One of my favorite flowering plants of all time is the Allium, specifically the deep-purple Globemaster. Right now Allium are making quite a show and the Globemaster is definitely the King of the June garden; regally stretching his neck high above the rest of his compatriots. Best yet – Allium are super-easy to grow in zones 5-8, with some varieties going up to zone 3. They love all types of soil, but prefer a well drained area, and bloom May through August depending on which variety of bulb you get.
In 1971, Jan Bijl crossed of A. macleanii Baker and A. christophii to come up with Globemaster and it has very long-lasting, 10″ globes of violet florets. It’s head rests on very strong stems and the flowers can withstand heavy rains and even strong wind gusts. Globemaster is adored by bees and butterflies. I simply love this plant!
HOW TO GROW AN ALLIUM BULB:
- Dig a hole in the soil in the Fall, once temperatures start to cool.
- Plant large Allium bulbs 6″ to 8″ deep and 8″ to 10″ apart. Plant the smaller Allium bulbs 4″ deep and 3″ to 4″ apart with the pointy side of the bulb facing up.
- Fertilize with an organic fertilizer if you like (but it is not necessary), and mulch well.
My favorite Allium supplier is Van Engelen because their selection is quite large. Allium look great cut in a vase or even dried. I have known some people to spray paint the dried flower head and leave them in the garden until the end of the season as brightly colored spots floating above the other perennials. SPRAY PAINT! Outrageous! Since Allium are easy to grow you can expect them to come back year after year, however, they do like to be divided every few years. To divide, simply dig the allium out of the ground and gently pry apart the bulb divisions.