms that occur in cheery, dramatic colors, adding interest to your garden even after the spring-flowering bulbs have faded. Alliums, also known as Ornamental onions, belong to the same family as onions, shallots, chive and garlic. They’re unappealing to a majority of common pests, are great for naturalizing and make for some truly intriguing garden combinations. The flower heads remain attractive even after they have faded and are excellent for dried arrangements. Most allium start to bloom mid to late spring and continue to spread color through midsummer. Alliums come in all shapes and sizes and are lots of fun to grow. Beau Regard Allium is a large variety with gigantic 10” in diameter and can last up to 3 weeks. Then there are smaller varieties such as Eye Candy Allium Mixture which are great little naturalizers and a lover of pollinators.
When to plant
Fall is the best time of the year for planting allium bulbs. You can even plant late in the season, as long as the bulbs get ample time to take root before the ground freezes
Where to plant
Alliums are not too picky about the type or quality of soil- your average garden soil will do just fine, just as long as you find them a spot with good drainage. Alliums have been known to do well in partially shaded growing locations but develop sturdier stems and do best overall when planted in full sun. They look stunning grown in close proximity to iris, coreopsis, daylily and other late spring or early summer bloomers and will fit in well with almost any garden setting.
How to plant
Prepare the site by loosening the soil to a depth of 12-15” using a garden fork or tiller. The planting holes should be 3-5” deep for small bulbs and 6-8” deep for larger bulbs. Ensure a separation of 3-4” between the small bulbs and 10-12” between the larger ones. When planting, set the bulb down into the hole with the pointed end facing up. Avoid pushing it down too hard. Cover the bulb with soil and level the surface. Water the site after your finished planting.
Deadhead faded allium flowers by cutting off the flower stems at their base. Fertilize in fall with a complete organic fertilizer. Those with poor quality soil can benefit from a second, light application of fertilizer in spring, just as the new foliage starts to show. If weeds pose a problem, apply a thin layer of compost in spring and follow it up with a 2” layer of mulch. Make sure you water your plants if the rainfall is less than 1” per week during the summer season.
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