I have found alliums love my garden. They do well in clay, they are drought tolerant and totally reliable. I love them all but this little beauty with the difficult to pronounce name, Allium sphaerocephalon, is particularly useful as it flowers slowly throughout July and therefore mingles with other plants where it is well behaved and attracts bees all day every day. They love it so I love it. It is also one of the widest available and least expensive at just 10p or less per bulb. I got 12 for £1. It grows well in pots too and doesn’t care if you forget to water it, as I often do. As you can hopefully see, it begins as a green flower and gradually turns purple from the bottom up. The flowers shrug off wind and rain and remain upright even after being bent double, they are bone hardy and multiply each year. I am growing them with white scabious this year which is a charming combination. I would urge you to try them, they are one of the few things that everyone and anyone can grow regardless of local conditions. Utterly reliable, very cheap and bees adore them. What more can you ask for!.
I LOVE your garden! You are a fantastic gardener. What did you win with the contest?
Hi Carla and thanks for your kind comments. The results of the competition will be announced at a presentation in September so I won’t know until then. The judges made a lot of positive noises so fingers crossed!
Hope you come across this very belated Comment.. but just to say I too love these particular Alliums and thoroughly enjoyed watching their colour and shape changing over the summer. Well worth the wait. Sadly now finished of course, so my question is, do I cut them down/leave the heads on/save the seeds? Or a bit of all three. I can’t seem to find a definitive answer online but feel sure you will know!
I get an email alert if someone leaves a comment. I get new people visiting the blog who comment on items I have posted months or even years ago which is lovely!
Now then, your alliums…..it’s easy; wait until about now (because I have just done this in my own garden) when the allium stalks and seed heads are grey/white and gently pull them. You should find they just come away from the bulb easily. Don’t cut them off because that might lead to infection over the winter. You can save the seed if you wish but it is a long process to get them to flowering size. Personally, I wouldn’t bother….just buy more bulbs each year!
Thank you so much for your advice, which I will certainly follow. In fact, I will go out tomorrow and do as you say because the stalks and seed heads are looking just as you describe.
Presumably the bulbs will flower again next year but in any case, if they are still around, I will buy some more this year.
Hi Alison. Yes, the bulbs will flower again next year and every year as they are truly perennial and very hardy. But buy some more anyway!
Hi David, I have bought some SPHAEROCEPHALON bulbs to grow in pots. The instructions that came with them say to plant 2-3″ deep. Any advice please?!!
Hi Alison. Nice to hear from you again!
Allium sphaerocephalon are about the only one you can grow successfully in a pot but make sure it is a deep pot. Yes, they should be planted about 3″ deep and you can plant them close together for a nice display. However, I am surprised you have only just bought them as they should really have been planted last Oct/Nov. Get them in asap and cross your fingers!