We like to highlight some of our favorite plants from time to time and today we wanted to share with you some favorites from the Allium (or Onion) family. We love Allium varieties because they are easy to grow, deer resistant and provide color in both spring and summer. All Allium varieties prefer well drained soil as they are a bulb. Soil that holds too much moisture can rot the bulbs over time. They are also a pollinator magnet in the garden for many varieties of flies, bees and butterflies.
Here are some of our favorites:
Photo on Visualhunt.com
1 – Chives:
Many of you will be familiar with the perennial garden staple Chives. Chives are very long lived and thrive with little to care. They are very easily divided in early spring or fall. Simply dig up the clump divide as desired and replant. They will flower in our area in late May to early June.
The dried flower heads can be harvested and the seed collected. They are easy to sow, but very tiny. Sow as soon as the soil is thawed and workable. If you are looking to get a head start they can be planted indoors 8-10 weeks before the last spring frost. (The last frost in our area is usually around Memorial Day.) If the seed heads are left on the plant they may spread all on their own. They are delicious to cook with fresh or they can be dried or frozen to be used in the off season.
Photo credit: F. D. Richards on VisualHunt / CC BY-SA
2 – “Millennium”:
This 2018 perennial plant of the year, and ornamental cousin of Chives, features all the beauty but more of the “wow” power. Large 2” round flowers bloom later than chives in mid-summer. They do not reseed and will need to be divided in early spring if you wish them to spread. They get about 22” tall and wide in the garden.
3 – “Globemaster”:
These Allium are similar to “Millennium” but the flower is even bigger! The flower heads on these little babies are 3”- 4” around and they stand about 3′ – 4′ tall! Stunning and unique they are a great conversation piece. They bloom in late spring to early summer in our area. They are a large bulb, 3” around, and are planted in the fall. After a few years the bulbs will multiply and will need to be divided. You will know it is time to divide when the foliage seems crowded and the flowers are smaller. When dividing be careful not to cut into or nick the bulbs. If so, they will rot.