Alliums are one of the most versatile bulbs you can put in any garden. Considered perennials in zones 3-8, the Allium has many different size and color variations.
Plant them all in the fall
While most varieties can handle ground freezes and thaws, some may behave as annuals in locations with heavy clay. Alliums are planted in fall alongside tulips and daffodils or in spring when the soil is able to be worked. Fall plantings produce bigger flowers earlier in the spring. Not all alliums are created equal, though!
Not all Alliums are created equal
The Globemaster variety is the only variety that was bred to be sterile meaning it does not produce seeds but rather reproduces through new bulbs grown over time. These bulb clumps are dug up and divided making the Globemaster the best choice for formal and landscaped gardens.
When allowed to self-seed, alliums will fill in cottage and wildflower gardens while also providing a food source for beneficial insects such as butterflies. Placing alliums alongside other flower or vegetable varieties may also deter rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, and other animals that may otherwise feast on your garden plants. This diversion is due to the allium belonging to the onion family and these animals not being attracted to the smell. While the flowers do not smell, the foliage and bulbs of allium have a scent reminiscent of onions.
Long-term enjoyment is possible
If the allium flowers are left to dry on the plant, the fall garden will be gifted with texture and interest by the seed heads left behind. When cut, the dried seed heads make a statement in fall or winter wreaths and dried flower arrangements. As a three-season flower, the allium is one of the hardest working flower varieties a garden can have!